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Making a lightning conductor

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:47 am GMT    Post subject: Making a lightning conductor Reply with quote

I once spent a worrying night watch with lightning all around, or so it seemed at the time, wondering when we were going to be hit and if we were what to do about it?
Having looked at ocean temperatures off Brazil, it is highly likely that I will meet up with electrical storms at sea and am now trying to work out how, on a small boat with an unstayed fibreglass mast and no steel rigging, how to construct a working lightning conductor.
A possible idea is as follows: Take a length of copper water pipe and hammer flat and fix to masthead so it is at least one metre above all aerials. Fix a length of armoured copper cable as used by BT for underground cabling to a junction box at the foot of the mast. ( This would allow the mast to come out if need be) Fit another length of armoured copper cable across foredeck, down stem, down front of keel to ground plate on bottom of keel. Lightning follows path of least resistance and copper I have read is an excellent conductor. The armoured sheath should protect the cable from salt water corrosion and hopefully if the mast is struck, the many thousands of volts will want to zoom down the copper pathway and into the sea and NOT enter the junction box only to exit straight down and blow a nasty big hole in the deck and possibly me sitting down below! This, I suggest is just a theory and I wonder if anyone else has pondered this problem and if so, have you reached any conclusions which could be helpful. I suppose that most other jester challengers will be sailing bermudan rigs with stayed metal masts, so what suits those, will undoubtedly not work on mine.
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