‘Lightning destroyed the boat's electronics'
Yachting Monthly|November 2020
‘Lightning destroyed the boat's electronics'
Paul Tinley recounts a truly shocking experience aboard his Beneteau 393 Blue Mistress and the subsequent insurance claim
Paul Tinley

When it comes to a major event such as a lightning strike on your boat, it all boils down to how good your insurance broker and insurer are.

In August 2019, whilst our Beneteau 393, Blue Mistress, was moored at her home berth, at St Helier Marina in Jersey, she sustained a direct lightning strike. Luckily, we were not on board, due to a very timely invite to our daughter-in-law’s birthday celebrations.

It took a while to realise that something major had happened. When we arrived at our boat and opened up, we were greeted by a very strong smell that I can liken to burning Bakelite.

Initially we did not think too much of it, opened the boat and re-flushed the heads, as you do. Our shore power had been tripped, as well as the boat’s main fuses and when we tried to start the motor, all the engine alarms sounded.

Calling on a local boat electrician, it took little time to discover that the ignition controller had blown. Further examination showed us where the burning smell was coming from. The bow thruster controller had been destroyed, cable melted, and the battery locker was severely scorched. Looking to the top of the mast, the radar reflector was hanging off and the VHF aerial had totally disappeared.

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November 2020