By Mike Jastrzebski
Last week, Rough Draft was hit by lightning. This was our first hit in twelve years of living on the sailboat, but it was a big one.
Mary and I both happened to be watching the storm through the galley window when a flash of lightning lit up the sky. This was followed by a loud boom that shook the the boat, blew out our lights, and sent sparks cascading from the mast into the water.
I ran out into the heavy rain to make sure that nothing was on fire, then returned to the boat to check out the damage.
The strike had damaged the circuit breaker to our lights and after rerouting the wiring for the lights to another circuit we discovered that two of the light fixtures were damaged. It didn’t seem too bad at first, but over the next couple of days we discovered the true depth of the damage to our electronics.
The next day Mary found a piece of our VHF antenna on the deck. For those of you not familiar with sailboats the antenna was mounted on the top of the mast. The antenna’s gone now, and there’s no doubt in my mind that’s where the lightning struck.
At this point we checked the VHF radio and realized that it was shot. We also have a ham radio on board and this radio’s antenna is a section of the mast backstay. The ham radio is also shot. After further investigation we’ve discovered that our electric windlass, which raises the anchor, is not working. I’m hoping this is just a bad circuit breaker, but I won’t know for sure until I replace the breaker.
On top of that our refrigeration is not working and although our television is working, all of a sudden the volume will turn off and I have to bang on the corner of the TV to get it working again.
Obviously this is a big hit to our cruising kitty and we have decided to spend another year in St. Augustine. We are planning to get off the mooring ball and are currently looking for a slip at one of the local marinas.
We were looking forward to heading to the Exumas in the Bahamas this year, but sometimes when you live on a boat you’ve got to go with the flow. On the positive side of things this will give me a chance to write another book. I’m wavering between a follow-up to The Storm Killer or an urban fantasy.
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