small boat sailing in a lightning storm

Alan Glos who posts often at the Sunfish Forum passed along this article he had written a while back for Duckworks Magazine, and I thought I’d share it here as well.  he recounts sailing on Crystal Lake, an AMAZING lake in the northwest part of Michigan’s lower peninsula.  he was sailing on an old Super Porpoise, similar to a Sunfish, but slightly larger.  the article is “An Encounter with Lightning,” here are a few quotes:

On this particular day the wind was light and the atmosphere was uncharacteristically muggy. After an hour or so, I found myself completely becalmed near the center of the lake.

The calm persisted. I had a clear view toward the west side of the lake and to my horror I saw a classic line squall bearing down on me and my becalmed boat at an alarming rate of speed.

what do you think? was his method to minimize his risk of a lightning strike the best idea, or was there a better alternative?

But the important question was the lightning factor, specifically was I safer mostly submerged in the lake or by being in the lake was I more prone to the ill effects of a surface strike?

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1 Response to “small boat sailing in a lightning storm”


  1. 1 Zrtsix November 13, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Wow! I just started sailing and had thought about possible options with a rapid advancing line of storms. In the last few years, here in mid Tennessee we have been subject to violent fast moving thunderstorms.
    Thanks for sharing an excellent article that could possible save someone’s life!


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