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While working on my outboard down in the woodshop, a pretty decent monsoon storm blew in. Great, I thought, we need the rain.

Suddenly, BOOM.

The lights and radio go out, and then the intercom starts ringing. “It hit the mast”, says Pam. Uh, boy. From what I could see from the porch, the VHF antenna and the windex were gone. The hard rain just kept up, so I kept on with the outboard in the meantime.

After 20 minutes and about an inch of rain later, I was able to venture out to assess the damage. Hey, there’s part of the windex there, about 20 feet from the boat.

Climb up into the cockpit, and open the hatch. The cabin smelled of ozone and light smoke. Thankful that Sovereign didn’t turn into a conflagration, I closed the hatch back up, and went back to my outboard maintenance. It’ll keep ’til tomorrow.

Then, I noticed a small torrent of water coming from an irrigation valve about 8 feet from the trailer tire. Sigh.


Trudge down to the well and shut it down. Dig up the offending valve, cut the supply pipe back to good PVC and cap it. At least we’ve got water.

The next morning I reversed the process described in my previous post, and began the top-down inspection process. Here’s the very top:


There used to be a 3 foot whip antenna on top of that cup of stainless steel, plus a wind indicator. Both, goners.

I desoldered the mast light fixture, freeing up the wires so I could pull the whole wire bundle out of the mast. They, along with the fixture and mast, checked out okay.

Next comes the cabin inspection. It appears that the energy traveled down the VHF coax and fried my relatively new GPS-enabled VHF radio, and blew out three of the six DC panel switches. Cabin, deck and navigation lights. A new panel and radio are already on order. That’s about all I’ve ascertained so far.

Will update over the next few days. Seems I’ve got some work to do.

Update 8/2/14-
New VHF radio, exact model replacement- $220.00
New VHF antenna- $55.00
New DC 6-circuit panel, slight upgrade- $46.00
New Davis Instruments Windex- $47.00
New LED anchor and nav bulbs (2)- $26.00
Miscellany and shipping- $30.00

I’ve still got to clear out the lazarette and remove some of the floatation foam blocks from under the cockpit to inspect the aft wiring, but the autopilot functioned just fine when I hooked it up.
Will have to wait until she’s back on the water to check the depth gauge.

Fingers crossed.

8/14- Confirmed the integrity of the aft wiring, removed the old keel cable and cable wear tube, and I am not looking forward to pulling the keel off the boat. A friend has offered to assist in dropping the 625-pound keel, but I want to get all my ducks in a row before then. 



  1. BUMMER!!!!!! Good reason to disconnect everything when not in use if at all possible,

  2. You’re right, of course.

    But it couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’ve got the relatively cooler mornings and evenings to work on her, and will put back into the Sea of Cortez in October/November!

    Illegitimi non carborundum!

    • Well if you have to get hit with that kind of work, cool comfortable weather is always best. Hope it all works good for you. Be Blessed.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By In Defiance of Lightning | tom's space on 11 Aug 2015 at 9:57 am

    […] I had disconnected my GPS-enabled VHF radio, out of concern over a possible lightning strike. At over $220.00, it was the most expensive item I had to replace after last year’s incident. […]

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