Monday, August 08, 2005

Lightning Strikes Twice on Gov Cup Race

From reports it sounds as if the annual Chesapeake Bay Governors Cup race from Annapolis to St. Mary’s College began in light to non-existent breeze soon replaced by gut-wrenching thunderstorms – giving truth to the old adage that an hour of sailing is comprised of 50 minutes of boredom…followed by 10 minutes of sheer terror. This story from the Baltimore Sun recounts the experience from the deck of the sailing yacht SchockaRoo, a truly unfortunate name for a boat with a 63 foot mast braving a summer thunderstorm. The fun apparently began about two hours in…the captain was reported to have advised the crew not to “…touch anything metal.” Despite its name “SchockaRoo” did not get hit…though according to the Sun story that Nightingale, a boat from Annapolis, and Alert, from the Patuxent River, both dropped out of the race after strikes. I’ve never been aboard a boat that’s sustained a direct lightning strike, but I have been caught in a Chesapeake Bay summer squall, notably on the 2001 Annapolis to Newport race where we were slapped by 35 plus out of nowhere about halfway down the Bay. Many times offshore I’ve sailed through lightning and, of course, the notorious St. Elmo’s Fire witnessed by sailors through the ages has been attributed to thunderstorms and their associated electrical energy.


Anonymous said...

Great story. If I may be so bold, the word is lightning, without the "e."

Zephyr (Sail) said...

Thanks man - good catch!