Originally, there were a dozen posts documenting our lightning strike catastrophe and the claims process. But after 6+ months of living the hell, we decided not to publish any of those posts. Instead, we will publish one post and focus on the highlights and the benefits rather than all the negativity surrounding this journey.
If you are a cruiser, please contact us for your copy of “Prevention and Preparing for a Claim” which outlines key measures to take prior to claim. We created this document with the sole purpose of helping others avoid issues and is based on our experience with our insurance carrier and being in the Pacific.
Despite all the setbacks, Sugar Shack is back on the water and we are a lot more knowledgeable of all the boat’s systems and parts.
A lighting strike can give you the blues. However, we were elated each time new parts arrived. It was exciting and surprising to see what arrived each time. There was no rhyme or reason as to what arrived or when. Some parts ordered way after others arrived first and parts ordered first arrived last.
While we waited for parts to arrive, we did everything we could to prep the boat for installation. The most time consuming project was rewiring the boat. As you can imagine, a lightning strike can do some damage to wiring/cables. Old cables in lower left image.
We had a good team working on electronics, mechanical, and refrigeration. Of course, Matt was extremely hands on, supervised all the work, and jumped in to ensure it all was properly executed.
Flaco, the tallest AG Marine worker contorted into the smallest places:
All the equipment at our navigation station had to be replaced. It was a bit of a disaster for many months as we awaited for parts to come in. Diego had to build a new face panel to accommodate the new parts, but the end product came out really nice giving us a much cleaner, less cluttered space.
Our solar panels were fried and had to be replaced. The new panels had different specifications, so we had to modify our existing rails to accommodate them.
New Solar Panels Providing Energy
DC DIGITAL SWITCHING: POWER
The last to arrive, even though it was the first to be ordered, was our main digital switching or AC/DC control system. Of course it had to be built, programmed, and calibrated before being sent to us. Catana built their boats with cartes which are no longer being manufactured. So, we replaced the system with a C-Zone system.
The old Digital Switching Control Panel (lower left photo) was completely destroyed by the lightning strike and is no longer available. C-Zone replaced it, which is a complicated beast, but gives us much better monitoring and access to everything remotely. We can now control systems from this main control panel, a sub-control panel in the master suite, through B&G, and on an iPad.
We also took care of standard maintenance including wash, wax, bottom job, and prop speed. I love the mid-way photo of the wash wax below (middle photo).
The last color of our skirt was red and they sanded it down, painted a light blue which we didn’t like and changed it to a dark blue, which we love.
Prop speed is used by a lot of fishing and speed boats. We have never applied it to our props because it’s very expensive. But, Bristol Marine included it for free with the cost of our bottom job. Prop Speed prevents marine growth from bonding to metal surfaces below the waterline.
Stepping the Mast:
Stepping the mast requires a village. We had a rigging crew (3), yard assistants (3), AG Marine (5), painters (2), crane driver, lift drivers (3), launch slip helpers (4), a diver, and of course Matt and I.
Stepping the mast includes: carefully positioning the mast, connecting all the cables, securing the standing rigging (and tuning it), and putting the lazy jacks, sail bag, main sail, jib, and reefing lines all back on. Then they touch up the bottom job where the blocks were located, move the crane, bring in the lift and slowly lower us into the water.
And she floats! Thank God! We had several issues once she was in the water, but we worked through them. Both engines wouldn’t start, but after 20 minutes they were purring like kittens.
Outstanding Items After Splash (since repaired):
- The radar doesn’t work (we have to exchange it for another new one),
- Autopilot smart controller LCD screen is still funky (we are going to live with what we have)
- The new starter battery was dead (charged her up)
- Frigeration is on the fritz (spent 4 days working on it).
The lightning strike slowed us down and beat us up, but we are in the water and one step closer to continuing our adventures on sv Sugar Shack.
Any lightning strike is tough as you never know what it will impact. Some parts work at first, then fail, or fail, then work. Unfortunately, there is no proven way to prevent lightning strikes. All you can do is try your best to stay out of bad weather or zones that are prone to lightning strikes.