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Ailsa Blog 14 - Faraday cage

Position: 13:00.591N 51:03.182W


Captains log; Stardate 2012-12-13 – 19:30 UTC


Those of you who did physics at school may remember the Faraday Cage. For the rest of you like me that played truant or did a different type of physical science the principle is that a Faraday cage is a metal box that shields everything inside it from an electric charge. I am sure Captain Kirk calls it a force field round the ship or perhaps they don’t get lightening in space. Where is this leading to?? Well the one serious electric charge that can affect a yacht is a lightning strike – tropical squall, boat with a tall piece of metal pointing up to the sky, no other metal objects for miles around.... The consequences for the yacht struck by lightning are that it can take out all your electronic equipment – navigation etc. So the plan is to have a Faraday cage to place in it vital pieces of kit like radios, handheld GPS devices etc if there is a lightning storm approaching.

Now where do you think we might find a Faraday cage in a yacht – yes you’ve got it the oven. So yesterday lightning storm was approaching and Ships Mate dutifully piles all vital equipment into said oven. Two hours later Skipper goes down below to prepare supper..... Which leads to my second Practical Boat Owner tip of the month. In the event of using oven as a Faraday Cage place large sign on front of oven to warn off the celebrity chefs. For the academic nauticals amongst you there are some good scientific papers on lightening strikes at sea. References can be supplied.

Over the last two days progress has been slow – light winds from behind mainly. This interspersed with thick cloud, very heavy rain and generally squally conditions. Still we are approaching the 500 miles to go point which is a really exciting – special tea treat baked beans on toast with maybe a tot of rum to wash it down? By the way those flying fish still haven’t improved their sonar – just a pity that by the time we get to them rigor mortis has set in and they are not salvageable. I must persevere with the rod and line – will I catch a Tuna???

We will keep you posted....

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