This is not to scare you. It's just to make you aware of what to do if you find
yourself in an electrical storm with lightning strikes all around you.
The answer is simple, if you are on flat water, drop the mast into the water
and sit it out.
The risk is minimal. in fact, if you were on land enjoying a good steak, the risk could probably be greater.
Ricardo (Bimba) Santos (BRA) takes up the story...
"Last Saturday the 13th of August there was an RS:X windsurfing regatta at Peñol Lake in Guataqe, Colombia. It was about 1600hrs, and we were sailing between two islands on our way back to the shore after racing when we were hit by an electric storm. It had been around all afternoon but not that close.
There were 3 of us out there and I had already told ny friends to be careful. Chucho was in front, I was behind him and the third guy was way behind.
After a few lighting strikes, a big one got us.
There were like 15 people on the beach on one of island watching us coming back to them. The first strike hit Chucho, then me and two ladies on
the beach. They seem to suffer more than we did. One of them was hit on the feet, and the other one fell to the floor instantly.
They were both taken to the nearest hospital.
When Chucho was hit, he felt tingling in his hands on the book as the current past through him. Hwas thrown into the water. Mercifully he was OK and uninjured.
I was right behind him and was hit with a smaller one. I felt an electric current in my hands stronger than a 220V. Right after, I jumped into the water, to check myself right-away. I too wasn't injured.
As you can see in the pictures, the strike came through the stitches in the top of the sail - look how the lighting roots got the sail, and spread out/and into the mono film, etc. - It burned the top of the mast on two sides went down the mast then blew the orange cover off the spring before then burned the spring too.
It jumped the mast base to the mast track and attacked the carbon fibre structure all around due to the high temperatures.
Finally, it went out through the 4 corners of the board -Two in front and 2 at the back - burning all four corners before grounding in the water.
All this in less than a second. Too fast, too strong.
Thanks the man in heaven, we are all alive and well
I read once, the best thing to do is to get off the water if there is lightning about but actually, that's not true. You should stay on the water and drop your sail. The ones on the beach certainly came off worst. The electric current follows the path of least resistance. A good friedn says it's best to keep your hands and feet together so the current does not find the gaps... OK, guys take care and enjoy LIFE !!!!!!!!!
At least, we're now fully charged and ready to rock...:) "