Lightning Fast Recovery

Last Sunday, Jamie and I completed the last phase of the complete replacement of our boat navigation systems, and all the other systems we have so far received parts for. There was a tremendous effort required to accomplish this, here in Malaysia, after just 5 weeks since our near-miss lightning strike. I’ve heard from other cruisers that lightning recovery on this scale typically takes 6 months in Malaysia. We would not have accomplished this nearly so quickly if it were not for the help of our friend Jamie of s/v Totem. He is a boating professional, and attacked our problem as if it was his own boat. For this we are eternally grateful. We are also grateful to his entire family who not only put up with traveling with us to the marina where we needed to haul-out, but also treated us occasionally with wonderful tasty treats they baked on their boat! s/v Totem had to leave on Tuesday to make their way north to Langkawi where they are having relatives come to visit. We hope to rejoin them once we get back in the water after our engine maintenance is completed.

To give you an idea of the scope of our project, I will list the highlights of the systems we uninstalled and replaced with new equipment. Be aware, that for every item uninstalled, we also removed all the old wiring – which was sometimes a challenging task since as a catamaran we have long distances to go. We then had to run all the new wiring as well, through sometimes very challenging nooks and crannies, or through the mast and up to the top of the mast. One time Jamie spent over 2 hours at the top of the mast to install the new cabling and instrument transducers.

Equipment uninstalled/installed: Chartplotter, autopilot, wind instrument, tridata instrument, remote autopilot control, VHF, AIS, network expansion, radar, fishfinder, hailer horn, LED deck lights (3), LED step lights (2), radar antenna, VHF antenna mount, windlass remote panel, windlass solenoid, fishfinder transducer, depth sounder transducer, rudder sensor, autopilot computer, voltage regulator for E-120, engine start battery, inverter/charger (multiple times), network box for inverter, light dimmer box, wind transducer, GPS antenna, heading rate compass, USB/wireless interface, and more.

The list hardly does justice to describe all the challenges we experienced in many of the items listed above. Thanks to a lot of research and preparation, and a lot of luck on shipping, we managed to get all of our parts from a variety of sources in record time considering our location. Looking back, I can’t believe we got the bulk of our parts in two shipments in less than 1 week from when we ordered! We were very fortunate also that many of them did install with little difficulty and all of them so far have tested out working well (with only one system requiring a firmware update to get working right). I still need to finish calibrating and testing the systems once we have Tahina back in the water, but we have done all that we can so far.

I have to admit that the stress of getting this all done, the costs, and dealing with the insurance, was quite high at points. Kudos to Jamie for handling my cranky behavior on at least a few occasions as I tried to deal with it all. This definitely harkened back to the days of running my own business, but not quite that stratospheric level.

I’ll try to get some photos uploaded showing our new system and what it looks like. And, I plan to devote some more posts summarizing what its like to have a lightning strike like this and maybe a few lessons learned about how to recover quickly. We still have to deal with the insurance – we have a Markel Jackline policy. Initially things were going smoothly, but the claims agent seems to have made himself scarce at the end of our process (once the extent of our costs were apparent). So, I’m still waiting to find out how they will deal with the adjustment due to us (after our sizable deductible).

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