During the last several days, a lot has been accomplished in at least diagnosing the extent of lightning damage and researching replacements for the equipment. We have insurance based on the popular blue-water plan called “Jackline” from Markel. They responded quickly to our call and provided a claims examiner who has been quite helpful and supportive of our plans for replacing equipment. We have a large deductible though, so the bulk of the expense will come out of our pocket.
Fortunately, this was a near miss strike and we did not lose all of our electronics as can happen with a direct strike. So far, all of our AC power systems seem functional. We will continue to test them, but so far so good. All of our phones and computers, cameras, and other unconnected devices seem fine. Unfortunately, the strike did take out some key components on the boat network – chartplotter, autopilot controls, and damage to the instrument panels. Due to the age of the equipment, and the fact we bought the boat just a year or so before Raymarine upgraded their designs, our network is now out-of-date. Having to replace these items means we have to upgrade the entire network. This will include the instruments, transducers (sensors), network boxes, and even the wiring in most cases. It’s going to be a big job. But, it is necessary if we are going to recover the full operational capability we had before the lightning strike. We should get some bonus new features though due to the next generation technology.After the strike, without the chartplotter, we were not completely without navigational capability. Thanks to mobile technology, we had an app that gives us full electronic charts with GPS location. While driving the boat, I had a smartphone sitting on top of our big, but broken, 12″ chart plotter with these charts and we drove the boat fine through the Singapore channel. We have a waterproof case for the phone for when it rains (which it did). But, we didn’t have AIS or radar, so we had to keep a sharp eye out for traffic. I could have used a tablet for a bigger screen, but we found the phone worked just fine. We couldn’t leave the helm anyway since we have no autopilot.
We have been getting some help during the last week with our system diagnosis. The skipper on s/v Totem, Jamie, has a lot of experience with boat systems and technologies. He’s a boating professional with sail design, boat systems, and boat building experience. He’s been helping me with the diagnostics and research and has greatly increased my confidence we will get this done quickly and properly.We replaced two of the deck lights that were taken out by the lightning. The old bulbs, which I just installed in May at the boatyard, were blown completely by the lightning, and are the most visible sign of the lightning we have found yet. If you zoom in you can see the black scars and the cracks in the plastic quite clearly. Wow!
Jamie helped me yesterday with rigging up the new batt cars we got to fix the problem with our new mainsail having two extra attachment points. And we now have the reefing points rigged as well. So, our mainsail is finally fully functional. Thanks Jamie!
Karen and I made a trip yesterday to Singapore to buy some parts. We got a new VHF antenna – the old one was apparently taken out by the lightning. Also, we replaced the radar reflector which came off a few months ago.
Today Tahina and Totem are going to leave Puteri Harbour and we will make our way up the Straight of Malacca again. We will be going to Pangkor Marina ultimately, but plan to stop a few days in Port Dickson. Hopefully the new electronics will get ordered by then so we can have them delivered to Pangkor and do the installation while we are at the boatyard. It won’t be fun making this trip without our navigation system working well, but we’ll manage.