Comms systems back up on Qingdao after lightning strike

Back to archive

Qingdao's navigation and communication systems are working again after the yacht was struck by lightning on Friday, affecting all data communication systems onboard. 

The yacht lost all navigational instruments - wind, GPS, AIS and the navigation and media PC, along with all the lighting in the yacht. While the systems were restored the yacht used its back up hand held GPS, paper charts and NUC lights rigged up in the galley for lighting at night.  

Crew are also now able to send crew diaries again. Skipper Gareth Glover wrote in his skipper report today: "Well we’ve had a few days of not being able to get weather info or send or receive emails after a lightning hit us on Friday night. Gladly, no one was hurt apart from Qingdao itself. 

"The bolt hit the windward side which turned to dust and it travelled down the cable to the Nexus instruments, then jumped to the navigation PC and travelled to the AIS (Automatic Identification System) where the power surge stopped. There was a nice bang and flash as the yacht went dead and all the lights when out in the navigation station, where I was sat at the time. 

"The crew on deck say there was a flash coming out of the end of the boom on the back stays. After getting the phones back working and VHF, I called the Race Office to let them know what had happened.OneDLL was only a few miles away so I also called them to pass on our position. 

"After a few days of open heart surgery in the navigation station, working out which bits were damaged and what we can get working, in the end I had to take the hard drive out of the navigation PC and the media pc which is not as easy as it sounds under torch light and under spinnaker in the middle of the night, whist trying to hold a phone, talking to Tim, the Clipper Race Technician on what was the best way to repair us (thanks Tim).

"So we now have email weather and Sea Pro back online but will not be able to get the GPS or instruments back working so will have to put in our position by hand and the only GPS we have is the back-up hand held, which give us everything we need. 

"We can now work out better tactics with the weather and knowing the positions of the other yachts again."