Showing posts with label lightning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lightning. Show all posts

If a Tree Falls on a Hobie...

Staying at a lake house, kayaks sprawled in the grass drying from a morning or afternoon excursion, enjoying nature is great fun. At least for me.

My family received an invitation from some close friends to join them at an East Texas retreat last week. The kids played all week, we introduced them to kayaking and had a very relaxing few days away from the rat race. For the most part.

It seems my wife and I are doomed when it comes to vacations. We now know to wait for the other shoe to drop and this week didn't disappoint.

On our honeymoon we needed a tow truck to rip our SUV out of 36" of snow we slid into off of an icy road. One summer the car popped a service engine light and was overheating 600 miles from home. We hit so many delays coming back from Washington last year we were literally the only people left in the airport who didn't work there when our bags finally arrived. I lost an extra day of work and no sleep + kids + 20 hours of travel in airports, ferries and cars makes Chris an irritable boy. Let's just say vacations hate us.

This last week was going pretty good. We had made it through three days and no problems. Sure it was storming every day but the fishing was ok and the time away with friends was great. Then the fourth day hit. I looked outside to see if the kayaks were still there or if one of our friends had gone out for an early paddle. I saw it.

A huge branch was laying across my kayaks! This could not be good. I ran out to assess the damage anticipating my new Hobie Outback and my son's Malibu Mini-X were going to be crushed. What I saw was surprising. Lightning had struck this large branch about 25 feet overhead. It fell directly on the Hobie Outback rudder and glanced off to the side, landing the heavy part of the branch in the grass and the leafy branches across the Mini-X.

 It took some time to CSI the place and figure out what happened but it eventually all came together. After checking the property, more limbs had been hit and some were ready to fall with the slightest of breeze. I returned to "The Blue Beast" as I am now calling her.I deployed the sailing rudder, checked steering, checked lines, hull integrity, bolts, and everything else I could think of. She was just fine. She possessed some scars on the rudder but nothing major or functionally inhibiting.  The Outback rudder had taken the brunt of a large limb falling from 25 feet and shrugged it off.

Did I get lucky? Yes, and no. I won't ever know what would have happened to a different boat and a different rudder but I do know that the Hobie rudder is one mean brute.

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