Craziness on Lake St. Clair

Published on September 13th, 2016

by Mark Thornton, LakeErieWX
Whether it’s a beer can race or a top tier regatta, weather often adds a bit of excitement to sailboat racing. This was particularly true for Windsor Yacht Club’s Wednesday night race on Lake St. Clair held August 24, 2016. Not long after the 7:00 pm start, an unwarned cluster of thunderstorms rolled over the course, quickly producing 30 knot winds and torrential rain.

At approximately 7:18 pm during the height of the wind and rain, Nauti Boys (a J/120) was struck by lightning. The strike left the vessel’s carbon fiber mast smoldering and the crew scrambling to keep the boat afloat due to blown out thru-hull fittings and other holes. Fortunately, none of Nauti Boys’ crew was injured, although the boat is likely a total loss. Several damage pictures can be viewed here.

And if high winds and a lightning strike weren’t enough excitement for the evening, a few minutes later drywall, insulation, and other debris rained down on the fleet courtesy of a weak tornado near La Salle, Ontario. What led to this craziness? Full report here.

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