Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Lightning Strike Chesapeake

Patrick McAneny

Ric, I will call him , Joel thinks he has dealt with him and is good.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ric Gottschalk ric@... [amelyachtowners]
To: amelyachtowners
Sent: Sat, Jun 25, 2016 10:16 am
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Lightning Strike Chesapeake

Call marine electric systems in Severna Park, Md. Talk to Patrick. Knows Amels. Excellent!

Ric Gottschalk
Kitchen Magic Refacers, Inc
Office 410-923-5800
Fax 410-923-5802

On Jun 25, 2016, at 8:04 AM, Patrick Mcaneny sailw32@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Alexandre, I have never dealt with an insurance claim , auto ,home ,health or boat . I will assume my insurance co. will do right by me ,unless I see evidence to the contrary. They are going to send someone out to assess things and then find someone to do the repairs. That is my main concern , finding someone that is qualified to do a proper and complete job. I will make sure the mechanic's primary interest is in doing a complete job .

-----Original Message-----
From: Alexandre Uster von Baar uster@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...>
To: amelyachtowners <amelyachtowners@...>
Sent: Fri, Jun 24, 2016 6:43 pm
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Lightning Strike Chesapeake

Definitely sorry to read about this Pat,
This is always my fear… and yes definitely lots things affected can not be apparent, so make sure the expert you use is not related with your insurance. 2 years later, i am still fighting my insurance…

Sincerely, Alexandre
Club Nautico de San Juan, Puerto Rico

On Fri, 6/24/16, Patrick Mcaneny sailw32@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Lightning Strike Chesapeake
To: amelyachtowners@...
Date: Friday, June 24, 2016, 2:24 PM


Kent, I will keep his contact info. I would
like to find someone close to home so I could be available
to help assess situations and oversee work . Sorry to say ,
but I little faith , thus like to have eyes on. There are so
many things that could have been affected , yet not apparent
. I would complain about this being a hassle , but then
compared to what you have been through , its a mere hiccup




From: Kent Robertson karkauai@... [amelyachtowners]

To: amelyachtowners

Sent: Fri, Jun 24, 2016 9:51 am

Subject: [Amel Yacht Owners] Lightning Strike Chesapeake


Hi Pat, sorry to hear about your lightning strike.  I
have been very comfortable with the Deltaville Boat Yard.
 Keith Ruse runs the yard and really likes Amels.  His
electrician was the only one I could find in the East coast
who understood the engine electrical isolation issue and did
a great job on it for me.  Call Keith 804-776-8900 and talk
to him about your damage.  Maybe ask to speak with the
electrician to make sure he's familiar with your
equipment.  Things like the 24/12V autopilot (which I
don't fully understand yet) would let you know if
he's up to the job.  The one who did my engine
isolation was Neal.

Hope you get it sorted out without too much




Currently Curaçao 

On Jun 24, 2016, at 8:22 AM, Patrick Mcaneny sailw32@...
[amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...>


James, I am
sorry to read about your problem. I have owned my boat for
about ten years , and have felt fortunate that I have not
had to deal with some of the problems others have had ,
until this past Tuesday. For the past 40 years of owning
boats , I have had my fingers crossed every time an
electrical storm moved through my area , my luck ran out
Tuesday. While I see know physical damage to the boat , most
of my electrical instruments have been damaged. James if you
or anyone have found someone well versed in the electrical
side of the Amel in the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay I
would appreciate their name. James , best of luck to you and
I hope you only have smooth seas ahead , you deserve


SM Shenanigans

Sassafras River , Md.


From: James Wendell ms42phantom54@...
[amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...>

To: amelyachtowners <amelyachtowners@...>

Sent: Fri, Jun 24, 2016 6:49 am

Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Battery Compartment


hear from Danny that the SM has battery compartment venting
at the bottom that allows air to move up through the battery
compartment. That is the way to do it, as it allows make-up
air to enter and go out the exhaust and therefore vent any
hydrogen sulfide if it is released. While wet cells will
release small amounts of H2S in operation, normally, AGM
batteries do not release gas, as it is recombined
internally. Vents at the bottom would also prevent any
gasses from leaking into the boat itself.

54 does not have any ingress, only egress through the
vent. It is sealed tight. That is what caused the build-up
of hydrogen gas. The batteries themselves did not explode -
2 of them cracked a bit at the top, which is what caused the
gas to release. The others were damaged as a result of the

I am
sorry to disagree with other opinions, but air circulation
is needed. Yes hydrogen sulfide is a toxic agent, but after
my experience, it would be far better to let a little bit of
it vent into the boat in an emergency situation, versus
contain it in an enclosure that is essentially a bomb when
the battery vents faster than the passive vent can exhaust
it outside. In reality, it would not vent into the boat if
the air intake is lower than the exhaust. H2
S is lighter than air and will rise naturally.

for clarification, there was no essentially no charging
occurring here; while no one has definitively identified the
culprit, the accepted conclusion at this point is that one
or two of the batteries suffered an internal short and
breached on their own - likely because they were nearing the
end of life at 4 years, but they came with the boat and I
have no record of their service history. There was a slight
solar power charge coming in, but it was early in the
morning and little sun would have been illuminating the
panels. There IS temperature compensation, and the solar
charger is a nearly new 45-amp Morningstar MPPT controller.
While it certainly could have failed, it was operating fine
just before the event.

will report more if my insurance surveyor or the electrical
experts here in the yard are able to offer additional

as a side note, I know Amels are good boats, and I see that.
They are well built. However, I have noted some
less-than-stellar design decisions that likely are more the
result of EU regulations rather than Amel

have owned the boat now for just over a year. I have
only sailed/motored it for 4 days last June. Imme
diately after that initial delivery the engine failed. I am
not going to repeat that story, but the final analysis
proved that during my 4-day motor from FL to MD, saltwater
had migrated into the exhaust manifold and up into the head
- not because of cranking. When the water evaporated a week
after arrival in MD, salt crystals remained in the engine
and pitted the valves and valve seats. That seriously
compromised the engine and the only good solution was a new
engine. Yes, I could have rebuilt it for about half the cost
- not worth it as there was a fair amount of external
corrosion on the starboard aft side of the engine. The
second design flaw is that there are NO fuses in any of the
primary DC feeders from the batteries. That is a serious
issue, as any short-to-ground or system overloads would have
overheated the circuit and caused the affected wire to melt
or catch on fire. Fuses are needed to protect the wires at
the battery. I changed all of that and now have an array
of fuses in the compartment adjacent to the batteries. And
now the sealed battery compartment issue.

I am venting now, but as others have noted, I will persevere
and resolve all of these issues. I do appreciate the quality
that goes into these yachts.

for the support - that is what this group is all



s/v Phantom Amel 54

On Friday, June
24, 2016 3:28 AM, "Jean-Pierre Germain jgermain@...
[amelyachtowners]" <amelyachtowners@...>


Hello James,

ownership has been marred by unusual problems; mine has also
not been a bed of roses but for different reasons. 

I had a NICAD
battery runaway once. At High altitude, The events take a
different dimension. 

Persevere, these
are good boats and you will be well rewarded



Eleuthera, SM007 

On 24 Jun 2016, at 08:10, Danny and
Yvonne SIMMS simms@...
[amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...>


James, how horrible. We all feel for you. You say the
battery compartment is sealed apart from the vent. On our SM
299 there are five vents at floor level in the bottom of the
battery compartment to allow air to enter. Does the 54 not
have these vents.



299 Ocean Pearl

From: "James
Wendell [amelyachtowners]"
To: "amelyachtowners@..."

Sent: Friday, 24 June
2016 12:30 PM
Subject: [Amel Yacht
Owners] Battery Compartment Explosion


I am
not sure if anyone has ever experienced what just happened
to me, but I think it is important info for everyone out
there. My battery compartment exploded early yesterday
morning. No one is certain exactly what happened, and no one
who has investigated the accident has ever seen this occur.
I am still up on the hard in Annapolis trying to get my new
engine installation completed - that was a subject of a
previous thread, and I will update everyone who followed
that thread separately once I get my new engine

explosion was quite severe and apparently set off my smoke
detector which everyone in the yard heard. There was no
fire. Oddly no one claims they heard the explosion itself,
as it may have happened before the contractors started to
come in for work. It blew the lid completely off of the
passageway berth and into the ceiling, jamming it between
the wall of the aft closet and the wall near the nav station
closet. Fortunately no one was on the boat at the time, but
if someone had been in the passageway between the main
saloon and the aft cabin, they would have been seriously
injured or even killed. I do not want to even speculate what
would have happened if someone had been sleeping on the
berth. I had some parts and tools sitting on the berth
cushion and they were either shredded, melted, or survived
depending on the material. It
was a scary situation.

I am
working with my insurance company and they hired a local
surveyor to assess the situation. They, as I do, want to
know the reason for the explosion. Beyond the damage to the
compartment lid/berth and the surrounding woodwork, here are
the facts:

least 2 of the AGM batteries had been breached with cracks
in the tops. None of the VRLA valves had popped.
A few
of the batteries were b
ulged out at the sides. Not clear if that happened
initially or as a result of the explosion. Ultimately about
half of the 12 on the 24-volt side were "bad."
shore power connections were off. The only charging source
would have been wind and solar. Both of those systems have
been working correctly for a long time, and early in the
morning there was no wind and not much sun. We do not think
it was an overcharge issue. I have multiple monitoring
systems including the Xantrex that came with the boat, plus
a Maretron monitor and Blue Sea meters. All were nominal
when I left the boat before the explosion. Voltage was about
27.5 and there was a small load of maybe 3 or 4 amps DC,
easily absorbed with the solar panels.
batteries are a little over 4 years old and came with the
boat. I have never had a problem with them
, and the charging systems have never pushed above 28
battery setup was reworked last winter by a very good
contractor here in the yard. They added fuses to all the
loads, and it has worked very well for months now. I find it
hard to believe that there was no primary battery fusing on
the boat at all, but that is still another topic for review.
However, the explosion would not have been related to
current flow and hence the fusing was not an issue one way
or the other.I
have 12 Intimidator AGM batteries in the battery area with a
12V starting battery.Testing
them after the accident revealed about half of them to be
unserviceable (either electrically or physically).

It is clear to the investigators that the
explosion was the result of hydrogen gas buildup in the
battery compartment. The problem they observed is that
(while there is a vent at the forward part of the battery
compartment, Amel seals the compartment completely).
Normally the vent is OK, as any residual hydrogen will
escape out the vent.. But the Amel setup prevents any makeup
air from entering the compartment. Normally AGM batteries do
not vent externally, as the hydrogen sulfide normally
released in a flooded battery is actually recombined in an
AGM setup. There are valves in a VRLA battery, which are
supposed to open if the internal pressure gets too high.
However, if the casing is breached, gasses will release
immediately, which is what happened here. What no one knows
yet is why the batteries cracked open. The bottom line is
that the vent could not release the gas fast enough, and the
hydrogen gas exploded as it built up
in the sealed compartment.

I am
going to modify the configuration by adding ventilation to
the front of the battery compartment. I am also going to
install 13 new Lifeline batteries (12 31-XT and 1 31T
battery for starting). Good quality batteries with a
modified install should prevent a recurrence. What a

All I
can say is thank goodness no one was hurt.

div dir="ltr"


s/v Phantom Amel
54 #044

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