Douglas Adams and Jascha Heifetz

These two artists are the unwitting and asynchronous Butch and Sundance of survival and success.

Adam’s iconic book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, offers the ongoing thesis, panic will get you killed — “Don’t Panic” is in fact close to, if not the core, of cosmic knowledge.  A close encounter with Heifetz is the [apocryphal?*] origin of, “Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” “Yes,” said Heifetz. “Practice!”

As winter slips its cold then wet clutches from us, we would do well to remember panic does kill, and practice reduces the likelihood panic will be our first response to critical stress. I found when I was officially a “learner,” practice was both natural and a key to short-term success. As I grew more experienced across a variety of fields, practice drifted into something I really should get around to.

Fortunately, the infusion of new technologies into cruising has returned me to “learner” status in some areas. But there are others that have received far too little attention. Readers can make their own lists, but mine for this year will include:

  • Going in the water with an un-inflated vest
  • Orally inflating it
  • Crew overboard drills
  • Lifesling retrievals
  • Coming back aboard with the vest on (many have removed them, fallen back in and drowned)
  • Getting back into the RIB wearing sodden clothing.
  • And so on…. (there’s close to 40 things on the list, and there are few already done–life-raft deployment, etc)

This way should these things be necessitated by mischance, I will be p***ed off, even scared, but, I won’t be trying to mentally sort the basics out while in survival circumstances.

One last thing, Adam’s protagonist’s other bit of sage advice was to always know where one’s towel is…something we celebrate on 25 May and an all round good idea.

Heifetz quote is attributed to Bennett Cerf in 1956
Chrome 10 release seems to be having a hiccup or two, sorry.

2 responses to “Douglas Adams and Jascha Heifetz

  1. I once helped deliver a yacht that had been found drifting in Bass Straight, the owners lifejacket had been found drifting nearby – It sounds like the singlehander may have fallen over the side while checking the engine cooling water (airlock in the system), and then couldn’t get back aboard even though it was calm…..

    So yours is a good idea, I should really try these myself, can normally do these things fine after a swim, but with no heavy wet clothes and shock to deal with – I still feel getting in and out of the dingy is one of the high risk areas of cruising on a boat, one slip, knock your head on the bulwark, and it’s all over…

    I like the new layout, looks less cluttered somehow.



    • Yep, I was a recovery (not rescue) diver in my 20s. Head wounds and unzipped pants were common.

      And thanks about the layout, I agree though I’m not sure why it the change worked. C

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