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Monday, November 9, 2009

A risky post.

0700/09 position 1318 02524 trip 133/24 so a good run and still east of yesterday's position.

Falmouth is 3970 miles away but that is now pretty meaningless. We have sailed 4528 miles to get here and we have 2690 miles to Cape Town in a straight line. In 30 miles, we will have a Pete Goss moment with the Talisker to celebrate 4000 miles in a straight line and then I will start looking the other way and measuring progress towards rather than away.

I've been thinking about the nature of risk since Macca asked my opinion about the Jessica phenomenon. I'm sure there is a raging debate in Australia about whether she should have been 'allowed' to go or even 'encouraged'. I don't want to buy into that one and anyway it will all have been said by someone else. Instead, I think we could play with a new word - jessication (n) to jessicate (v) - meaning the taking of potentially lethal risk for the thrill of it, or to prove one's heroism, or to break a record that perhaps does not merit the breaking. And a jessicateur might be one who encourages such endeavours. Pete and I are probably at one end of the scale - we are experienced, have been there before and can handle most of what Murphy and the Examiner toss at us. At the other end - I understand that statistically, for instance, attempts at the deepest under water dive on a single lungful of air are at about even money and the record is held by someone who died in a subsequent attempt. Not sure about base jumping but it must out there somewhere too.

Purely scientific risk in the same broad context but where the benefits are to humanity, not just to the risk taker don't count. For example, injecting oneself with a new vaccine to test its effect or the man who believed in his new invention sufficiently to jump from a balloon with it so giving us the parachute.