Everyone knows there are a lot of dangers out on the open ocean: whales, pirates, container ships, airborne aquatic simians, rogue waves and bad helmsmen who crash sailboats in less than 30 knots of wind are the most common. But there are more and VALIS, in her duties as communications boat, was subjected to possibly the worst of them all. IQ leak.
See, the modern sailboat is awash in electronics and their associated wave outputs. Single side band, AIS, iPods, VHF, 406 MHz EPIRBs, that annoying squeal from the freezer compressor, tricolor nav lights and Hawaiian music. All of these contribute to rapid gray matter brain deterioration according to a study I might have read in The New England Journal of Medicine.
And, we had the frickin' beehive of electronics going all the time. Well, except for the autopilot, that would have wasted electrons! So, our fearless captain, devised a sort of brain matter faraday cage that kept him safe during those long hours taking positions and keeping boats entertained on the SSB.
Don't know for sure if it worked, I'll give him a basic IQ test next time I see him to find out if he's still a supergenius. With a hat like that, he sure looks like it.