Exit Only is a first generation cruising catamaran that is now 29 years old.
Exit Only was made to cruise the oceans of the world without treading lightly. It was constructed strong to last long.
The sea has a way of finding every weakness in boats that set sail. Relentless and repetitive stresses are applied to every part of the yacht when you sail offshore, and if your vessel has any weaknesses, you can be sure that the sea will show you those weaknesses.
Exit Only is only 39 feet long and 21 feet wide which is small for modern catamarans. When you consider how strongly the vessel is constructed for its size, you have a lot of confidence in your boat when you sail offshore.
Modern catamarans are lightly constructed, and they are designed to perform extremely well as floating condominiums in marinas. They make great boats for cruising in the Bahamas and other sheltered waters around the world. But take those same boats offshore, and you will discover that they were not designed for long offshore passages.
That doesn’t mean they can’t be sailed around the world. It just means that is not what they are designed for.
The most obvious example of this is the sail plan on Exit Only compared with the sail plan on the typical production catamaran.
Exit Only has a 500 square foot headsail and a 500 square foot mainsail.
The sail plan is balanced which means there is no bias toward the mainsail or the headsail in normal sailing conditions.
Exit Only also has a 500 square foot code zero sail that is the same size and shape as the 500 square foot roller furling headsail.
Modern cruising catamarans have a bias in favor of giant mainsails and tiny headsails. That sail plan works fine if you are day sailing or cruising in sheltered waters. But when you get on long offshore passages, a large mainsail becomes a lot to handle.
The unbalanced sail plan with a tiny headsail means that most of the time you have your mainsail up driving the boat onward.
Unfortunately, in tropical waters there are an abundance of squalls with fierce winds, and you will be putting the mainsail up and down many times a day dealing with the squalls as they pass by.
It’s easy to get caught sailing in an over canvassed condition when the mainsail is so large.
On Exit Only with our balanced sail plan, with an equal size headsail and mainsail, I can move the boat forward using either of the sails on their own and still achieve adequate speed.
When running downwind, I can also carry 1000 square feet of sail in my downwind sailing rig without any mainsail up.
When the weather is squally, I drop my mainsail entirely, and I let our 500 square foot roller furling headsail pull us along.
Modern catamarans with an unbalanced rig would not have enough headsail to move the boat forward well except in strong winds.
I am not nitpicking about an unbalanced sail plan. In the real world of offshore sailing, you need to be able to keep your boat moving without putting crew on the foredeck during squalls at night placing the crew at risk.
If someone has to go forward in the dark to reef the mainsail a couple of times at night, you end up with a tired crew, you sail with too much sail up, or you just drop your sails and start motoring.
On Exit Only we love our balanced sail plan.
We can carry 1000 square feet of working sail evenly divided between the mainsail and headsail. We can also reef down both mainsail and headsail, and still have a balanced sail plan. Or we can drop the mainsail entirely and just sail under 500 square feet of headsail.
When Exit Only sails offshore, especially in squally weather, we frequently sail under headsail alone.
Similarly, at night in unsettled weather, we will sail under headsail alone which prevents emergencies in the middle of the night trying to take down an overpowered mainsail.
We can also have a balanced sail plan when sailing downwind using our 500 square foot code zero and 500 square foot genoa in a double headsail configuration with no main.
I want to have a safe and pleasant voyage and to not have to work too hard at making it happen.
A balanced sail plan makes it easier to achieve that goal.
Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.
Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.
If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.
Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.
Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.
Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.
After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.