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In Thailand, Exit Only survived the most destructive tsunami of modern times without a scratch, but we didn't escape scot-free.

The arm of the tsunami was very long, and out in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the tsunami made a lasting impression on Exit Only's starboard bow.

The starboard bow is the bow of destruction.

Two times Exit Only has collided with things at sea, and it's always the starboard bow that takes the beating.

When Exit Only left the factory in France, she was sailed to England to be placed on a ship for delivery to America. Unfortunately, the delivery captain ran into something and knocked a fist sized hole in the bow.

I don't know what he hit, and believe it or not, he didn't report the damage.

He repaired it with body filler and covered it over with gel coat.

The Privilege dealer in Florida didn't mention the damage, and I had the boat for a year before I discovered telltale cracks in the gel coat when I hauled the boat out of the water for a bottom job. Only then did the dealer tell me about the damage to the bow.

At that point, I was starting a circumnavigation, and it was imperative that I discover the extent of the damage, and whether it was properly repaired.

I removed the gel coat with a grinder and discovered to my chagrin that they had put body filler in the hole rather than do a proper repair using fiberglass.

It was the worst type of shoddy workmanship and substantially weakened the strength of the bow. A repeated collision at sea could have been disastrous with this substandard repair.

In the boat yard I exposed the entire area of damage and performed a professional repair that restored the bow's integrity.

I beefed up the bow to make it more impact resistant in case I ever hit a partially submerged container or log while at sea. Then I applied new gel coat to finish the repair.

Exit Only was never at risk of sinking when holed because there is a collision bulkhead twelve inches back from the bow. This bulkhead prevented any significant amount of water from entering the yacht. Only a few cups of water were in the space ahead of the collision bulkhead.

It was a disappointment to have a hole in the bow of a totally new yacht, and disappointing that the yacht dealer didn't admit to the damage until I discovered its tell tale signs a year later, but in the long haul I may be fortunate that we had the damage to the starboard bow.

Why do I say that?

If I hadn't beefed up the bow to repair the hidden damage, then when I ran into a log south of Sri Lanka after the tsunami, it might have put a devastatingly large hole in the bow rather than just create the gel coat damage shown in this picture.

One of the things that concern every captain at sea is the possibility of collision with partially submerged containers and logs.

In the Indian Ocean, some of the floating logs were more than a hundred feet long and a meter thick.

Collision with such a log can sink a ballasted monohull yacht in under five minutes. In a catamaran a log won't sink you, but it can cause flooding of one hull.

You never know ahead of time whether apparent disaster is actually good or bad.

I wasn't happy about the damage to the starboard bow that I discovered in Fort Lauderdale, but that discovery and repair may have saved me from a humongous problem in the Indian Ocean eleven years later.

That's they way things are in life.

Although you live in the short term, life is a long term proposition.

What looks like disaster in the short term, may be a blessing in the long haul. There's truth in the saying, "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." It was certainly true for Exit Only's starboard bow.

I'll take gel coat damage any day when I hit a log in the Indian Ocean. Repairing gel coat at my leisure in a boatyard is a world better than having to deal with a gaping hole in the bow in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

If you want to sail the seven seas, you must become an expert at turning bad things into better things, and when bad things happen, you might discover that dealing with the bad thing actually protected you from something even worse.

When bad things happen, it's not time to put on sackcloth and sit in a pile of ashes. It's time to keep on keeping on.

It's never over until it's over, and in spite the hole in my starboard bow, life is still good.

Dr. Dave

Captain Dave - David J. Abbott M.D.





Exit Only

See what it's like for a family to sail around the world on a small catamaran

Captain Save Our Souls

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.

Red Sea Blues

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.

Red Sea Chronicles Trailer

If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 1 - When Flying Fish Attack

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.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 2 - Pirate Alley

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.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 3 - Aden, Yemen

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.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 4- Gate of Sorrows and Sandstorms

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.

Patreon - Maxing Out

Captain Dave and his family spent eleven years sailing around the world on their Privilege 39 catamaran, Exit Only. During the trip, the crew shot 200 hours of video with professional cameras to show people what it's like to sail on a small boat around the world.

The Red Sea Chronicles is a one hour and twenty-two minute feature film showing their adventures as Exit Only sails through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden and up the Red Sea. The professional footage documents their experiences in Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, and the Suez Canal. It chronicles the rigors of traveling in a remote section of the world rarely visited by cruisers. Exit Only dodges Yemeni pirates, fights a gale and sand storms in the Bab al Mandeb at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The crew explores deserted islands on the western shores of the Red Sea, and learns to check the cruising guides for land mines before venturing ashore.

The Red Sea Chronicles also has outstanding Special Features including an Instructional Video on Storm Management that tells sailors how to deal with storms at sea.

And don't forget the two Music Videos: "The Red Sea Blues", and "Captain - Save Our Souls".

The Red Sea Chronicles is a first class adventure that stokes the sailing dreams of both experienced and wannabe sailors alike.

Red Sea Chronicles

Save A Tree Bookstore

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.