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Exit Only has lots of spare halyards - three of them to be exact.

When we refit our boat, the rigger thought we were overdoing it by having three spare halyards. Of course the rigger had never sailed offshore on a catamaran, and he had no idea how useful those halyards are on Exit Only.

My three spare halyards are not really spares.

I am not a halyard collector with a halyard fetish.

Each halyard has a purpose, and I use all of them regularly.

Probably the most important halyard is my storm halyard.

What is a storm halyard?

The storm halyard is about twenty feet longer than the other halyards on the foredeck. The purpose of the storm halyard is to prevent the person working on the foredeck from going overboard in a storm, and if he should go overboard, the halyard is already attached to a winch, and we simply winch the overboard person back on board.
When we were in a winter storm three hundred miles north of New Zealand, we had to deploy our parachute sea anchor. That meant that David had to go forward to each bow to shackle our parachute anchor bridle to our parachute anchor chainplates.

Before he went forward to the bows, we attached the storm halyard to his safety harness, and the storm halyard went to a self-tailing winch. If Dito went overboard while deploying the parachute sea anchor, it was a simple matter of winching him back on board.

When we sailed to New Zealand, a man died on the trip south because he went overboard, and although he was attached to the yacht by a tether, neither he nor the wife could get him back on board, and he died. Lesson learned.
Jack lines do an excellent job of dragging you through the water, but they don’t get a water logged sailor in foul weather gear back on board the yacht.

Many people don’t realize that when you go overboard when sailing at six to eight know, the harness is going to give you a mighty jerk when you hit the water, and there is real possibility that the harness will break several ribs.

I don’t know if you have ever had broken ribs, but I can tell you that trying to pull yourself back on board with broken ribs is so painful that you may not be able to do it without help. That’s one reason we have our storm halyard. It’s not up to the crew member to pull himself back on board. It’s up to the crew to get the job done.

Our storm halyard gets the job done quickly and without a lot of complexity. You don’t have to have superhuman strength to get a water logged crew member on board. You simply winch him out of the water and stop all the unnecessary drama.

Our second spare halyard can be used to back up the headstay if there is a headstay problem. It also is used as a topping lift to support an eighteen foot spinnaker pole if we decide to use the poles when using our downwind rig.

Our third spare halyard has two purposes. It can be used as a topping lift to support a second spinnaker pole that we sometimes use on our down wind rig.

More often, the third spare halyard is used to transport supplies, tools, and gear to the top of the mast so that the person working at the top has everything he needs to get the job done. That way, the supplies and tools go up and down the mast rather than the person doing the work having to climb up and down multiple times to get things needed for the job. I tie the third spare halyard in into an endless loop, and I have a cloth bag that transports things to the top.

In the picture, you can see Dito working on the mast with the cloth bag on the transport halyard by his side.

So there you have it.

Just call me halyard man. The riggers called me crazy.

I am crazy like a fox.

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.


    Team Maxing Out Sails Around The World On Their 39 Foot Catamaran

    Join Team Maxingout as they sail through Pirate Alley and up the Red Sea


    Give your dream machine a shot in the arm

    See what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before you spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one


    View the storm management video to learn how Captain Dave dealt with storms at sea

    After watching the Red Sea Chronicles you will be able to see yourself sailing on the ocean of your dreams

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.