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The purpose of the monsoon trough is to drive sailors insane. We normally aren’t far from madness anyway, and the monsoon trough is just what is needed to push us over the edge.

When I sat in Galapagos, I looked at the weather charts, and the seemingly innocuous words, “Monsoon Trough”, kept popping up. I didn’t know what the monsoon trough was, and I did not know that it was designed by the devil to torture innocent sailors who simply wanted to pass through this patch of ocean.

Little did I know that Thor with all his lightning bolts lives in the monsoon trough, and it is also where Thor spins up those tropical depressions that become hurricanes that hit Mexico and Hawaii.

Those little red MONSOON TROF LINES on the surface analysis chart look so innocuous - just a couple of lines that don’t look anything like a tropical depression or a hurricane. How bad can the monsoon trough be? I mean, really. Why are you so excited about those little red lines?

Just to make things more confusing, the monsoon trough lines are continuous with the InterTropical Convergence Zone. So they are just like the ITCZ. Right? Wrong!

If you look at the graphic, you will see a critical difference. In the ITCZ, the northeast trade winds and southeast trade winds converge in the ITCZ where the winds ascend vertically in an area of cloudy low pressure. So far so good.

In the monsoon trough, the winds direction is critically different from the ITCZ. The southeast trade winds recurve to the northeast and they become the monsoon southwesterlies. When the northeast trades meet the monsoon southwesterlies, the difference in wind direction makes it much easier for low pressure areas to spin up in a counter clockwise direction and become a tropical depression, tropical storm, or a hurricane. It becomes the birthplace of extremely bad weather that will travel thousands of miles to hit Hawaii and Baja California.

The monsoon trough is moderately to severely evil, and it will punish you if you dare to pass through its domain.

When you look at the satellite photos of the monsoon trough, you can see that it changes radically on a daily basis.

One day the trough is two hundred miles wide, and the next day it is six hundred miles wide.

Just when you think you have escaped its evil clutches, it decides to expand hundreds of miles in every direction. The monsoon trough loves to shift north and south in an unpredictable manner.

Why is this important?

It’s important because it’s bad weather - sometimes very bad weather.

The monsoon trough could have been the final blow the drove Donald Crowhurst totally mad. We will never know.

As far as I am concerned, the real problem with the trough is lightning. Since Thor lives in the monsoon trough, you gotta expect lots of lightning when you pass through his domain.

Lightning is very expensive. A single lightning strike to your mast will vaporize between $10,000 and $20,000 in electronics on your boat. It will also take out your autopilot which means you will have to hand steer your sailboat for thousands of miles. Not fun.

The monsoon trough has lots of squalls to make your life interesting. Those squalls give you the opportunity upgrade your boat handling skills in thirty to forty knots of wind. If you are not interested in working on your sailing skills in high winds, you will find those squalls moderately irritating.

When you are not dodging squalls, you quickly discover that the monsoon trough has very little wind. If you don’t want to run your engine, you can sit for weeks in this patch of ocean enjoying all of the benefits of the monsoon trough.

The monsoon trough is paradise for a sailing masochist.

We survived the monsoon trough, and 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.


    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.