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The Doldrums Dilemma is a problem that each Real Ocean Cruiser has to solve for himself.

The easiest and fastest way of dealing with the doldrums is to turn on two engines and motor straight through them, but that only works if you have unlimited fuel and money is no object.

The hardest and slowest way of conquering the doldrums is to raise your sails and keep sailing until you reach the other side.

Real Ocean Cruisers on a budget frequently opt for sailing. It may take them two weeks to get through the doldrums, but they will make it without burning any diesel fuel, and their low budget cruise will continue around the world. They may actually get lucky and sail through the doldrums when they are only 200 miles wide, or they may be less fortunate with extended doldrums for 500 or 600 miles.

We had at least 500 miles of monsoon trough/doldrums when we travelled from Galapagos to the Sea of Cortez.

The problem with the 100% sailing approach is that you have prolonged exposure to the impressive displays of lightning found in the doldrums. One lightning strike will wipe out $10,000 - $20,000 worth of electronics including your autopilot. Your attempt to save a few hundred dollars of diesel fuel ends up costing you thousands of dollars to replace vaporized electronics.

The doldrums have other treats besides lightning. There are squalls, and unfortunately, most of them came in the middle of the night during our trip.

Real Ocean Cruisers committed to sailing without using their engine will have sail drills happening in the middle of the night.

Reefing the mainsail on a moonless night during a squall is risky, and if you fall overboard in the dark, you could die.

You could reef your sails down before dark - reefing for the squalls that are sure to come in the middle of the night - but that would leave you under canvassed for the rest of the night, and you would give up miles and prolong the time you spend in the doldrums.

I love to sail, and I hate to motor, but I hate the doldrums even more.

For me the decision was clear. I wanted to spend the least amount of time possible in the doldrums to escape the squalls and lightning. I also wanted to use the least amount of diesel possible. That means if there was wind I would sail. If there was no wind, I would motor using only one engine. If there were squalls and heavy lightning, I would turn on two engines and keep the boat out of harms way. Since we knew that squalls would happen in the middle of the night, we put a double reef in our mainsail just to be safe.

Solving the Doldrums Dilemma is not that hard.

You pass through the doldrums on Sails of Patience, and before you know it, you are on the other side.

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.