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David and I are sitting on the lower spreaders of Exit Only, and we are taking care of business.

Although we survived the trip up the Red Sea during the previous two months, we took quite a beating in the Gulf of Suez.

We didn't know how much of a beating it was until we hauled out in Turkey and checked the rigging. What we found was scary.

A stainless steel strap toggle holding the headstay in place had apparently broken during the Red Sea transit.

We were extremely fortunate that we didn't loose our mast as we slogged up the Red Sea.

A Turkish craftsman fashioned a new strap toggle out of stainless steel, and we installed it to prevent the mast from going over the side at sea. We truly snatched victory from the jaws of disaster.

After discovering the failure in the headstay strap toggle, we decided to climb the mast and inspect all of the rigging.

The inspection found broken strands of wire in an eight millimeter diamond shroud.

Rigging problems seemed to be coming down like rain, but at least we weren't off shore when it happened.

I wasn't too upset, because it's always better to deal with rigging problems while I'm in safe harbor than when I'm in forty knots of wind offshore and could easily lose the mast.

Losing a mast is expensive.

Without insurance, such a disaster could cost upwards of twenty thousand dollars if you do all the work yourself. If you hired it done with labor rates at seventy-five dollars an hour, your cruising kitty would instantly implode.

If I lose my mast, I lose the ten thousand dollar deductible on my yacht insurance. That's a huge chunk of cash to lay out for a problem that's probably preventable.

Before I sail offshore, I always climb to the top of the mast and check every piece of rigging to make sure there's no problem. It's a hassle to put on a climbing harness and do a tap dance up the mast, but it's not nearly as unpleasant as dealing with a dismasting at sea.

In my time aloft I've identified broken strands of stainless steel wire on at least ten occasions, and the few minutes spent climbing the mast have paid off in a big way.

Sailboats are always talking to you.

Sometimes they whisper, and other times they shout.

When you go aloft and find a tiny fractured strand of rigging wire, your yachts is whispering a warning. "Fix me while it's cheap and easy."

If you wait until your yacht shouts at you, it's going to be screaming things you don't want to hear. You'll be hearing words like, "You really messed up this time. Why didn't you check my rigging before you sailed offshore. Now my mast is in water and it's going to cost you a ton of money. How could something like this happen when you call yourself a mariner?"

We have sailed over thirty-three thousand miles around the world, and during our voyage we replaced damaged rigging in Bora Bora, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, and Gibraltar.

In each instance, we discovered a problem and dealt with it before it became an emergency.

That's the way mariners get their yacht around the world. Eternal vigilance is our best friend and beats good luck seven days of the week.

There's an old saying, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

I would recommend that every mariner carve those words into their main bulkhead, get them tattooed on their forearm, and have their wife repeat them at least seven times a day.

If you want to sail around the world, you must work hard to push the odds in your favor.

Good luck isn't going to keep your mast upright where it belongs. You're the only one who can make that happen.

You earn the right to sail on the ocean of your dreams by taking good care of your yacht. When you take care of it, it takes care of you.

Life is 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.