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THE ALMOST NEVER FAIL CATAMARAN ANCHORING SYSTEM

Exit Only performed the first half of her circumnavigation navigation using CQR anchors, and the second half using a Beugel anchor.

We started our circumnavigation with a 45 pound CQR, and we dragged it all over the Pacific Ocean.  By the time we reached Tonga, we were tired of dragging anchor, and we moved up to a 60 pound CQR.  We thought that the additional weight would keep our CQR from dragging.  Unfortunately it didn't work out as hoped.

Even our 60 pound CQR was difficult to set securely in the seabed, and often we would have to make three attempts at anchoring before it held fast.  Unfortunately, if there was a wind shift or current shift that reversed the pull on the anchor, we could not trust it to reset in a secure manner.  That made it difficult to leave Exit Only to go ashore with confidence, because we didn't know whether the anchor was going to drag while we were away.  We always anchored with 200 feet of 3/8 inch high test chain in addition to the 60 pound CQR.




I had resigned myself to an insecure anchoring fate until I cruised with German yachts in New Caledonia.  They had a new anchor called a Beugel.  When we came into an anchorage, they dropped their anchor one time, and it set securely the first time, every time.  In the same seabed, we attempted to set our CQR two or three times before it held.  This happened time and again.  The German yachts anchored closer to shore in more sheltered conditions because their anchors could be trusted.  Their Beugels always held, and if there was a wind shift, their anchors quickly reset, while we were struggling to reset our CQR.buegel-anchor.gif

When I arrived in Australia, I decided to get a Beugel Anchor to solve my anchoring woes.  I was tired of dragging anchors and of long anchor watches.

 


I purchased a seventy pound Beugel anchor, and it transformed the second half of my trip around the world.  The Beugel anchor stuck to the seabed like it was covered in superglue.  It set quickly in the bottom, it didn't drag, and if there was a wind shift, it quickly reset in the new direction.  I finally could sleep soundly through the night because I knew my anchor would hold.

 

The unique geometry of the Beugel combined with it's sharp narrow tip means that it penetrates and digs into the seabed as soon as it hits the bottom.  The semicircular tube on the top of the anchor prevents the anchor from lying upside down on the seabed.  If you have an opportunity to play with a Beugel anchor on dry ground, you will instantly understand why it digs in so quickly and securely.

In the second half of the circumnavigation (from Australia to Florida), there were only two occasions when the Beugel had problems.  Once in the Red Sea, we were anchored on a steeply sloping seabed, and we had to anchor in fifty feet of water.  The seabed was so steep that it was impossible for the Beugel to dig strongly into the bottom.  Although we didn't drag anchor, I could back down on the anchor to seaward and move the anchor.  There was no risk of being blown ashore because in that direction the Beugel would have held like a champion.  The only risk was being blown offshore by strong winds.  It wouldn't have put us in danger, but it would have been inconvenient.

The second time we dragged anchor was in the Canary Islands in a harbor with a rocky bottom.  We were anchored in about forty feet of water, and when a sub-tropical storm came through, we dragged anchor.  That wasn't a big surprise to us because the bottom was rocky and deep.

Those were the only two occasions where I had to carefully watch for dragging of our Beugel anchor.  I reckon that is a good record for the second half of the trip around the world.

The picture at the top of the page shows our customary way of anchoring Exit Only.

First, we set the 70 lb Beugel anchor in the seabed by snubbing it with the engines in reverse.  The anchor stops Exit Only dead in its tracks, and we know the anchor is secure.

 


Second, we use a one inch three strand nylon bridle attached to our two bows.  This bridle acts as a shock absorber and keeps Exit Only pointing into the wind and seas.

Third, we use an ABI bridle plate to attach our bridle to the chain.

Fourth, we put a large lazy loop of chain into the water.  The lazy loop of chain weighs thirty to forty pounds, and all that weight causes the bridle to hang nearly straight down from the bow of the boat.  When strong winds and rough seas start to pull hard on the chain, the heavy lazy loop holds the bridle deep under water.  It makes the pull of the chain on the anchor more horizontal, and it helps prevent shock loads from being transmitted to the anchor.  All of these factors make it less likely that the anchor will jerk out.


Although no anchor is perfect, the Beugel is the closest thing to anchoring perfection that I have experienced.  I bet my boat  on it many times, and it came through like a champ.


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HOW BIG SHOULD YOUR ANCHOR BE?

That depends.

If you worship at the altar of speed, and if you rarely spend the night on the hook, then get a light-weight anchor appropriate to the size and windage of your yacht and to your cruising territory.  If you worship at the altar of security, and if you spend almost every night at anchor, then get a heavier anchor.  If you are a world cruiser, then a heavy anchor is the order of the day.  After all, you want to be sleeping at night rather than staying up on anchor watch.

Where are you going to be sailing?

If you restrict your movements to an area like the Chesapeake Bay that has fairly shallow anchorages and a muddy bottom, you can safely get a light weight anchor that is specifically designed for mud.  The odds are in your favor that you will do fine most of the time.

If you sail from marina to marina, then a smaller and lighter weight anchor will probably work well.  What you need is a lunch hook and something that will be secure for the rare occasions that you spend the night anchored out in good weather.

 

If you sail around the world in your yacht, then you need to have an all around anchor that is big enough to handle the most adverse conditions that you encounter during your voyage.  Lightweight anchors might be able to do the job most of the time, but on many occasions you need a heavy anchor that makes it possible to sleep at night and makes it safe to leave your boat when you want to explore ashore.  During our circumnavigation, the only places we stayed in marinas was Colon, Balboa, Australia, Bali, Singapore, Langkawi, Turkey, Trinidad, Egypt, and Puerto Rico.  Whenever possible during out eleven year voyage, we anchored out.  From Turkey to Trinidad, we didn't stay in any marinas.

On Exit Only, we found that a seventy pound Beugel anchor did the job in a reliable manner.  One of my friends on a fifty-one foot catamaran is using a one-hundred pound Beugel during his circumnavigation.  Seventy pounds of anchor on a 39 foot cat, and one-hundred pounds of anchor on a 51 foot cat worked extremely well for both of us.

Many catamaran sailors worship at the altar of speed, and they don't want the weight of a large anchor on their bow.  I agree with them 100%.  But I also want to sleep at night, and I want to be able to get off my catamaran and know that Exit Only will still be there when I return from my visit to shore if the wind pipes up, or if there is a shift in tidal current.

How big should your anchor be?  It should be large enough and heavy enough that it will safely hold your vessel in the areas that you sail.  If you are going to sail around the world, it would be wise to get a heavy anchor that will hold your yacht even in stormy conditions.

 

 

FAR HORIZONS

 

In my eleven year voyage around the world, I had the opportunity to experience nearly four-thousand sunrises and sunsets.  That's one of the reasons I like living on a yacht;  I have the privilege of seeing the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening.

 

In large cities, it's rare to see sunrise and sunset.  In the morning you are still asleep when the sun comes up, and in the evening most people watch television rather than gaze at the setting sun.  It's not surprising that city dwellers don't see sunrise and sunset.  Tall buildings surround them on all sides making it impossible to view the horizon.  Their sun isn't visible until it is well up in the sky.

Cities are horizon destroyers.  When I'm living in a city, distant horizons aren't part of my world, and I never think about them.  I can only see as far as the other side of the street and down the block; the horizon isn't anywhere in sight.  That's probably one of the reasons why I don't like living in cities.  My world doesn't feel right when I can't see the horizon. I live in a shrunken world that no longer extends out to the horizon.  My world is a few square feet in size when I'm in an elevator, and a few square blocks when I'm outside taking a walk.  The dimensions of my world continually shift throughout the day depending on what I am doing.  When I enter the subway, my world shrinks.  When I'm in Central Park, my world expands, but still I live in a horizonless world.

 

When I do expeditionary travel in the desert, my horizon extends out to a couple of miles, and suddenly I start feeling better.  I know that when the sun goes down, there will be an awesome sunset.  The same thing happens at sea.  My horizon extends five miles in every direction, and sunrise and sunset become a routine part of my world.


Horizons have a salubrious effect on my mind.  When I look at the horizon, I feel my world expand.  Not only do I have the pleasure of watching the sun come up in the morning and set in the evening, I realize that I can point the bow of my yacht in any direction and sail over the horizon to a new life.

The horizonless world is unnatural.  It's a world of man-made wonders that don't do much for me.  A widescreen TV is a poor substitute for a real horizon that extends as far as the eye can see.  What I'm really talking about is freedom.  If your world has no horizons, then it's likely you aren't free.  You have mortgages, cars, and endless infrastructure to support in your horizonless world.

When I'm on my yacht, the horizon continually beckons me onward..  I don't know what will happen over the horizon, but that's ok, because I am sailing on the ocean of my dreams.  I'm living in a world of far horizons, and life is good.
 

 


 

TSUNAMI DAMAGE - THE STARBOARD BOW TAKES A LICKING AND KEEPS ON TICKING!

 

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.

 

 

 

DON'T HESITATE!   TAKE THE PLUNGE NOW AND ORDER THE RED SEA CHRONICLES.   JUMP INTO A GREAT CRUISING CATAMARAN  DVD.  YOU WILL BE GLAD THAT YOU DID!

 

A FIRST CLASS SAILING ADVENTURE
A FIRST CLASS CHRISTMAS GIFT

Captain Dave and his family spent eleven years sailing around the world on their Privilege 39 catamaran, Exit Only. During the trip, the crew of Exit Only 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.  Order your copy of the Red Sea Chronicles and experience the adventures of Exit Only as they sail around the world and up the Red Sea.
 

Meet The Crew

Dave Abbott - Captain

Captain Dave always dreamed of sailing around the world on his own sailboat, and his eleven year circumnavigation with his family made his dream come true.
 

Donna Abbott - First Mate

Donna earned her stripes the REALLY old fashioned way...by enduring the rigors of passage making for the thrill of exploring exotic ports across the globe.

 

Sarah Abbott - Deck Swab

Sarah is the newest member of the family and crew. Despite her limited sailing experience, she jumped right in to life on the high seas. Her fresh and enthusiastic perspective on cruising help make the Red Sea Chronicles so special.

 

David Abbott - Cameraman/Director/Editor/Narrator/Composer

David shot over 170 hours of footage on the voyage from Australia to Florida. He then spent a year and a half on dry land editing and producing the Red Sea Chronicles DVD. In addition to the narrating the film, David also scored, performed, and recorded the entire soundtrack for the project.

 

Wendy Abbott - Voice of Ninja Crab

Wendy is the daughter of Capt Dave and Donna. She sailed on Exit Only from Florida to New Zealand. Wendy guest stars as the voice of a Ninja Hermit Crab in the Red Sea


 

TOP TEN REASONS TO BUY THE RED SEA CHRONICLES

10. The Red Sea Chronicles is an affordable CHRISTMAS gift for the sailor in my life.  Where else can I get a totally awesome gift for only twenty bucks?  
 9. I work hard for a living, and I deserve to reward myself with the Red Sea Chronicles.  
 8. My Dream Machine could use a shot in the arm, and the Red Sea Chronicles will give it the boost that it needs.  
 7. Every minute spent watching The Red Sea Chronicles extends my life by a full year.  
 6. I want to see what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before I spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one.  
 5. I want to see how a catamaran handles in heavy weather.  
 4. I want to see the Storm Management video so I understand what I need to do when I get in a storm at sea.  
 3. If I buy The Red Sea Chronicles, then Maxing Out Media will start production on two new DVD's - Australia to the Red Sea, and Med Sea to the Caribbean.  
 2. I like the Maxing Out web site, and I would like to support the website by purchasing their DVD.  
 1. After watching the Red Sea Chronicles, I can finally see myself sailing on the ocean of my dreams.
 

REVIEWS

"Story, quality, music, people, boat... Just excellent."

"...w
e got the DVD yesterday and watched it last night (we had no problem with the different format at all), what a great adventure and well put together DVD it was entertaining as well as informative and funny at times, a great combination. Well done you guys are natural movie stars, Laura and I watched the DVD twice and I am sure we will watch it many more times in the future."

"
I hope you guys are going to make more DVDís of your previous sailing trips for us to enjoy."

"Amazing...Just watched your dvd The Red Sea Chronicles for the third time today...I called my boss at home and turned in my notice...I'm going sailing!"

"The best cruising video to date from any source and should be on the shelf of every one who shares the cruising spirit even if only in dreams."

"...a great video that transported me from a damp, cold day in Wales to cruising aboard Maxing Out in the Red Sea - pure nectar."

"The only "problem" is that this has left me wanting more of the same stuff, just from some of the other places Maxing Out has visited!"

"Thumbs up. I also wish the entire circumnavigation was documented, but this small portion in the Red Sea is excellent. Well done."

"
I just watched the Red Sea Chronicles and second what all the others have said. I'd love to see a whole series of Maxing Out DVDs...Good job!"

Red Sea Chronicles DVD Previews

The Red Sea Chronicles is now available!

 
  We are attacked by flying fish as we cross the Indian Ocean on our way to Salalah, Oman. When we make landfall, the local suq (market) helps us regain our land legs.


 

  The riskier side of world cruising. In this episode we prepare to sail through "Pirate Alley" in the Gulf of Aden

 
  We arrive in Aden with a damaged alternator and are delighted to find a superb local machine shop. As we prepare to leave, fellow cruisers are attacked by pirates.

 
  We must sail through the notorious Bab el Mandeb (Gate of Sorrows) to enter the Red Sea. 50 knot winds and relentless sandstorms are ready and waiting on the other side


 



 

 

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Storm Management Offshore
Parachute Sea Anchor Chainplates
When To Deploy Chutes and Drogues

The Almost Never Fail Catamaran Anchoring System
How Big Should Your Anchor Be?
Far Horizons
Tsunami Damage - The Starboard Bow Takes A Licking
Everywhere, Everything
Go West Young Man - Seasteading
Beam Me Up Scotty

Ten Reasons Why Night Sailing Rocks
When Are You Coming Home?

Sailing to Borneo to See Wild Orangutans
Double Headsail Downwind Sailing
Grand Schemes And Other Important Things
Rigging Emergency Prevented - Listening To Your Boat

Dreams Do Come True
I Have A Dream

I Am Wandering, But Not Lost
Missing Out
The Facts of Life

Red Sea Rigors and Rumors
Never Surrender Your Dreams
Red Sea Sunsets

Exit Only Survives the Global Tsunami
The Sea Is So Big and My Ship Is So Small

34 Things I Learned in 33,000 Miles
Space Travel

Ten Disasters I Was Afraid Of That Never Happened
Kissing Cobras

Pirates of The Malacca Straits
The Tree That Wanted To Eat My Boat

Offshore Dream Machine for Circumnavigation
The Facts of Life Rafts

Surviving the Savage Seas
Abbott Drogue - Adjustable Medium Pull Drogue
You Must Know The Sea

Listen to the Sound of Your Dreams
Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend

Exit Only
Life Is Good
Getting Connected

First You Think It, And Then You Do It
My Addiction
Cook's Look at Lizard Island

I've Got Trade Wind Dreams
Storms Come and Go
Go Ahead.  Live Your Dreams.
The Next Step

Take Care of Your Autopilot So It Takes Care of You
Danger Zones On Board Exit Only
 

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