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Over the years. quite a few folks have asked us where we came up with name "Exit Only" for our catamaran.

This is the way it happened.  While I was working in Saudi Arabia, whenever we went on vacation, we had to obtain an Exit-Reentry visa in order to make the trip.  The Exit visa got us out of the country, and the Reentry visa got us back in to resume our work.

There was a special type of visa for people who were leaving the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and not coming back.  Those folks received an Exit Only visa.  Once you went Exit Only, your work in the Magic Kingdom was over, and you were on a one way ticket to some place other than there.

I worked for eleven years in Arabia, always traveling on my Exit-Reentry visas.  Finally, at the end of the eleventh year, it was time to sail on the ocean of my dreams, and so I got an Exit Only visa and went sailing on Exit Only around the world.

Going Exit Only on board Exit Only was a liberating experience.  The scraping, scrounging, and saving were over, and it was time to live my dreams.

Exit Only proved to be a good name.  It constantly reminded me that my old life was gone, and  that I wasn't going back.  It was time to move forward into new territory.   I had a new life, and I was a new person.  I was now Captain Dave, Master and Commander of Exit Only, and it was time for 33,000 miles of global adventure.



When you sail at night, take a good look at the midnight sky.  You can see billions of miles and millions of light years in every direction.  From the beginning of time, astronomers have searched the sky for signs of life, and so far the only place where life is known to exist is on planet earth.

Earth is unique because itís chock-a-block with life; itís everywhere, and itís relentless.  Itís in the air, on the land, and in the depths of the sea.  The reason earth is such an awesome place is because itís a sanctuary for life in an otherwise hostile universe.

Sailing around the world in a yacht allows you to see life in all its glory.  Because you sail in remote locations beyond the reach of the developers and destroyers, you see life in a different manner than city slickers do.  Their version of life is limited to a few birds in Central Park, dogs on leashes, and animals in zoos.  Itís an extremely skewed view of what life is all about.

In cities, itís hard for people to  appreciate or experience the richness of life as they ride subways and work in concrete jungles.  Their constrained view of life is to wake up in the morning, commute, work somewhere all day long, commute again, spend the evening at home, and then repeat the cycle the next day.  When that is their daily routine, they may not even notice that that their planet is alive.  The only living things they see may be people, pigeons, dogs and cats, plus a few cockroaches thrown in for good measure.

Contrast that to the life of a sailor totally immersed in our living planet.  He wakes up in the morning to the sound of seabirds in his small patch of paradise.  Sea turtles swim by, and when his sailboat gets underway, porpoises escort him out to sea.  The sea is alive with mahi mahi, Spanish mackerel, and tuna.  When he makes a long passage offshore, wandering birds often rest on deck using his yacht as a floating island.  Sometimes the birds even land on his finger and eat from his outstretched hand.   When he visits the Galapagos, all manner of creatures tolerate his presence totally unafraid because they know he means them no harm.  Thatís the way the world was meant to be, full of life that surrounds us on all sides.

Now that I am back in ďuncivilizationĒ, I am hearing talk about how hard life is.  Wars, sub-prime mortgages, foreclosures, the high cost of health care, drug abuse, political corruption - the list goes on and on.  Unfortunately, Iím not hearing much talk about how good life is.  Thereís a perceptual problem here.  We are focusing on the dross and slag, when there is pure gold right in front of our eyes.  Life is pure gold, and life is good.

Life is an awesome miracle.  The fact that we are here on planet earth means that we won the lottery of life.  We won first prize, and all of the living things that surround us are our most precious possessions.

When I sailed around the world, the most important discovery I made was that life is good.   Everything thatís alive, including you, is a massive miracle.  Donít waste your time complaining about the things in your life.  Forget about your woes and worries, and instead, focus on the miracle of life  You are a miracle and you live in a miraculous world.

A fitting epitaph at the end of lifeís journey would be: ďBeen there, done that, life is good.Ē

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After living outside the United States for twenty-eight years, I am finally connected.  At least that's what everybody tells me.  You see, I completed my circumnavigation around the world on my sailboat, I'm back in the USA, and I now have a cell phone.

Don't feel sorry for me because I wasn't connected for all those years.   I was connected to other things, and I didn't need a cell tower to feel my life was good.


What exactly did I get when I got connected?  I got an overpriced handheld fit-in-the-palm-sized plastic gadget that I have to carry around with me wherever I go, and whenever it makes noise, I have to pay money.  It's like a slot machine, a no-armed bandit, and every time the cell phone rings, I lose, and the cell provider wins. 

What did I learn when I got connected?  First, I found out that getting connected costs lots of money and staying connected costs even more.  I also learned that in my new world, I can only be connected for 500 minutes each month without having to pay another mountain of money.  It turns out that I am connected to a bottomless money pit that would like nothing better than to suck my finances dry.

Being connected does have it's benefits - I do get to talk to my family whenever I want until I run out of minutes or money.  When you're connected, you enter into a time warp in which time is split into two dimensions.  The first dimension is called "ANYTIME MINUTES", and I am only allowed to visit this dimension for five-hundred minutes a month.  Apparently this dimension is very crowded, and they won't let me stay longer unless I pay more money.  The second dimension is called "NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS."  I can do whatever I want for as long as I want in this dimension, and it doesn't cost anything extra.


In my new life, special messages appear on my phone from outer space.  They are called text messages, and every time a message appears, money comes out of my wallet.  I have decided that I don't like text messages.  I hope people living in the two dimensions don't send me text messages.  I'd rather talk to them while I'm living in the "NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS" dimension.

I don't want to complain about my new life, but I confess I liked my old one better.  I got along fine without a cell phone, and I was connected to other things that talked to me and sent messages without sending a monthly bill.

Take a look at Exit Only sailing downwind into the setting sun with headsails unfurled.  The sails are connected to the wind, and Exit Only is connected to the sea as we slide over the waves heading westward around the world.  I am totally immersed in blue skies and crystal clear water, and I am connected to everything that makes my spirit soar.  I don't need a cell tower to hear the messages that surround me on all sides.  I listen to the sound of the sails and sea, and I know life is good.

I hope I don't get disconnected from my old world; that would be selling my birthright for a bowl of porridge.  I am going to have to come to a new agreement with life.  I already miss being connected to the trade winds, the sea, the stars, porpoises, and pilot whales that I communed with for the past eleven years.  During those years  I didn't have to split my time into anytime minutes, nights, and weekends.  I was connected to everything I loved all the time.  My old world had plain vanilla minutes that worked just fine, they didn't cost anything, and I didn't have to sign a one or two year contract to make it all happen.


I'm sure I will survive the transition into being connected.  After all, I've survived the deep deserts of the Arabian Empty Quarter and Australian outback, and I've survived sailing on the seven seas.  Right now, getting connected is a bit like sailing to windward in forty knots of wind.  It's time to reef my sails, sheet them in, and hang on, because it's going to be a wild ride.


Life is good




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 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



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.


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

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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Blue Water





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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