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During Gulf War One, we were hunkered down in Saudi Arabia playing Riyadh roulette.  Nearly every night after the sun went down, the air raid sirens would sound, and Scud missiles came into Riyadh.  We would head for our "safe room" just in case one of the scuds hit nearby.  The first scud that came into Riyadh made the windows in our house rattle, and that was enough motivation for us to take a six week vacation from the war.  After eleven nights of scuds, we were evacuated out of Riyadh to Torrejon, Spain by military aircraft.  From Torrejon, we flew on commercial aircraft back to the USA.

Things have a way of working out in my life.  I explain it to people like this: it's as if I fall through a trap door backward and blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back, and I land on my feet and keep on walking.  That's exactly what happened to us when we arrived in the USA. We took a war and converted it into a family adventure.  It was time for the Miami Boat Show, and we made tracks to Miami Beach to troop the docks.

We checked out the multihulls at the boat show, and we found a spacious Privilege 39 catamaran.  We inspected every nook and cranny on board and immediately sensed that we were on the threshold of a new adventure.  This sea going catamaran looked totally bullet proof, it was certified for offshore voyaging, and we knew that it was up to the task of taking a family of four around the world.

When we left the boat show, I had a clear picture in my mind of us sailing around the world in a Privilege 39 catamaran.  I had never sailed on multihulls before, so I chartered a Privilege 39 in the British Virgin Islands to see what it would be like to cruise on a cat.  For an entire week, we sailed through the BVI, shooting video and taking photos of our short adventure.

When we returned to Riyadh, I looked at that video footage hundreds of times visualizing what it would be like to circumnavigate in a Privilege 39.  I finally took a leap of faith and ordered a new Privilege 39 from the factory in France.  I committed myself to step out in the direction of my dreams regardless of the consequences.

After I ordered the catamaran, I continued working in Riyadh for another year to finish paying it off.  Then I quit my job and set sail on the ocean of my dreams.

First I thought about buying a catamaran, and then I did it.

First I thought about sailing around the world, and then I did it.

That's the way adventures happen.  First you think it, and then you do it.

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I have a confession to make.  I am addicted to downwind sailing.  I have persistent, unremitting, constant, unrelenting downwind dreams that will not go away.

To my knowledge, there is only one way to treat this addiction.  You have to purchase a cruising sailboat and sail downwind on the ocean of your dreams.

As a physician, I have seen many destructive addictions ruin the lives of countless victims.  I have seen more lives destroyed by alcohol than any other drug.  It's a slow and painful addiction that usually takes years to destroy a life.  Now that I am back in the USA, I have been seeing patients addicted to methamphetamine, which requires only a year, maybe two, to destroy a life.  One dose of meth, and you are addicted, and in a couple of years you are dead.  It blows me away to see lives ruined by drugs.

So, are their any positive addictions out there?  You bet.  Once you get trade wind sailing into your blood, it will change your life forever.  Furthermore, every day of trade wind sailing adds days, weeks, maybe even years to your life.  Its salubrious effect gets your endorphins flowing, and you experience a natural high.  It puts a smile on your face, and you know that life is good.

If you allow this addiction to take over, your life becomes an awesome adventure.  You point the bow of your boat in a westward direction, and before you know it, you will have sailed in the trade winds all the way around the world.

I am not a drug dealer, but  I am a dealer in dreams.  So take my advice.  Try it.  You'll like it.

There's no limit to how good your life can become when you sail down wind on the ocean of your dreams.


This is the anchorage at Lizard Island.  We spent several days here as we sailed in the wake of Captain Cook along the Ozzie coast.  Here is the story of Captain Cook and Lizard Island.

Captain Cook almost lost his ship, the Endeavor, as he sailed up the Australian coast inside the Great Barrier Reef.  He was exploring uncharted waters, and on 10 June, 1770 he ran out of luck when the Endeavor struck a reef.  The reef rose steeply from the seabed and was undetectable until it was too late. The ship started taking on water and was in danger of sinking.  On the positive side, the Endeavor struck the reef at high tide, and that meant there was time to deal with the breach in the hull as the tide went out.  Cook's crew lightened ship by throwing heavy canons and stores overboard, so that when high tide returned they might be able to float off the reef. They manned their emergency pumps, and created a type of collision mat to put on the outside of the hull to stem the leak.  They ran out kedge anchors, and worked furiously to prepare to refloat Endeavor at high tide.  All of the work paid off, because eventually they kedged off the reef and their temporary hull patch controlled the flow of water so they did not sink.

After they escaped from the reef, they sailed north to the mouth of a large river where they careened their ship and made repairs.  It turned out that in spite of their bad luck, good fortune had smiled on the Endeavor because a large fist sized piece of coral had penetrated the hull and lodged in the hole, sealing the breach to a significant degree.  If the coral hadn't lodged in the hull, it 's likely the Endeavor would have sunk.

After completing repairs, Cook sailed north searching for an opening that would let him navigate eastward  through reef strewn waters and back into the Coral Sea.  Unfortunately, Cook didnít know how far north the Great Barrier Reef extended since he was voyaging in uncharted waters.  It turned out that the reef is nearly 1200 miles long.  In addition, ships like the Endeavor did not sail well to windward, and to escape, Captain Cook needed to sail against the prevailing trade winds.

As he continued north along the Ozzie coast, he finally came to Lizard Island which turned out to be his salvation.  Lizard has a good anchorage, and best of all, it's high enough to give an excellent view of the reef  for miles in all directions.  He spent a couple of hours climbing to the top of Lizard, and when he surveyed the reef to the east, to his great relief, he found a break in the reef through which he could safely take his ship.  All he had to do was wait for good weather and a favorable wind, and he would escape the clutches of the Great Barrier Reef.

When you climb to the top of the island today, a monument points your eyes in the direction of Cookís passage through the reef.  Take your binoculars to the top of the hill in the afternoon, and with the sun to your back, you will easily see Cook's escape route.  If you want to sail in the wake of Captain Cook, just sail through the break in the reef as you  head out into the Coral Sea on your own voyage of discovery.

Sailing in the wake of explorers like Captain Cook encourages me to live my dreams.  Captain Cook had no end to adversity in his life, but he always did what the had to do as he sailed on the ocean of his dreams.

You and I are just like Captain Cook.  If we are going to live our dreams, there will be no end to adversity in our lives.  We may as well expect it and get used to it.  There's a hundred percent chance that we are going to hit a few reefs, and we will need to make emergency repairs more than once as we navigate through our life.  But that's ok.  After all, we are on a voyage of discovery, and we are sailing in uncharted waters.  If we live as if our dreams are possible and work each day to make them happen, we will find an opening in our barrier reefs, and before long, we will be sailing downwind on the ocean of our dreams.


For the past thirty years, I have had Trade Wind Dreams.  I'm not sure when they started.  Perhaps it all began when I was in college, and I read in National Geographic of the adventures of the sixteen year old circumnavigator Robin Lee Graham who took four years to sail single-handed around the world.  No doubt that started me thinking about sailing around the world - circumnavigating the globe in a yacht is one of the final frontiers still available and affordable to the common man.  It planted an idea in my mind requiring nearly half a life time to take root and fully blossom.


I started reading sailing magazines when I was in medical school, and that stoked the fire of desire, but as yet I had never gone sailing or even set my foot on a sailboat.  By the time I graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine, I was ready for a major life change, and my internship gave me the opportunity to make that change.  I selected an internship at Gorgas Hospital in the Panama Canal Zone.  This was the perfect place to fan the flames of sailing desire into a burning passion.  Every cruiser who sailed around the world had to pass through the Panama Canal unless they went south around Cape Horn to get around South America. 


During that internship year, I saw hundreds of cruisers transiting the canal, and I discovered that the majority of them were ordinary people with extraordinary dreams.  Although most of them lived on a tight budget, it didn't stop them from living their trade wind dreams.


It was there I went sailing for the first time with my good friend, Dr. Tom Walker and his wife Bette Lee.  There were relatively novice sailors at the time, but they had a boat and cruising dreams as well.  They took me out on their schooner, and I was hooked.  My trade wind dreams became a life long obsession.


In Panama I purchased my own small twenty-two foot sailboat and learned how to sail.  Unfortunately, my boat healed up to thirty degrees when I sailed to windward, and my wife and I discovered that sailing on an angle was tiring, wet, and sometimes scary.  At the same time, we met a new breed of sailors voyaging on homebuilt catamarans and trimarans. Some of these do it yourself multihulls looked like they were built by amateurs, but others were well designed and beautifully finished, and they sailed flat and fast, perfect for trade wind dreams.


Toward the end of my internship, I told my friend Tom that someday I would sail around the world on a multihull.  That is one of the few prophecies in my life that I got right, but then even a stopped clock is right twice a day, so I not going to get a big head over predicting a multihull circumnavigation that happened thirty years later.


From that point on, for the next three decades, trade wind dreams dominated my life.  Those dreams were put on hold while I was doing an ophthalmology residency and becoming a board certified ophthalmologist at the University of Kentucky.  Nevertheless, even in land-locked Kentucky, I had a twenty-two foot trailerable sailboat that I used on weekends, and that helped keep my trade wind dreams alive.


Once I was a fully qualified eye surgeon, I called up the Navy to see if they could help me with my trade wind dreams.  I told them if they gave me an assignment at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Puerto Rico, I would join the navy.  They agreed to the proposal, and I spent the next five years working and sailing in Puerto Rico.  I even purchased my dream ship, a Westsail 32 Colin Archer heavy displacement yacht.  It was built for the trades, and gave me the opportunity to gain more experience in trade wind voyaging.  When the Caribbean winds were cranked up and blowing hard, I could run downwind at eight knots in my dreamboat. My five years in Puerto Rico kept my trade winds dreams burning bright..


After those five years in the navy, I faced a major choice.  Go cruising with my wife and two young children, living and sailing on a shoestring, or shift gears and go to work in Saudi Arabia.  I put my cruising dreams on hold, performed a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery, and then spent the next eleven years working as a retinal surgeon at King Khalid Eye Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  Eleven years in Riyadh did not snuff out my cruising dreams.  Instead, I used those years to increase my navigational skills while traveling in remote sections of the Arabian desert.  I used a bubble aircraft sextant to take star sights, noon sights, and moon sights out in the desert.  I became comfortable navigating through a sea of sand so that one day I could confidently navigate the seven seas as I lived my trade wind dreams.


In 1991, the Gulf War rearranged my life.  For the first ten days of the war, skud missles rained down on Riyadh every night as soon as the sun went down.  The thunder of exploding skuds made our windows rattle, and it seemed like a good time to take a six week vacation.  After eleven nights of Riyadh roulette, we bailed out of town on an evacuation flight to Torrejon, Spain, and then on to the USA.  As serendipity would have it, the Miami boat show was in session, and we drove to Miami and attended the show.


I couldn't believe my eyes when I trooped the docks at the boat show.  Right before my eyes there were cruising catamarans on display, and it was love at first sight.  The biggest boat in the show was a Privilege 39 catamaran that was thirty-nine feet five inches long and twenty one feet wide.  It was a mind boggling trade wind dream machine, and  I could see myself sailing around the world in this powerful catamaran.


Now I knew what I had to do.  I flew back to Riyadh, saved my money, and ordered a Privilege 39 catamaran.  Two years later I put my family on board Exit Only and we started our sailing voyage around the world.  When I left Riyadh, I left with an exit only visa in my passport - an exit only visa is like a one way ticket.  It means you are leaving and not coming back because you are moving on to other things.  That's why we named our catamaran Exit Only.  We were exit only and we were sailing our trade wind dreams around the world.  And it's been an awesome adventure.


We visited more than thirty-two countries as we sailed on an eleven year circumnavigation of the globe.  We sailed in the trade winds across the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. 


The picture (above) shows our trade wind cruising rig.  It consists of  twin headsails poled out to port and starboard with eighteen foot spinnaker poles.  We can run our double headsail rig for weeks at a time.  Our autopilot steers the boat effortlessly day after day, and we get to enjoy the ride.  We sailed in the wake of Columbus, Magellan, and Captain Cook as we imagined what it was like to circle the globe hundreds of years ago in square riggers as they lived their trade wind dreams.


Trade wind dreams have been around for a long time.  The worked for me, and they will work for you.  Give it some thought.  Maybe you might get infected with the trade winds virus, and before you know it, you'll be on your way, sailing downwind around the world.  Trade wind dreams never die.





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 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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