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Cruising is about focus.

Itís all too easy to focus on the storms of life and worship at the altar of fear.  Itís easy to forget that storms come and go, but dreams can last forever.

In more than thirty-three thousand miles of offshore sailing, we have had winds to fifty knots on only three occasions.  That makes about six days of gale force winds during an eleven year sailing voyage around the world.  I think that our experience is fairly typical for people who do trade wind circumnavigations.  If you stay out of the higher latitudes and donít sail in hurricane season, itís unlikely you will ever encounter a storm that poses a significant threat to your yacht.  Thatís the real world of sailing.

The fear mongers would have us live in a very different world.  This year, they predicted that hurricane season would be one of the worst on record.  There would be more storms and storms of greater severity than at any time in recent history.  Fear makes you tune in to the Weather Channel so that you can listen to their forecasts of doom and gloom.  The Apostles of  Fear would have you believe that we live in a dangerous world, because fear is big business.  Capitalism has embraced fear and wants you to buy their particular antidote to fear.

I am not buying what they are selling. Whether I am on land or sea, I am not afraid, but I am tired of listening to the fear mongers.  I wish they would go away or go silent.  They are boring me with their negative and toxic palaver.

I listened to the fear mongers tell me how dangerous it was to live in the Middle East, and contrary to their prophecies of doom, I lived in Saudi Arabia for sixteen years without a problem.

I listened to the fear mongers tell me about the perfect storm and how dangerous it was to sail the seven seas, and contrary to their predictions, in eleven years, I never sailed in winds over fifty knots.

I listened to the fear mongers tell me that catamarans were dangerous to sail offshore, and I sailed one around the world without a problem.

I have figured out that when people tell me that I should be afraid, they either donít know what they are talking about, they are trying to control me with fear, or they want to sell me something as an antidote to the fearful world that they are trying to cultivate in my mind.

Iíve got my mental ear plugs in, and Iím no longer listening to their gospel of fear.  I wonít let them control the focus of my mind or steal my dreams.

Instead, Iím  focusing on my dreams.  Iím projecting my dreams onto the motion picture screen of my mind so they can expand into my life.  I know that life is good.  I live in the Land of Possibility, and I sail on the ocean of my dreams where there is no limit to how good my life can become.

I have been tested in the crucible of life, and I know the truth.  There is nothing to fear, and focusing on the storms of life is a waste of precious time.  Storms come and go, and they are few and far between.  Dreams are different.  They go on forever.  Thatís why I focus on my dreams.  Thatís why I live as if my dreams are possible and work each day to make them happen.  Thatís why Iím an Unstoppable, Consistently Positive, Endlessly Persistent, Doer of Dreams.


Once upon a time there was an eye surgeon who decided to live his dreams.  His particular dream was to practice medicine in underdeveloped countries and to sail around the world on a yacht.  Such a radical dream meant he would never become rich or famous.  Because this was such an important decision, the surgeon knew that he should spend a large amount of time looking into its pros and cons, and he should closely examine the impact it would have on his life.  Therefore, he totally dedicated five thought-filled minutes to this decision.  Those five liberating minutes were all he needed to start walking on the path to his dreams.

The surgeon now knew where he was going, and what was he was going to do with his life.  But there were still several important lessons he had to learn, and those lessons focused on security, survival, and stuff.

He learned that when you travel on the path to your dreams, there is no such thing as security.  It just doesnít exist, and it makes no sense to worship at the altar of security, because security is a false god.  Life is inherently risky, and the bigger your dreams, the more risk you have to take to make them come true. 

He also learned that in the long run, we are all dead.  Life has no survivors.  Since you only get one life which is far too short, he decided that he should make his life into what he wanted it to be, and that it should count for something good. 

Finally, he learned that no matter how much stuff you accumulate on your journey through life, you canít take any of it with you when you die.  Therefore, he decided to not spend a lot of time and effort in piling up a mountain of money and other acquisitions that would slip instantly from his grasp at the moment of his death.

Once he realized that there was no security, that there were no survivors, and that you canít take it with you, he became a free man.  He was liberated to live his dreams.

Deciding to live my dreams was one of the smartest things I ever did.  Hmm.  Perhaps it wouldnít be a bad idea for you to do the same.

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There is a certain amount of comfort derived from planning your future.  A man with a plan usually goes the distance, and a man without a plan goes nowhere.  There's no doubt about it, you need a plan.  But a plan is much different than a scheduled itinerary.  A plan is a general direction with possible stops along the way and suitable contingencies should problems arise.


Plans are great as long as you don't fall in love with them, and then get stressed out when things don't work out exactly as hoped.  The plan is there to get you going - it helps you overcome the inertia caused by fear, indecision, and ambivalence.  The plan also tells you where to take the next step.  That's how you make dreams come true; you take a series of steps, and each step is in the right direction.


When you live your dreams, you don't need to see far into the distance.  You only need to see where to take the next step.  The same is true when you sail across an ocean.


While we were sitting in Gibraltar preparing to cross the Atlantic, we knew we had to take three giant steps.  The first was eight hundred miles southwest to the Canary Islands.  The second was seven-hundred and fifty miles southwest to the Cape Verde Islands.  The third was two-thousand one hundred miles west to Barbados in the Caribbean.  Each of these steps consisted of smaller ones that we took each day in the right direction - one day at a time, one step at a time.


The giant step from the Cape Verdes to Barbados required more than two weeks because there were no trade winds during the first half of the trip.  It was mostly motoring or slow sailing in light northeasterly breezes. 


We had a plan, and worked our plan.  We carried twelve jerry cans of fuel because we knew this was a windless year in the eastern Atlantic.  There was a high probability we would need a large amount of fuel to make it to longitude forty degrees west where reliable trade winds made their appearance.  That meant we needed to carry enough fuel to motor one-thousand windless miles.


People who didn't have enough fuel drifted west under spinnaker and light air sails making sixty miles a day toward their destination. One boat was at sea for nineteen days and still had one-thousand three hundred and fifty miles to go before arriving in the Caribbean.


If sailors could see into the future, they could always leave port with favorable winds that would continue all the way to their next port.  Sailing would be a waiting game in which they sailed only when conditions were perfect.  That's exactly what many sailors attempt to do; they take a trip to fantasyland downloading weather files that purport to predict wind direction and speed one week in advance.   Actually these files should be called computer generated wind fantasies because the predicted winds frequently don't materialize.


It would be great if long range weather predictions were accurate.  Then crossing an ocean would be like catching a train on schedule and riding it to your destination.  But that's not the way you sail across oceans.  Weather predictions are generally accurate one or two days in advance, but beyond that they are a trip to fantasy land.  They make excellent fodder for feeding endless speculation regarding what your weather might be on passage.  But highs and lows, fronts and troughs, and tropical waves and hurricanes are all chaotic in their behavior, and therefore, unpredictable.


Mariners must accept the chaotic nature of weather and set off with a sea chest full of contingencies - ready to deal with the meteorological mysteries that unfold along the way.  After all, they are a sailboat, and sail they must.  Port tacks, starboard tacks, beating, reaching, and running are all in their bag of sailing tricks.  And if they use their common sense, they will arrive at their destination earlier or later than planned, but they will arrive, and it will be an adventure.  And that is why  they sail.  Adventure.


Arriving is a great reward giving a sense of accomplishment.  But the voyage is even more important, because in the voyage lies the adventure.  When they are finally in safe harbor, the biggest part of the adventure is over.  They will enjoy their time in port, checking out the sights and renewing acquaintances with fellow cruisers for a week or two. There will be plenty of time to discuss their adventures with their friends until they pull up their anchors, raise their sails, and a new adventure begins.




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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