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You are never safe from negation.  Unchecked negativity can rapidly flush the achievements of a lifetime down the drain.  Negativity is an ever present and unwanted companion that continually invites you to abandon your dreams.

Everyone moving in the direction of their dreams will suffer defeats and sometimes feel their dreams are impossible.  Negativity will attempt to derail them on the path of achievement, and the temptation to quit will be strong.  Everyone wants life to be easy.  They want either no opposition at all or opposition to politely step out of the way as they move toward their goals.  This is unrealistic.  People who achieve their dreams arenít strolling through life; they are climbing the mountain of difficulty, and hard work and perseverance are the only way to reach the top.

If you ever reach your dreams, it will be because you stopped listening to the voice of fear and negation.  You stopped looking at your limitations and stopped constructing barriers that exist only in your mind.

When you decide to sail around the world on a sailboat, you encounter an ocean of opposition.  A crowd of naysayers and critics freely offer unsolicited opinions and advice concerning your proposed circumnavigation of the globe.  Friends are sure you are having a midlife crisis.  When you write the check to pay for your yacht, they inform you that you have made a down payment on an expensive funeral at sea.  They tell you all of that money could have been spent on a nice house, 100 channels of cable television, and the help of a good therapist to get you over this foolish desire to sail around the world.  The easiest thing to find on planet earth is someone to tell you why your dreams are too expensive, too dangerous, and a waste of time.  With cheerleaders like that, itís amazing anyone pursues their dreams.

Itís not just family and friends who question your judgment.  During moments of adversity, you wonder whether you are heading down a one way street in the wrong direction.  The voice of fear starts a powerful negative chorus that repeats itself thousands of time, and if you start listening to its message, your dreams will evaporate.

What would happen if you fall off the boat at night at sea?  What happens if a whale rams your boat?  What happens if you hit a floating log, or if a ship runs you down at night?  What happens if a hurricane strikes?  What happens if you meet pirates or drug runners?  What if your boat is struck by lightening?  What if your boat runs up on a reef and is destroyed on a remote deserted island?  What if you get sick when you are at sea?  What if you have appendicitis when you are one thousand miles from land?  What if you hit your head or break a leg?  What if your boat turns upside down?  What if there is a fire or explosion on board?  What if you collide at night with a floating container that has fallen off a ship?  What if you become seasick?  Who will stay awake at night and stand watch while you sail offshore?  What if your boat sinks and you lose all of the money you invested in the yacht?  What if you loose your medical skills while you sail around the world?  How will you ever be able to return to the practice of medicine? 

I experienced all of these negative thoughts many times before I purchased my yacht.  Those thoughts could have stopped my voyage before it got started.  My dreams would have been stillborn if I listened to the voice of fear.

If I listed all of the reasons why I shouldnít sail around the world in a small sailboat, I could write a hundred page document full of disaster, difficulty, and despair.  I know dozens of reasons why my dreams are too expensive and involve too much risk.  If I listen to the voice of fear and negativity, I will sit at the dock and watch everyone else sail on the ocean of their dreams.

Once I hoisted my sails in Fort Lauderdale and started my voyage, I had dozens of opportunities for negativity to sink the ship of my dreams.  On my first night at sea, I experienced the most powerful thunderstorm I encountered on the entire trip around the world.  Surely, that must have been a sign sailing around the world is a bad idea.  It was a message to stop the voyage in the Bahamas, anchor the boat in Chicken Town, and check in to Hotel California where I could never leave, but at least I would be safe.

When I reached the Panama Canal, the voice of fear again tried to cancel my dream of sailing around the world.  There is no need to transit the Panama Canal and sail in the Pacific.  Just stay in the Caribbean and have a wonderful cruise.  The Pacific Ocean is a vast body of water with reefs, cyclones, and killer whales that could destroy my yacht.  The voice of fear told me to stay in the Caribbean forever.

After I arrived in the Pacific, the voice of fear started a new verse with the same fearful chorus.  Itís three thousand miles from the Galapagos Islands to French Polynesia.  You are at sea day and night for three weeks.  You donít see any other humans for twenty-one days, and thereís no one to rescue you if you get into trouble.  Donít go.  Stay in Nowhere Land where youíll be safe.

After I arrived in French Polynesia, the voice of fear said to skip sailing to the Tuamotu Archipelago.  You will hit a reef as you sail through the atolls.  The passes through the reefs into the lagoons are too small, and once inside you will be trapped.  A storm could easily destroy your yacht when itís inside a potentially treacherous lagoon.  Sailing in the Tuamotus involves high risk.  Skip them and sail directly to Tahiti.

After I sailed across the Pacific Ocean, it was necessary to sail twelve hundred miles south from Fiji to New Zealand.  Itís a big trip into higher latitudes and the voice of fear again rippled through the cruising fleet.  The talk was of storms with special emphasis on the recent Queenís Birthday storm in which lives and yachts were lost.  Sailing in the higher southern latitudes presented new and unfamiliar risks.  The voice of fear filled everyone with a sense of foreboding.  Sailing to and from New Zealand is scary.  Some mariners left their yachts in storage in Fiji to avoid the sail south.  Other sailors loaded their yachts on freighters and shipped them home.

Several weeks after I arrived in New Zealand, I rolled the car I was driving.  I broke both legs, fractured five ribs, punctured one lung and had internal bleeding.  I was transfused seven units of blood, had three surgeries, and spent two months in the hospital.  Surely, this disaster proved sailing around the world was a bad idea.  The sensible thing would be to sell the yacht, buy a plane ticket to Nowhere Land, and start watching cable television where I would be safe and secure for the rest of my life.

Negativity can overtake you anywhere on the path to your dreams.  I could have stopped my trip around the world a dozen times before I reached New Zealand.  Surrendering dreams is easy.  You can do it anywhere or anytime.  Most people will tell you that you are doing the right thing when you sell your dream machine and join the ranks of the Life Long Disoriented.

Negativity is a stalker that never goes away; itís your unfailing and unwanted companion eternally inviting you to abandon your dreams.

Negativity is a dream stealer.  Don't listen to the voice of negativity.  Instead, listen to the sound of your dreams.

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Clouds are a sailor's friend.  As long as there are clouds in the sky, you have a good idea about the type of sailing conditions you will experience for the next couple of hours.  They won't necessarily tell you what's going to happen tomorrow or the day after, but if if you listen to what they say, it's not too hard to stay out of harms way when you are sailing offshore.

Clouds start at the sea surface extending up to eighteen-thousand feet, and when you look at them, you can figure out what's happening to the wind at different altitudes.  High cirrus clouds tell you what's going on in the upper levels, and trade wind cumuli tell you what's happening at the lower levels.  When you look at their speed and direction of movement, you discover what the winds are doing at your location.

Clouds aren't static.  Their size and shape continually change throughout the day.  Trade wind cumuli increase in size and height until late in the day.  As the sun sets you can watch them shrink as they literally melt away in front of your eyes.

Thunderstorms announce their presence as vertically developed cumulus clouds that go all the way to eighteen-thousand feet, and they usually do it long before lightning and thunder make their appearance.  When clouds are taller than they are wide, you have a condition called vertical development.  When you are sailing offshore, you always look to see how much vertical development there is in the cumulus clouds, because you know it's highly unlikely to have thunder and lightning with associated squalls unless there is significant vertical development.

It's easy to avoid thunderstorms and squalls, because you can see them forming and alter your course to avoid them.  There's no need to be pummeled by fierce downdrafts of forty to sixty knots; you simply sail away from them or around them.   I usually don't get caught by squalls and thunderstorms unless I am not paying attention to the clouds, or if I am at anchor, and there's nothing I can do to avoid them because I am stationary.

Paying attention to clouds isn't rocket science, and you don't need an advanced degree in meteorology to use clouds to your benefit.  You simply need to pay attention to what is going on around you.

In thirty-three thousand miles of sailing I have been in squalls quite a few times, and I can't remember a single instance in which I was caught off guard with too much sail up because I pay attention to what the clouds are saying.  I am careful to not be over-canvassed, because blowing out sails and loosing a mast in high winds is expensive and dangerous.  I sail in damage control mode most of the time, and that means fear is not a member of our crew.


The sailing photo at the top of the page shows Exit Only confidently motor-sailing into the sunset.  The low level cumulus clouds are breaking up as the sun sets over the horizon.  Those clouds tell me it's going to be a quiet night at sea, and I feel good.



This photo is a fully developed example of "red sky at night, sailor's delight."  A red sky in the evening usually means the weather is going to be relatively benign during the night.  It will be a "no worries mate evening," and that's reassuring because there are lots of clouds in the sky.

Even when the sky looks ugly with billowing cumulonimbus clouds on the horizon and black squalls heading your way, you have plenty of time to prepare for the onslaught.  Thunderstorms don't last forever, and squalls pass quickly by.  If you listen to what the clouds are saying, you will handle these meteorological inconveniences in stride.  You will reduce your sail to a safe level until the tempest is over.

The real problem isn't the wind and waves.  It's the storm of thoughts blowing though your mind that gets you into trouble.  If you listen to the voice of fear, your sailing adventure becomes a nightmare.  But if you listen to the clouds, you will recognize the voice of fear for the imposter that it is.  People who sail offshore in a well-found yacht have little to fear from the weather ninety-eight percent of the time, and the clouds usually tell you what to do.

The clouds are your friends, and if you listen to what they say, your life will be good as you sail on the ocean of your dreams.




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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