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The thought of sailing at night frightened me until I actually did it.  I never sailed offshore at night before I started our circumnavigation.  Daytime sailing wasn't a problem; it was nocturnal hobgoblins that stirred up fear.

When we were children, one of the first fears we conquered was fear of the dark.  Nevertheless, people who haven't been afraid of the dark for fifty years sometimes go catatonic when they sail offshore at night.  They simply can't bear the thought of sailing into the inky blackness.

For those of you overwhelmed by fear, there's good news.  Sailing at night is easier and more comfortable than sailing in the day - at least that's the way it is on Exit Only, and here's some reasons why.

1.  It dark outside, and it's easier to fall asleep when you're off watch.

2.  Your bunk is cooler after the hot tropical sun goes down,  You might even need to use a sheet to keep warm.

3.  We slow the boat down at night so the ride is more comfortable.  There's less bouncing around to cope
     with than in the daytime when we sail with more intensity.

4.  We reduce our sail before sunset.  We don't go on deck at night to raise or lower the main.  When the
     sun goes down, we put one or two reefs in the mainsail.  Safety is our number one priority on Exit Only,
     and even with reduced sail area at night, we still get our 150 miles per day.  On Exit Only, when the sun
     goes down, the main goes down, and when the sun comes up, the main goes up.  It's safe, it's sensible,
     and it's comfortable.  After all, we aren't racing through paradise.

5.  It's easy to see navigation lights from oncoming ships when you check around the horizon.  It's much
     easier to detect ships at night than in the daytime.  Their lights warn you of their presence.  Our closest
     encounters with shipping always occur in the daytime when ships sometimes blend in with the horizon. 
     At night, their lights pierce the darkness, and it's easier to detect their presence.

6.  Navigation lights quickly reveal whether a ship is coming directly at us or will pass by at a safe distance.
     When I first sailed at night, I found the different patterns of navigation lights to be confusing.  I tried to
     memorize all the different patterns of navigation lights like I was preparing for a test in medical school. 
     Fortunately, I quickly discovered that ships have fore and aft white steaming lights that instantly tell me
     whether I am in harm's way.  If the fore and aft lights are vertically aligned with each other, then the
     ship is coming directly toward me.  If the white lights are vertically separated, then the ship will pass
     safely to one side.  The red and green running lights are much more difficult to see than the white lights,
     and I can see the white lights farther off.  That gives me more time to change course if the white steaming
     lights are vertically aligned.  In the day time, there are no lights to see, and it's harder to tell the ships
     course using only my eyes.  In daylight, I may need to turn on the radar to see if a ship is coming down an
     estimated bearing line on a collision course.

7.  Night vision binoculars let you see the loom of lights from ships even before they come over the horizon
     If the weather is bad or if there is substantial haze, we may use our night vision binoculars to detect ship's
     lights at night.  The light amplification available with night vision binoculars mean that during the night you
     may be able to detect ships easier and farther away than you could in the same conditions during the

8   We run radar at night to track squalls and monitor nearby shipping.  You can easily detect rain
     squalls and follow shipping in your small patch of paradise.  Radar levels the playing field and keeps you
     honest.  In the daytime you sometimes rely on your eyeballs when you should rely on your radar.  At night,
     we turn on the radar when there is reduced visibility or squally weather.  The radar makes us more aware
     of our surroundings and keeps us out of denial.  If there's something out there on radar, we deal with it.

9.  After sunset, we view a DVD and eat popcorn as a family activity before night watches start in earnest
     Rather than dreading the darkness, we look forward to a couple of hours of entertainment  after the sun
     goes down.

10. Our night watches are civilized.  The most sleepy person climbs in his/her bunk and instantly falls
      asleep.  The person who is the most awake and alert takes watch until he becomes sleepy, and then he
      wakes up a rested crew member to assume watch.

Sailing offshore at night is both restful and safe.  Give offshore night sailing a try.  It's safer than you think, and you might even enjoy it.

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Landlubbers often ask, "When are you coming home?"  What they really mean is, "When are you going to buy a house, settle down, and live like most other people?"  Although this is a fair question, it overlooks the obvious.  Real ocean cruisers are already home because their boat is their home.

Most ocean cruisers are middle class people who sold their house so they could purchase a boat.  They simply traded a terrestrial home for an aquatic one.

Sailors have homes just like landlubbers.  The big difference is that a cruiser's home moves around, sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot.  It doesn't matter whether the anchor is down or the sails are up, a real ocean cruiser is still at home.  Every day that I sailed on my yacht - 33,000 miles around the world - I always felt like I was home.  Sometimes my home was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and at other times it was in Australia, Thailand, the Caribbean, or hundreds of other destinations. No matter where I was, as long as I was on my yacht, I was already home.

Yachts are an excellent way to travel because they permit you to take your home with you.  There's no need for mountains of luggage or expensive hotels.  You simply need a bay in which to drop your anchor.

When I flew around the world by air, never once in the month long trip did I feel like I was home.  Airplanes, airports, and hotels never feel like home.  Contrast that with my sailing voyage around the globe.  For eleven years I sailed the high seas, and every single day and in every destination, I felt like I was home.

When you talk to sailors who cruise full time, most of them will tell you the same thing.  Their yacht is their home.  Although some cruisers can afford a house and a yacht at the same time, usually their house is rented to produce income, and their home is on the yacht.

Cruisers have a special understanding of the old saying, "Home is where the heart is."  They made a choice to move their home from land to sea, and it was a decision of the heart.  They did it because that was what they wanted to do.

So when exactly will cruisers come home?  When will they move their home back from the sea to land?


The answer is simple.  When land is where their heart is, they will do it.  They will step off their small ship onto dry land, start a new life, and make a new home.




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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