Travel

Red Sea Sail: The movie

David Abbott has sailed around the world, and now the Lexington man wants to share his travels with landlubbers.

He recently finished a documentary-style DVD about the Red Sea portion of the circumnavigation that he and his family completed in 2006.

The film, Maxing Out: Red Sea Chronicles, captures Abbott and his family on numerous adventures, including shopping the spice markets of Salalah, Oman; riding out a sandstorm near the East African nation of Eritrea; exploring remote desert islands and underwater reefs in Sudan; touring temples and pyramids in Egypt; and sailing through the Suez Canal.

Abbott said he intended for the video to appeal to cruising buffs and to people who will never set foot on a sailboat.

"I wanted people who've never sailed a day in their life to go," he said. "That was worth my time."

David Abbott; his parents, Donna and Dave Abbott, who are originally from Central Kentucky; and his sister, Wendy Flores, began their journeys in 1995.

The family, who had lived overseas for years, left Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and sailed through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand.

In 2004, they decided to complete the second half of the circumnavigation.

"I carried our camera on my shoulder for the next two years," David Abbott said.

Flores stayed home that time but was replaced by David Abbott's fiancée, Sarah, whom he has since wed.

They sailed from Australia across the Indian Ocean, into the Arabian Gulf, up the Red Sea and into the Mediterranean. Then they crossed the Atlantic and sailed up the Caribbean and back to Fort Lauderdale.

Abbott is marketing the DVD, which is 82 minutes long with an additional 45 minutes of special features, on the Web site that his family used to chronicle their experiences, www.maxingout.com.

The film also is available on Amazon.com and on the Web site of Latitudes and Attitudes, a television show and magazine focused on the sailing lifestyle. The TV show, which airs on the Untamed Sports TV network, has bought some clips, David Abbott said.

"Doors have been slowly opening," he said.

Abbott, who holds a media degree from Asbury College, did all the production work on the film, from editing to narration.

He said it took him a year and a half to complete the film.

"There's a reason why they have teams of people do this," he said, grinning.

Cruising enthusiasts have begun self-producing and marketing films more frequently in recent years, said Sue Morgan, editor of Latitudes and Attitudes magazine.

She said many of those people are chronicling their trips with blogs and Web sites, and they see DVDs as a way to help finance further travel.

The market for such DVDs is limited, Morgan said, but there is interest out there. The Latitudes and Attitudes television show is in its fourth season, and the magazine has a distribution of about 55,000.

"Most of them are wannabe cruisers," Morgan said.

Abbott said he decided to focus on the Red Sea leg of the circumnavigation because he doesn't know of other cruising DVDs about that part of the world.

He has enough material to produce DVDs on Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the crossing from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, but he's unsure whether he will do a series because of the time required.

He also wrote and recorded all the background music for the DVD. The soundtrack includes Abbott's performances on drums, guitar, harmonica and bass, as well as vocals.

"It was exciting to be able to combine the two," he said of his love of music and sailing. "Especially to make a Middle Eastern-flavored soundtrack."

He now has turned his attention to completing a CD with his band, Too Many Drummers. The band hopes to perform at the Icthus Festival in Wilmore in June.

Abbott also plays drums and guitar as part of the music team at Quest Community Church in Lexington.

Sarah Abbott works as a physician assistant for St. Joseph Health System.

David Abbott's parents, Dave and Donna, have stored their catamaran in Florida and are living in Phoenix. Dave works as a traveling eye doctor for the Indian Health Service, a federal program that serves Native Americans and Alaska natives.

These days, David and Sarah Abbott have traded the ocean for Cave Run Lake.

They have an 18-foot sailboat stored in the barn behind their house, and whenever they can, "we get out there and just blast around the lake," David Abbott said.

And their swashbuckling days are not over.

They say there are too many adventures left for them to give up the high seas for good.

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