Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Crew Comments from Mahina Tiare III


Crew Comments From 2016 Legs

I joined Mahina having six months of full-time cruising under my belt on my Hylas 54, Genevieve. I arrived with a long list of disparate questions about all kinds of things that I wanted and needed to know, ranging from minutiae to broad stroke topics: essential engine care, storm preparation, communication options at sea, winch maintenance, how to safely go name but a few. I left Mahina with all my questions answered, and then some--knowledge and skills that would have taken years to accumulate on my own. John and Amanda have given me a huge push up the never-ending learning curve of offshore cruising. Martin


Crew Comments From 2011 Legs

Leg 1

Thanks for setting such a great example of seamanship, patience and performance under stressful conditions. I don't think there's any other way to learn some of the lessons of this long passage.

I'm sure your patience was tried at times, but much appreciate your "staying with us”. The knowledge, skill and confidence you instilled was invaluable and I'll remember the trip each time I set the sails for years to come.

Leg 2

Learning - overload!
Experience - overload!
Adventure - overload!
Thank you so much for three wonderful weeks!
Pehr & Annika, Sweden

Thank you for the wonderful experiences throughout French Polynesia and the Cook Islands. We have learned so much and our lives are enriched with new friendships and fabulous culture.
Molly & Baxter

Leg 3

Thank you both for teaching me so many new skills to help me with my sailing. The classes and one on-one-training is something I will always remember.
Ed B.

Thanks for all of your tireless energy and enthusiasm. This has been a great adventure!

Leg 4

Thanks for a simply awesome growth experience. This expedition was just the right mix of adventure, learning fun, beauty and friendship for me.

Woo Hoo! Even better than I expected. Never figured I'd feel like I could do an overnight passage, but I did and probably will again.

Leg 5

This has been a journey full of enlightenment, joy, learning, camaraderie, obstacles to overcome, fear and gourmet meals! There are so many memories that I will carry with me for years.

Words cannot describe how much I learned experience and enjoyed. Thank you for the inspirations, patience cuisine and for sharing your world.
Stewie, the Vegemite Kid

This experience has changed my life.

Leg 6

I can't believe how much fun and education you packed into our short time aboard MTIII. We now feel overwhelming excitement about getting our hands on our new Leopard 44. Thank you for the treasured memories and all the new techniques and understandings.

Leg 7

Our aim in coming on this adventure was to realistically experience an ocean passage so that we can be better equipped for our own season of ocean adventures. We have done that and so much more. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. We value you and appreciate your grace and patience throughout the entire voyage.
Greg and Heidi,

Leg 8

Your passion for sailing and sharing your extensive experience is infectious and has truly galvanized both Marie Claude's and my resolve to pursue our own cruising plans with our family.

Thanks so much for your helping me achieve my dream of sailing offshore. It was an amazing and unforgettable sailing adventure!

We took advantage of John Neal's consultancy service as we planned for our retirement dream of owning a cruising sailboat.  John's input regarding possible boat models, equipment to consider, and help with decisions on many aspect of our purchase were invaluable,  as was the practical training we received from John and Amanda during our Pacific cruise with Mahina Expeditions in 2004.  In 2008 we took delivery of our Hallberg-Rassy 43,  Diomedea II,  in our new home port of Sydney, Australia.  As we learn about our local cruising grounds,  weather, sailing conditions and the running of our boat we constantly refer to the notes from John and Amanda's cruising seminar. Their help and counsel has made our transition from dreamers to boat owners a joy.  Our boat has turned out to be all we had hoped for and is perfect for us as we grow in our knowledge and abilities as sailors.

Anne Reeckmann and Gary Holmes, Sydney, Australia.


Comments from our 2007 Crew Members

Thanks for creating such a life changing experience with the opportunity to step off the wild cycle of modern life to reflect on what life is really about. Your generosity of spirit is rare and remarkable. The new friends made were a key contribution to a great six weeks." Richard

"Thanks for exceeding all my expectations. This was an incredible trip with incredible people. You have been great mentors for my cruising dream!" Carolyn

"Transiting the Caledonian Canal, seeing Scapa Flow, sailing across the prime meridian and sailing the Norwegian and Swedish archipelagos were all dreams of mine, now finally fulfilled. Dancing to Swedish rock music, however, was one adventure I never expected!" Ken

"In two weeks of instruction I have learned more than in 12 years of self-taught sailing. One morning, anchored in a small Swedish bay, it felt that as the first day of a new life: free and simple, but full of meaning. I understood that Mahina Tiare was teaching me more than sailing;it was opening a door..." Lydia

Dear John and Amanda
A short note to thank you very much for the wonderful experience you provided for Anne and me. The two weeks were well and truly up to expectation. Anne is already planning for the next one (no joke flag)
Thanks again
Dave and Anne

Swedish Expedition Member Karolina Schulz Takes Delivery of Her New Hallberg-Rassy 40!

Mac Taylor sailed with us from Spitsbergen to Tromso, Leg 3-2001 and he and Catherine joined us on Leg 5-99.

It is exciting that they have explored Denmark and Sweden, sold their house and getting close to ordering a new Nauticat 42 for extended cruising. The most exciting and gratifying part of our business is seeing people realize their dreams of cruising and adventure!

Hi John and Amanda
Glad to see via the satellite that you are back on the water. Catherine and I sold our house, and just returned from a month of sailing in Denmark and Sweden in a Nauticat 39 we chartered. We learned a lot about sailing in countries where we don't speak the language, crowded marinas, rafting up 5 deep, and happy happy Scandanavians on summer vacation. It was a great trip. We also very much appreciate your good teaching which made us confident, and hopefully competent. We visited the Nauticat factory in Turku, and liked the 42 that they are making now. Maybe we'll order one. Best to you both.
Mac Taylor

Leg 1 2000 - Victoria to San Diego

Rose takes delivery of her new Hallberg-Rassy 46 in October 2000 and plans a world circumnavigation with friends in four years when she retires as a Boeing test and delivery pilot.
After years of preparation for an around the world adventure, I signed aboard the Mahina Tiare to test my skills and knowledge. What better way to assess my personal level of preparedness and to get more ideas for my boat than to sail with John and Amanda on the heavy weather leg from Victoria, B.C. to San Diego, California?

It was good to be able to apply my knowledge with gentle coaching from John and Amanda to fine tune the rough edges. I now know what to focus on as I continue along the path of knowledge that leads to safe, fun voyaging.

Rose Loper, Seattle, Washington

Leg 2 2000 San Diego to Acapulco

Thank you again for so much fun, oops I mean a great educational opportunity. For me this voyage means the difference between cruising on the coast and the possibility of venturing out on a passage .We are just beginning our adventure and appreciate your help in making us aware of so much; safety, tools and techniques, and for sharing your home and heart.

It has been great to see that there are friends to make along the way and I appreciate having met some of yours. What a great time we shared!

Vicki Howard, Seattle, Washington
(2nd from right in photo)

Leg 3 2000 Acapulco to Panama

This was probably the most influential learning experience of my life. I found a lot of what I expected and a lot of what I never anticipated. It will take me a long time to assimilate it all. I hope our paths cross again in some remote port.

Jonathan Seaman, Nashville, Tennessee (Jonathon with green fin)


Leg 4 2000 Panama to Tortola

Thanks for your generosity of spirit. Beyond the instruction I've learned a great deal by observing how you both live and work aboard, you show great efficiency in your style. The expedition was great and has provided an open door to further adventures. The highlight for me was the passage to windward, I love the rhythm of boat and crew going around the clock.

Ed Kish, Simi Valley, California


Leg 5 2000 Tortola to Azores

I really appreciated the opportunity to make a major passage.

Tortola to the Azores is a significant achievement!!! I feel that I am much more confident thanks to you both for teaching me the insights.

Rosemary Hamilton, Halifax, Nova Scotia
(2nd on left in photo)


Leg 6 2000 Azores to Ireland

The sailing, food and companionship were great! The weather was just what I had hoped for and the learning curve was high. Thanks for all the gentle tips on sailing at night and for being so organized; so many ideas to carry on to our boat. The expedition truly met and exceeded what I had anticipated.

Linda Frye, Lincolnshire, Illinois
(Linda in center front)


Leg 7 2000 Ireland to Scotland

You lived up to your mission statement 10 fold over!!! Your positive attitude about everything, your sense of how to keep a crew happy, and your superb leadership gave me a whole new understanding of sailing, plus I learned a lot too!!!

Donna Calhoun, New York, New York


Leg 8 2000 Scotland to Sweden

You two have the unique ability to combine business with pleasure on the highest level, and it permeates the entire learning experience.

In spite of Dr Sprocket's Rectum Rockets, I saw my food both coming and going, but managed, with your help, to overcome this distraction to learning.

My fellow students made this expedition complete. Overall a tremendous experience!!

Rolf Forssander, New Orleans, Louisiana

Following the expedition, Rolf checked out his new HR 39 at the HR boatyard which was being shipped to Texas. He and his wife Lisa plan to go on ocean voyages once their daughter is off to college.


Leg 1 1999 Auckland to French Polynesia

Thank you for your hospitality, kindness and understanding. I will never forget the time spent with you guys. My midnight watches with Amanda with huge seas, over 60 knot winds and jasmine tea were the best. You gave us all - perfect weather mixture, true sailing experience and a chance to explore beautiful French Polynesia.

Hope to seen you again!

Mariusz Koper, Poland and Toronto, Canada


Leg 2 1999 French Polynesia

I enjoyed being in this beautiful part of the world to learn about sailing and the cruising life from your generous sharing. Especially liked snorkeling, pink coral sand beaches, warm water, night sailing, Amanda's good cooking and buying pearls.

Many thanks

Peggy Herman, Mercer Island, Washington


Cathy and Siegismund, her partner Ken and boat Felicity.

John & Amanda, I wanted to drop you an email that Ken and I have safely made it to San Diego. Doing the trip with you in March first was a great experience. I had a much better idea what to expect and the trip with you gave me the confidence to bring our boat down the coast with just the 2 of us.

We experienced everything coming down the coast from long motors in pea soup fog to 6+ hours in sustained winds in the high 40s with gusts to the low 50's off Cape Mendocino. It was quite a ride, but our little Tashiba 31 behaved wonderfully, and Ken, that rat didn't take a thing and never was sick once! After my heavy reliance on the sick tubs on MT, I was very worried about getting too worn down with just 2 of us onboard. For future reference, I got a friend in the UK to send me some Stugeron and it's worth it's weight

in gold. I never got sick, wasn't tired, no side affects -- even in our roller coaster ride off N. California. I would strongly recommend it if you can get it. We're finishing up last minute projects and preparing for our trip to Mexico. If weather looks good, we'll be joining the Baja ha ha rally on Tuesday. It looked like you had a great trip to Sweden. Thank you again the wonderful experience and all your patience. Hope all is well, and we'll look for you in the SP.

Cathy & Ken s/v Felicity


Leg 3 1999 Tahiti to Hawaii

Thank you for presenting such an experience of a lifetime. I came with great expectations but left with more than I ever imagined. Not only did I learn a great deal about cruising but what it is to be a crew member, what it takes to get people to work together, and most importantly about myself. I really appreciate having the opportunity to be part of your expedition.

Heikki Kanerva, Finland and Seattle


Leg 4 1999 Hawaii to Canada

What a pleasure it's been. Thank you for a wonderful beginning. While this voyage has come to an end, the skill and confidence we have gained will surely serve us well in our adventures to come. Fair winds and we hope to see you soon.

Jim Haack, Seattle


Leg 6 1999 Petersburg to Queen Charlottes

I have certainly enjoyed the past 2 weeks with you and the "crew". A different climate, new cruising water, interesting stories, all were great. You have given me a real feel for the cruising life - some hard work and organization, maybe it is all worth it. Hope to see you again in Hawaii. Aloha

Diana Forster, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii


Leg 9 1998, Coastal New Zealand

We took the chance, escaped Sweden's winter to join you. We have really learned a lot! You have shown us so much, we've got an insight to cruising over the BIG SEAS! This knowledge will grow in your spirit of always having the security of everybody onboard and the ship as first priority.

Susanne & Lars Johansson, Gothenburg, Sweden


Leg 8 1998, Russell to Auckland, New Zealand

What a great learning adventure! Your leadership and teaching styles have made this cruise a rewarding and enjoyable 10 days that have flown by all too quickly. We enjoyed great friendships with the entire crew!

Dorm and Sandy Anderson, Seattle, WA

In 1999 Dorm and Sandy purchased a previous expedition members HR 39, the minute it returned from Tahiti and are now lanning cruising adventures of their own.


Leg 7 1998 New Caledonia, Norfolk Is., to New Zealand

A spectrum of experiences both emotional and physical, from the depths of despair & believing bluewater cruising was not for me to a determined desire to continue forward and reach my goal of a long-term ocean cruise. John & Amanda have led the way with a sound foundation in offshore cruising. With this base I believe my dreams can come true.

Jim Phillips, Michigan


Leg 6 1998 Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia

Communicating wisdom and insight with patience and good humor is a talent - what a fine learning environment you have created!

Mac Felder, North Carolina


Leg 5 1998 Fiji

Thanks for the engine mechanics, winch maintenance, for letting me go all the way to the top of the mast. Thanks for the patience and repetition and thank you most of all for your confidence in me. I'll always remember this trip.

Ginny Harvey, Woodinville, WA

Ginny and family have outfitted their Amphtrite 43, cruised as far as Alaska in the summer of 2000 and are next sailing for Mexico.


Leg 4 1998 Samoa to Fiji

Wind, stars, long nights on watch while sailing the South Pacific, talking, new friends, new situations, once in a lifetime, that's it!

Martin Striebel, Porto Alegre, Brazil


Leg 3 1998 Rarotonga, Palmerston, Niue, Samoa

This was extremely challenging and rewarding - it's opened a lot of avenues for thought and discussions on selecting a vessel, how and where to cruise, and how to prepare. We also found an untouched tropical island - Niue. A coral gem to which we will return!

Lois Crandall, San Diego, CA


Leg 2 1998 Tahiti to Rarotonga

This was a great learning experience for me, both about ocean sailing and about myself. It was an excellent way to sample ocean sailing while seeing some exotic places and meeting some great new people!

Rick Hill, Bellevue, WA

Rick took delivery of his new HR 36 in 1999 and is cruising northwest waters.


Leg 1 1998 Auckland to Papeete

Thanks for the gales, for the islands, for rolling down the trades, for the triathlon, and for the many things you taught me. This was the real ocean cruising I wanted, plus fun in some exotic islands. I also really enjoyed the other crew. Sorry about my cooking.

Brian Knowles

Morris West says it best, "We are all children still who, even at the gates of midnight dream of sunrise."- The Navigator.

Thanks for helping me realize my dreams.

Carolyn Aaronson

Carolyn went on to become first mate on a mega yacht voyaging from Mexico through the South Pacific.


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