Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ's
What level of experience do I need to join an expedition?
As our focus is teaching ocean passage making skills, we require that you have prior sailing experience and know that you enjoy sailing. We do not expect you to be an expert sailor but we strongly recommend you complete a coastal navigation course. If you have questions regarding your present skill level, please contact us.
I plan to go cruising on my own boat. Will my specific learning goals for ocean voyaging will be met?
Our organized teaching program includes 3–6 hours per day of instruction. Each topic we teach is clearly documented in our 116-page Expedition Companion that includes checklists, forms, guidelines and procedures that can be applied specifically to your boat. We have written tests after each topic covered to ensure you are retaining the information presented.
What are the most important traits you look for in an applicant?
Eagerness to learn, thoughtfulness, ability to compromise, respect and consideration, sense of
humor and ability to put safety of boat and crew first are far more important than sailing skills.
How can I prepare for an expedition?
Complete a coastal navigation course. www.nauticed.org has excellent on-line training courses on several topics besides navigation. This is very important.
Learn to stay hydrated as hydration is a key to minimizing seasickness and fatigue.
Improve your swimming skills if you aren’t already a strong swimmer. Consider taking up yoga.
Learn to be flexible and keep an open mind.
I’ve noticed that you are very specific in asking about physical condition and exercise program of applicants. Is being in good shape that important?
It is! Ocean voyaging is more physically demanding than most people expect, even on a large, modern and comfortable boat. Expedition members frequently tell us they wished they had taken the time to exercise daily before joining us. We’ve learned that people who exercise 20-40 minutes per day, six times a week, are far better at handling ocean sailing conditions than those who don’t. Swimming and yoga are among the best possible exercises in preparation for ocean voyaging. Details here: http://www.mahina.com/fitforlife.pdf.
I’m a woman, and on many of the boats I’ve sailed on my partner or another man insists on “helping me” by handling the sheets and sails. Will this happen on Mahina Tiare?
Never! In fact, we don’t put couples on watch together so that individual learning and participation occurs. Amanda has coached and trained women sailing teams at an international level and will make sure that your learning goals are met. This is very important to us.
Where do most of your expedition members come from? What type of people are they?
Expedition members have joined us from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Denmark, England, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Oman, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. They share a common interest in learning everything possible about ocean voyaging while exploring new islands and countries. Many lasting friendships have formed during expeditions and we are honored to have the return of many crewmembers.
Is it crowded with six students and two instructors on a 48’ boat?
No, as we had the interior designed specifically for these expeditions. While underway at least two people are on deck duty watch. Headroom is 6’6” and berths are 6’6” to 6’8” in length.
What are the duties aboard?
Our daily revolving duty roster includes captain, navigator, galley assistant, weather briefer, cockpit, interior, and head cleaning. Our goal is for you to understand exactly what is involved in shipboard life so you can run your boat safely and expeditiously while ocean voyaging.
What length of watches will I be standing?
You’ll stand watch with another expedition member for two hours on and an average of four hours off, hand-steering in 30 minute intervals. The watch schedule is designed to provide variety and a realistic view of watch standing. The watch schedule changes weekly.
What are my watch duties?
Hand steering, navigating, lookout, trimming sails, checking the radar, AIS, and log entries.
Will I be able to communicate with friends or family during the expedition?
Yes, and the easiest way is via your phone when we are in port. When on passage email through our satellite system is slow and expensive; $40 for each message sent or received.
What clothes and gear should I bring?
We have enclosed a detailed checklist for you to follow and check off.
I’m concerned about air connections. Will we be in port in time for my return flight?
We are always in our final port 24 hours before the end of the expedition in order to clear customs and sign crew off, but ask that you not schedule your return flight earlier than 3 PM on the final day of the expedition. Before returning home many expedition members plan a night ashore to relax and explore.
Michael_henrichs@travelctm.com 1-877-429-5787 helps many of our expedition members with air and hotel reservations and importantly can book the automatically refundable outbound air tickets now required by all countries we visit, even though you will be departing under sail. In many cases, Michael beats internet prices by using wholesalers to purchase airline tickets. Frequently, the sooner you book, the less you pay for air travel.
What is the best way to get travel and trip cancellation insurance?
We recommend CSA Travel Protection, www.csatravelprotection.com, 1-800-348-9505. There is a link from www.mahina.com under Expedition Brochure.
How important is it to take the Offshore Cruising Seminar before joining an expedition?
It is important if at all possible. Not only does the seminar prepare you for the expedition, but if you are planning an offshore cruise on your own boat the seminar will save you time and money. If you are unable to attend another option is to purchase and review the 260-page Offshore Cruising Companion seminar course book before joining the expedition.
If you have any questions, please contact us at any time: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mahina Expeditions, Box 1596, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA
Tel: 360-378-6131 fax: 360-378-6331