John was born on the banks of Africa's Blue Nile River. At the age of 22 his
love of adventure and travel fueled a desire to sail to the South Pacific from
Seattle aboard his 27' Vega sloop. Log of Mahina chronicled his voyage and
adventures and became a best seller. To answer the frequently-asked question,
"How can I find and prepare a boat for ocean voyaging?" he conducted the first
of now 156 Offshore Cruising Seminars in 1976. In 1990, to meet the requests for
hands-on offshore instruction, John established Mahina Expeditions with the goal
of sharing his knowledge of ocean voyaging in a safe and supportive environment.
John has conducted 171 sail-training expeditions aboard his Hallbery-Rassy 42,
Mahina Tiare II, and Hallberg-Rassy 46, Mahina Tiare III, sailing 342,000 miles
in the South Pacific, Caribbean, Patagonia, Antarctica, Atlantic, Scandinavia
and the Arctic. John and has rounded Cape Horn six times under sail and holds a
USCG 100-ton Master's and private pilot's licenses.
Amanda Swan Neal
Amanda grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and sailed to Sausalito, Seattle and
Vancouver as a teenager aboard a 38' sloop she helped her parents build. Upon
returning to New Zealand, she became a sailmaker for Hoods and transferred
professions to rigging with Noake's Rigging in Sydney, Australia then Southern
Spars in NZ. In 1990 she completed The Whitbread Around the World Race (now The
Volvo Race) as rigger aboard Maiden, the first all-women Whitbread boat.
Amanda's 300,000 miles of ocean sailing include two Sydney-Hobart Races,
numerous international regattas and seven Cape Horn roundings intermixed with a
ten-year involvement in tall ship sail-training. Since joining John in 1994 for
Mahina Tiare's Cape Horn and Antarctic expeditions, Amanda has co-skippered
aboard Mahina Tiare. She is author of The Essential Galley Companion and since
2005 has written the monthly Galley Essentials column in 48 North magazine.
Amanda enjoys introducing women to the joys of the cruising lifestyle and her
personal interests include Celtic step dancing, photography, triathlon training
and sewing. She holds a NZ Commercial Launchmaster's license.
and John spend seven months at sea sailing 10,000 miles annually. When
not at sea, they enjoy winter kayaking from their island home at Roche Harbor, 8
miles east of Victoria, B.C. Their website is: www.mahina.com
Magazines Contributed to: Blue Water Sailing, Yachting World
(UK), Australian Yachting, Cruising World, Cruising Helmsman (Australia), 48
North, Latitude 38, SAIL, Sailing, Yachting, Ocean Navigator and Practical
Books Authored: The Essential Galley Companion (Amanda), Log
of the Mahina, Mahina Tiare, Pacific Passages (John), Offshore Cruising
Companion, Offshore Expedition Companion, Storm Survival Tactics (John and
Amanda), Selecting and Purchasing an Ocean Cruising Sailboat (John).
Contributed to: World Voyage Planner, World Cruising Survey by Jimmy Cornell,
The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, fourth edition, by John Rousmaniere, Surviving
the Storm by Steve Dashew, NOAA-PVS Safety Manual, Voyager's Handbook by Beth A.
Leonard, Sharks of Tropical and Temperate Seas, R.H. Johnson, Fifty Places to
Sail Before You Die by Chris Santella.
Videography: Heavy Weather Sailing (1981) (contributor),
Sailing to Cape Horn (1995), Sailing to Antarctica (1996).
Experience: Caribbean, Mexico, Atlantic including Azores, Canaries, and
Madeira, Patagonia (Chile and Argentina), Cape Horn (six roundings), Antarctica
to edge of ice pack, Brazil, Uruguay, Pacific including Galapagos, Panama, Juan
Fernandez, Cocos, Clipperton, Easter, Pitcairn, French Polynesia, Cooks, Niue,
Samoa, Tonga, Wallis, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Australia, Tasmania, New
Zealand, Alaska, British Columbia. Europe including the Med including Balaerics
and Malta, Ireland, England, Scotland, Orkney, Shetland, Norway, Spitsbergen to
edge of ice pack, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Spain and Portugal.
Each seminar can be presented in 50 - 80 minutes and is accompanied by over
150 PowerPoint images plus detailed printed handouts
1. Storm Survival Tactics Survival becomes critical when
storm avoidance is no longer an option. John & Amanda Neal show you the safest
survival tactics including some radical new techniques based on their combined
644,000 miles and decades of Southern Ocean experience plus surviving the
Queen's Birthday Storm. A concise 25-page text is available illustrating and
detailing this seminar.
2. South Pacific Sailing from Panama to New
Zealand Sail to exotic uncrowded South Seas isles where friendly
islanders are pleased to welcome you. Weather, passage planning, safe & secluded
anchorages plus new services available to cruisers are detailed in images and a
free handout. John and Amanda Neal's combined 408,000 miles and 60 years of
South Pacific experience detailed on
3. Sailing to Europe and Back John
and Amanda Neal detail an exciting voyage with many colorful landfalls taking
less than six months to reach Europe. Passage planning, storm avoidance and
landfall information for destinations in Azores, United Kingdom, Scandinavia and
the Mediterranean are highlighted in the presentation and included in a detailed
4. Selecting an Offshore Cruising Boat John
Neal details 20 key points to consider when purchasing a boat for extended
passage making, based on his 332,000 miles and 40 years of teaching and
voyaging. Drawing on his extensive and objective knowledge of boats and builders
worldwide, he has helped over 10,000 sailors find their dream boats. A free
handout provides additional information.
5. Challenges of High
Latitude Sailing Adventures Details of planning and undertaking
ultimate adventures whether to Antarctica, Cape Horn, Svalbard, Iceland, Norway
and Alaska based on John and Amanda Neal's decades of leading high-latitude
sail-training adventures, including images from a 7,000-mile voyage from Sweden
to Orkney, Shetland, Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Iceland and St. Kilda completed in
6. Ocean Voyaging Preparation 20 steps to
prepare for sailing to Mexico, the South Pacific, Alaska or the Med. Topics
covered include: selecting and outfitting your boat, electrical systems,
navigation, cost of cruising, insurance, seamanship and communication options.
Based on John & Amanda Neal's combined 678,000 and 83 years' experience. A
free handout details this seminar.
7. Diesel Engine Essentials with Amanda Amanda Swan Neal
will guide you through the six essential components of diesel engines giving you
a good understanding of how engines work and how to troubleshoot and care for
them based on her 38 years of going to sea. A free handout highlights the
essential points and resources of this seminar.
8. Secrets of
Successful Cruising John & Amanda will share how-to tips and
knowledge to help you prepare for your own successful cruising adventures,
whether to Mexico, the South Pacific, Caribbean or Europe. They will also share
highlight and disasters from their favorite cruising destinations around the
world, based on their combined 678,000 and 83 years of experience.
9. Worldwide Anchoring Techniques John and Amanda Neal
detail six specific anchoring techniques necessary for Mediterranean, tropical,
high-latitude and temperate cruising based on their extensive worldwide
experience spanning 40 years and over 350,000 miles. With the knowledge gained
from this seminar detailed in a six-page handout, you'll be able to safely
anchor anywhere in the world, avoiding the costly mistakes they have made.
10. Seasickness: Conquering and Eliminating It! What
really works; based on John Neal's systematic research conducted over 40 years
while sailing 343,000 miles with 1200 sailors from Cape Horn to the Arctic. Free
taste tests of a new anti-seasickness nutrition bar and a detailed handout are
11. Seamanship John and Amanda Neal detail the
skills and fundamentals that lead to confidence, self-reliance and awareness
before departure, at sea, while making landfall and at anchor. Seamanship
relates to every aspect of boating. Highlights and resources are documented in a
12. Getting Started in the Cruising Life: How Women Learn Differently
Discover what you'll need to know to be comfortable and competent on the water
based on the four-part series Cruising World magazine commissioned Amanda Swan
Neal to write. Amanda will help you acknowledge the adjustments of a major
lifestyle change, identify common concerns and fears while giving insights on
how to master the cruising life. A three-page handout expands on the objectives
and lists resources.
13. Sails: A-Z of Cruising Sails
Sails - the quiet, powerful wind-driven engines that carry you to the
destinations you've dreamed of are critical equipment for an offshore cruising
sailboat. The quality of sails you start cruising with will greatly affect your
boat's performance as well your time and money. Amanda Swan Neal guides you
through choosing a sailmaker, sail design and construction, offshore inventory
and how to maximize sailing performance. Downwind and storm sail options and the
most common sail repairs will also be detailed. A 15-page handout is available.
Amanda was the first women to complete New Zealand's four-year sail making
apprenticeship and has worked as a sailmaker in NZ, Australia (America's Cup)
and the UK.
14. Galley Essentials with Amanda The
Essential Galley Companion author and 48 North magazine's monthly culinary
columnist shares her recent Atlantic offshore galley adventures, showing you how
to excel in provisioning, organizing, cooking and entertaining aboard. Amanda's
300,000 miles and 38 years' sea experience includes cooking for 45 trainees
aboard square-riggers, surviving the nine-month Whitbread Around the World Race
on freeze-dried food and dishing up ginger crunch for the Cape Horn lighthouse
15. Splicing: Mastering Three-Strand Eye Splicing
In this hands-on seminar with written and PowerPoint illustrations, Whitbread
Race rigger Amanda Swan Neal will guide you through the art of eye-splicing with
individual instruction. You'll take home your completed splice and directions
enabling you to utilize this important skill aboard your own boat.
Mastering the Turk's Head Knot Amanda Swan Neal has taught hundreds
of sailors worldwide the ancient skill of mastering the Turk's head. This
iconic, decorative knot can mark the king spoke of your wheel, adorn the end of
your tiller or be used to create a nautical bracelet. All materials will be
provided and you'll take home your completed Turk's head and written