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

Mahina Expeditions, Offshore Cruising Training Offshore Cruising Seminars

2016 Seminars


(Toronto Seminar registration starts at 9am)

7:45  Registration

8:30  Introduction

9:00 Boat Selection: Design and Construction Criteria - what makes a boat safe and comfortable for offshore voyaging

9:40  Getting Started in the Cruising Life: Understanding your partner

10:20  Break

10:35  Priority Equipment:  Outfitting with the gear you REALLY need

11:30  Engines: Spares and Maintenance

11:40  Galley Essentials:  We’re not talking about camping out!

12:00  Lunch Break

1:00  Anchors and Anchoring:  Five anchoring techniques

1:15  Seamanship: Self reliance, awareness and responsibility

1:36  Storm Survival Tactics: Details of ten specific tactics

2:05  Optional Equipment:  Outfitting with the cool gear that makes cruising more comfortable

2:45  Break

2:55  Rigging and Sails: Keeping the mast up and sails set

 3:15  Medical: Common problems, preventions and treatment



To register online our full day Offshore Cruising Seminars, use the links below:

Toronto Registration Click Here

Vancouver Registration Click Here

Seattle Registration Click Here

Pre-registration is necessary as seminars often sell out

Registration is at 7:45

For our Free Seminars, Click Here

offshore cruising seminar

3:35  Communications: Realities of staying in touch

3:50  Psychological:  The nuts and bolts of keeping the balance

4:05  Break

4:10  Cost of Cruising: How much will this cost? Working while cruising.

4:15  Managing Your Escape: Piracy, firearms and security issues, insurance, pets, keeping a home base

4:40  Clearing into a Foreign Port: Procedures and courtesies

4:50  Leaving your boat in a Foreign Port

5:00  Worldwide Cruise Scenarios

5:30  Graduation Certificate: Questions and answers

6:45  Optional No-host Dinner: Wear your wildest, brightest tropical attire!

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With a combined experience of 644,000 miles and 79 years John and Amanda have developed a dynamic hands-on curriculum designed to give you the skills and ability to sail anywhere.

Mahina Tiare III was launched in 1997 and 2016 marks the 27th consecutive year of sail-training expeditions. To date more than 1000 students have sailed a total of 267,000 miles during expeditions.

John & Amanda

John and AmandaJohn Neal 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' sloop. Log of Mahina chronicled his voyage and adventures and became a best seller. To answer the question he was frequently asked, "How can I do what you did?” he conducted his first of now 153 Offshore Cruising Seminars in 1976. In 1990, to meet the demand 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 164 sail-training expeditions aboard his Hallbery-Rassy 42, Mahina Tiare II & his Hallberg-Rassy 46, Mahina Tiare III, sailing 342,000 miles in the South Pacific, Caribbean, Patagonia, Antarctica, Atlantic, Scandinavia and the Arctic. John holds a USCG 100 ton Master’s and private pilot License.

Amanda Swan Neal grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and sailed to 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 international 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. Upon meeting John in 1994 she joined Mahina Tiare for the Cape Horn and Antarctic expeditions. 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.

Amanda and John spend seven months at sea annually. When not at sea, they enjoy winter kayaking from their island home near Victoria.

Paul and Sheryl Shard

Paul and Sheryl ShardPaul and Sheryl Shard are award-winning documentary filmmakers and hosts of the Distant Shores sailing adventure TV series. This year they celebrated 25 years of cruising and living aboard and have sailed 100,000 nm in that time making 5 transatlantic passages documenting their experiences in the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Scandinavia, UK and South America.

They are currently cruising crossing the Atlantic for another winter filming new episodes for season 10 episodes of Distant Shores aboard their Southerly 49 sailboat, Distant Shores II. They have co-presented in our seminars in Toronto and Chicago and will be with us for our 2016 Toronto seminar. Follow their adventures on

Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson

mia and andyAndy Schell and Mia Karlsson crossed the Atlantic in 2011 to Sweden on their 35-foot yawl Arcturus multiple times and conduct ocean passage charters aboard Isbjorn, their Swan 48. They also manage the Caribbean 1500 cruising rally plus Andy is a Contributing Editor for SAIL Magazine and the host of the popular 59° North sailing podcast.  |

Andy and Mia will be presenting the Anchoring section in our Toronto seminar.

Pete McGonagle

petePete McGonagle is a marine engineer and certified processional yacht broker. He holds a USCG Unlimited Master's license and has logged over one million miles on merchant ships and 39,000 ocean miles cruising, racing and delivering sailing yachts.

A yacht broker since 1999, he founded Swiftsure Yachts in 2002 where he's assisted hundreds of sailors purchase and sell offshore-capable yachts. Pete recently completed a two year cruise of the East Coast and Caribbean waters with his wife and young son aboard Charlotte, their Perry 51 steel sloop.



$179 per person · $299 per couple


Includes one 265 page Offshore Companion Book per single participant or couple.

Lunch is available nearby in Toronto and Vancouver and is included in Seattle.


Seminars run from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Saturday.

Accommodations are available in hotels where seminars are held. Hotel reservation information and map are included with your receipt.

Many of the venues have airport shuttle service and discount room rates for attendees.


Offshore Cruising Companion

Offshore Cruising Companion
by John Neal & Amanda Swan Neal

An indispensible guide for preparing yourself and your sailboat for a safe offshore adventure. If you aren't able to take the weekend Offshore Cruising Seminar, now you can purchase the course handbook directly from Mahina Expeditions.

264 pp, $60.00 plus $10 domestic, $20 foreign shipping 42nd edition, updated Jan. 2015


Refund, less $35 booking fee, for cancellations received in writing more than seven days prior to seminar. Later cancellations may reschedule to a future seminar without charge.

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