Mahina Expeditions Offshore Cruising Seminars

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


2021 Seminars


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




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!


John & Amanda

Since 1989 we've sailed 308,000 miles leading 210 sail-training expeditions worldwide and have delveoped the following:

  • The ability to create successful expeditions where everyone equally participates in navigation, sai handling, helming, shipboard duties and exlorations.
  • A profound respect and knowledge of seamanship, weather and the exptic islands we voyage to.
  • A deep understanding of the hands-on skills future cruisers need to master ocean voyaging.

John Neal

I was born on the banks of Africa’s Blue Nile River and my ocean sailing experience started in 1974 when at age 22 I set sail from Seattle, sailing my Vega 27 sloop 15,000 miles through the South Pacific, part of the time singlehanded. Log of the Mahina, the book I wrote of those adventures became a bestseller and I’ve since authored or co-authored an additional 17 books and numerous magazine articles. I’ve accumulated 377,000 offshore miles ranging from Australia to Africa, Antarctica, Svalbard and the Med while sharing my passion for ocean sailing. When not at sea I enjoy kayaking, flying, trail running, cycling, swimming and yoga. Currently I hold USCG 100-ton master and FAA private pilot licenses.

To help sailors achieve their cruising goals I presented the first of now 167 Offshore Cruising Seminars in 1976. From 1990 to 1996 I operated Mahina Tiare II, a Hallberg-Rassy 42, as a sail-training vessel, sailing 70,000 miles while leading expeditions to the South Pacific, Patagonia, Antarctica and rounding Cape Horn six times. Amanda and I launched Mahina Tiare III in 1997 and I’m delighted to be celebrating 30 years of successful sail training expeditions in 2019.

Amanda Swan Neal

I grew up sailing the Pacific with my family on boats we built in New Zealand. After becoming NZ’s first women apprenticed sailmaker I sailed as rigger aboard Maiden in the 1990 Whitbread Around the World Race (now The Volvo Race) and joined John in 1994. My 335,000 miles of ocean sailing include two Sydney-Hobart Races, international regattas and seven Cape Horn roundings intermixed with a ten-year involvement in tall ship sail-training. I hold a NZ Commercial Launchmaster’s license, am the author of The Essential Galley Companion and write the Galley Essentials column in 48 North Magazine. I keep busy enjoying Celtic step dancing, photography, triathlon training and sewing, even at sea.

Nigel Calder

Nigel CalderNigel Calder is best known for his Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual (now in its 4th edition with 300,000 copies sold), and Marine Diesel Engines (in its 3rd edition), both considered definitive works. He and his wife, Terrie annually cruise Europe aboard their Malo 46, Nada and have spent the last 35 years cruising and writing about the East Coast of North America, Bahamas, Cuba, the Caribbean, Atlantic, U.K, Scandinavia, and as far north as the Faroe Islands. Nigel will be co-presenting at several of our 2020 seminars.


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. Pete will be co-presenting at our Anacortes seminar only in 2019.



Michael Beemer

Michael Beemer is the department chair for Skagit Valley College’s Marine Maintenance and Repair program and has been teaching and presenting professionally for 20 years.

He will teach the hands-on workshops and PowerPoint segments for fuel, cooling, electrical and trouble-shooting.

Mike and his wife Lynette have cruised extensively from Anacortes to southeast Alaska and led instructional flotillas for many summers on their 47’ ketch.


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 included with seminar cost and available during check-in Saturday morning. 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 46th edition, updated annually.

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