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Mahina Offshore Cruising Workshop featuring John Neal and others

March 8, 2025 @ 8:00 am - March 9, 2025 @ 4:30 pm

$595 – $995
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This two-day workshop combines the Mahina Offshore Cruising Seminar (180 presented since 1976 to 12,000 sailors) with Skagit Valley College’s Cruisers College top hands-on classes including marine diesel engines and systems, marine electrical systems, plus sail repair, canvas making, sewing and line splicing. Included in the seminar cost of $595 per single or $995 per couple is one copy of the Offshore Cruising Companion, the 260-page textbook which retails for $60. To register: CruisersCollege.org




7:45      Registration

8:15      Introduction

8:30      Boat Selection: Choosing the right boat.

9:15      Getting Started: Transitioning to the cruising life.

9:30      Break

9:40      Diesel Engines: Overview of how they work.

10:10    Workshops: A total of four hands-on workshops – 40 minutes at two workshops now and at 2:30:

  1. Fuel Systems: Changing filter, priming fuel system.
  2. Electrical: Practice using a wire stripper, ratcheting crimper, and heat-shrink connectors.
  3. Sailrite Sewing Machine: Repair sail tears, seams, luff tape and batten pocket.
  4. Handwork: Use sailmaker’s palm & needle to repair rips & seams plus sew on a sail slide.

11:30    Weather and Passage Planning

12:00    Lunch: Several options within two blocks. Instructors available to answer questions.

12:40    Liferaft Inflation: board the raft and inventory survival supplies.

12:45    Storm Survival Tactics: Details of nine specific storm tactics.

1:30      Priority Equipment: Outfitting with the essential gear you really need.

2:30      Workshops: Complete the remaining two workshops from 10:10.

3:50      Break

4:00      Electrical Systems: Understanding and troubleshooting.

4:30      Sails and Rigging: Sail wardrobe overview and avoiding rigging failures.

5:20      Best of Northwest Cruising: San Juans to Alaska.

5:30      End

6:30      No-host Pizza Party at Village Pizza – five-minute walk. You’re welcome to bring partners and children.


8:00      Optional Offshore Equipment: Cool gear that makes cruising easier!

9:00      Communications: Coastal and offshore options.

9:20      Cruising Medicine: Common problems, prevention, treatment and necessary supplies.

9:40      Break

9:50      Workshops: A total of four hands-on workshops – 40 minutes at two workshops now and two at 1:15.

  1. Cooling System: Replacing raw water pump impeller, thermostat and sacrificial zincs.
  2. Electrical: Use of clamp-on multimeter for electrical fault finding. Use a test breaker for emergency engine starting.
  3. Canvas Making: Sewing a Collision Mat and installation of canvas fasteners.
  4. Rope Work: Learn rope qualities, practice making 3-strand eye splice, learn essential knots.

11:10    Anchoring: Equipment and six techniques for worldwide conditions.

12:00    Lunch

12:45    Galley Essentials: Organization, stowage, provisioning, and meal planning.

1:15      Workshops: Complete the remaining two workshops from 9:50.

2:35      Cost of Cruising, Finances and Responsibility: Managing your finances.

3:00      Customs, Leaving your Boat & Low Impact Cruising: Avoiding drama and leaving a clean wake.

3:40      Coolest Cruising Destinations in the World: John highlights his 50 years of cruising.

4:00      The End. Collect course completion certificates.

Michael Beemer is the department chair for Skagit Valley College’s Marine Maintenance and Repair program. Michael has been presenting and teaching professionally for 20 years and holds a master’s degree in education. At the college he teaches all the systems courses, including ABYC certifications. He and his wife have cruised extensively from Anacortes to southeast Alaska for many years on their motor-sailor. Some of the many topics he has taught include: diesel engines, electrical systems, solar, new battery technologies, extended inside passage cruising, and more.

Gio & Julie Cappelli are graduates of SVC’s Marine Maintenance Technology Program who both hold ABYC and NMEA certifications in marine diesel, electrical, and electronics. They completed a Mahina offshore sail training expedition with John in the Pacific Northwest have just completed a 10,000-mile loop sailing from Mexico to Hawaii, Alaska aboard their Malo 39. Both have backgrounds in marine biology and fisheries and are keen to share their knowledge about the ocean, cruising, and boat maintenance. Julie organizes and produces offshore cruising presentations and corresponding materials for Mahina workshops, boat shows, and seminars.

Molly Howe is a Maine Maritime Academy graduate with a background as a professional mariner in PNW waters and a broad variety of experience cruising and racing under sail. She has a 100-ton Master/500-ton Mate USCG licenses. Molly and her husband, Jake live aboard their Farr 50 and actively race their Melges 24 when she’s not working as a broker at Swiftsure Yachts. Molly will co-present Boat Selection: Choosing the Right Boat.

Anacortes, Washington is located one-hour north of Seattle airport and one-hour south of Vancouver airport and is considered the gateway to the San Juan Islands and the Inside Passage to British Columbia and Alaska. There are several hotels within walking distance of Skagit Valley College’s Marine Maintenance Tech Center and the closest are Cap Sante Inn (very reasonable, not fancy and offering a discount rate for workshop attendees) and Majestic Inn & Spa (very nice). The Marine Tech Center is located within Cap Sante Marina.




March 8, 2025 @ 8:00 am
March 9, 2025 @ 4:30 pm
$595 – $995


Marine Technology Center
1606 R Avenue
Anacortes, WA 98221 United States
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