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Mahina Offshore Cruising Workshop featuring John & Amanda Neal and others

March 21, 2020 @ 8:00 am - March 22, 2020 @ 5:00 pm

$329 – $559
Cruiser's College Amanda & John Neal's Off-shore cruising seminar

This two-day workshop combines the Mahina Offshore Cruising Seminar (174 presented since 1976 to 11,000 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 $329 per single or $559 per couple is one copy of the Offshore Cruising Companion, the 260-page textbook which retails for $60.

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7:45 Registration

8:30 Introduction

9:00 Boat Selection: Choosing the right boat.

10:00 Getting Started: Transitioning to the cruising life.

10:20 Break

10:30 Diesel Engines: Overview of how they work.

11:00 Workshops: A total of four hands-on workshops – 30 minutes at two workshops now and at 2:45:

  1. Fuel Systems: Changing filter, priming fuel system.
  2.  Electrical: Install leads on a test breaker using of wire stripper, ratcheting crimper and heat-shrink connectors. Use the test breaker for emergency engine starting.
  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.

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

12:50 Priority Equipment: Outfitting with the essential gear you really need.

2:00 Fuel Systems: Maintaining this critical system.

2:30 Break

2:40 Workshops: Complete remaining workshops from 11:00.

3:45 Seamanship: Self-reliance, awareness and responsibility.

4:05 Weather and Passage Planning: Latest weather resources, storm avoidance and passage strategies.

4:05 Storm Survival Tactics: Details of nine specific storm tactics.

4:50 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, children, musical instruments and your singing voice! Live Celtic band, games and prizes.


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

9:00 Communications: Coastal and offshore options.

9:15 Engine Cooling Systems: Overview, maintenance and troubleshooting.

9:45 Cruising Medicine: Common problems, prevention, treatment and necessary supplies.

10:00 Break

10:15 Workshops: 30 minutes at each of these two stations now and at 1:45.

5. Cooling System: Replacing raw water pump impeller, thermostat and sacrificial zincs.

6. Electrical: Use of clamp-on multimeter for electrical fault finding.

7. Canvas Making: Sewing protective covers and installation of canvas fasteners.

8. Rope Work: Qualities of double braid and Dyeneema, use and splices. Creating a soft eye loop in double braid.

11:20 Electrical Systems: Understanding and troubleshooting.

12:00 Lunch

12:45 Anchoring: Equipment and six techniques for worldwide conditions.

1:05 Galley Essentials: Organization, stowage, provisioning and meal planning.

1:35 Psychological Aspects: Keeping the balance

1:45 Workshops: Complete remaining two workshops from 10:20.

2:45 Workshop Review: Discuss completed projects. Q&Q with instructors.

3:00 Cost of Cruising, Finances and Responsibility: Managing your finances.

3:20 Customs, Leaving your Boat & Low Impact Cruising: Avoiding drama and leaving a clean wake.

3:40 Coolest Cruising Destinations in the World: John and Amanda highlight their 45 years of cruising.

4:00 The End. Collect course completion certificates.


John Neal’s 382,000 offshore miles include six Cape Horn roundings plus expeditions to Antarctica, Africa, Australia and Spitsbergen. Since 1976, John’s passion has been sharing his ocean cruising knowledge through 195 sail-training expeditions aboard Mahina Tiare III, a Hallberg-Rassy 46 and through Offshore Cruising Seminars presented annually at major boat shows. John is author, co-author or contributing author of 17 books including Log of the Mahina. www.mahina.com

Amanda Swan Neal completed the Whitbread Around the World Race as rigger aboard Maiden and has 42 years and 342,000 miles experience in international racing, sail-training and cruising. She has worked as a rigger and sailmaker in England, Australia and New Zealand, co-lead expeditions aboard Mahina Tiare since 1994 and is the author of Marine Diesel Engine Essentials – a Learning and Coloring Book and The Essential Galley Companion. www.mahina.com

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.

Pete McGonagle is a marine engineer who has logged over 1,000,000 miles as an officer on tankers and 45,000 miles racing, delivering and cruising yachts. A yacht broker since 1999, he founded Swiftsure Yachts in 2002 where he’s assisted hundreds of cruisers purchase offshore-capable yachts. Pete recently completed a two-year cruise of the Caribbean and East Coast with his family aboard his 51’ steel Perry sloop and has been co-presenting in Mahina seminars since 2003. www.swiftsureyachts.com

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 21, 2020 @ 8:00 am
March 22, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
$329 – $559


Cruiser’s College


Marine Technology Center
1606 R Avenue
Anacortes, WA 98221 United States
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Cruisers College Picture of Marina

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