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Mahina Ex­pe­di­tions is a round-the-world pro­gram run by Tom and Amanda Neal aboard Mahina Tiare, their Hall­bergRassy 46. The pro­gram is billed as “ocean pas­sage­mak­ing with expert in­struc­tion” and among the cruis­ing com­mu­nity, the duo has reached rock star sta­tus with their sem­i­nars, books and ed­u­ca­tional cruises. Each year they spend seven months at sea ,cov­er­ing 10,000 miles with stu­dents who come to learn and dream of head­ing out on their own boat in the fu­ture.

At press time, Mahina Tiare had just ar­rived in the Ca­nary Is­lands after a multi-leg tour from Swe­den to Morocco. From there, they planned to press on to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and down to the South Pa­cific, where they hope to do some loops in 2018 be­tween Tahiti, New Zealand and Aus­tralia. The trips in­clude a hands-on cur­ricu­lum of storm sail­ing tac­tics, boathandling, and coastal, ce­les­tial and elec­tronic nav­i­ga­tion. Legs last from seven to 21 days, al­though most ex­cur­sions are two weeks, and pay­ing guests are lim­ited to six per­sons. Ap­pli­cants should have some ba­sics in sail trim, rules of the road and coastal nav­i­ga­tion. Pre-study is en­cour­aged, at min­i­mum in the form of on­line Nau­ticEd cour­ses, as well as by at­tend­ing some of Tom and Amanda’s sem­i­nars. Women are en­cour­aged to sign up and are equal par­tic­i­pants aboard. Crew ages range from 16 to 70.

When asked what ad­vice he might have for po­ten­tial stu­dents seek­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate ex­pe­di­tion, Tom says, “It’s im­por­tant to learn how long the op­er­a­tor has been in busi­ness and how se­ri­ous they are about safety and ethics.” Mahina Tiare III was launched in 2007, but 2017 marks the 28th con­sec­u­tive year of the Neals’ sail-train­ing ex­pe­di­tions. With a fo­cus on pre­serv­ing the en­vi­ron­ment in which they op­er­ate, they in­vite their stu­dents to join in at least one beach cleanup per ex­pe­di­tion, and they of­ten bring much needed school sup­plies to re­mote is­land vil­lages.

Plan­ning is key as spots fill quickly. “We tend to have peo­ple book as much as one or two years ahead for our South Pa­cific ex­pe­di­tion legs,” says Neal.

Mahina Ex­pe­di­tions,

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