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Paul Exner Using Binoculars During Expedition.jpg

Paul Exner


Paul Exner

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Paul Exner


Paul Exner

About Paul Exner

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Paul Exner has devoted his life to mastering the Technical Art of Ocean Sailing, and imparts his knowledge to burgeoning sailors and explorers during his Modern Geographic Sailing Expedition. Paul is a sailing coach and mentor to adventure seekers first and foremost, and a guru of hands-on experiential learning methods. Paul instills high-level performance in those who sail with him, and does so in a respectful and intellectual manner that inspires real confidence and skill-retention in adult sailors.

With four decades of experience in a massive variety of sailing disciplines, Paul has developed a talent for coaching and leadership by also calling upon his other successful pursuits, such as: making maps for world renown geographic and environmental agencies like: the National Geographic Society, and The Nature Conservancy; as a groundwater modeler for Department of Defense contractors; and, product manager of FT-IR spectroscopy instrumentation sold to prominent corporate laboratories like Pfizer, Frito Lay, Caterpillar, etc.

Paul's philosophy for ocean sail-training is rooted in belief that a series of short (1 to 3-day) legs offers incredible opportunity for sailors to gain mastery of the technical-art-of-ocean-sailing, mostly because the general tasks of making land-fall and departing-for-sea are best assimilated by doing them repeatedly in different locales and under varying oceanographic conditions so the full gambit of seamanship topics can be experienced and navigated first-hand.

Every sail-training expedition that Paul leads utilizes the Modern Geographic Sailing Curriculum (developed over the course of Paul Exner's 40+ years of broad and serious exposure to "sailing"). Using this curriculum, Paul guides each sailor along their path to master the technical-art-of-ocean-sailing, reinforced frequently by technical discussions with team members to ensure that the experiences and information learned during the expedition are retained..

Please contact Paul with any information you'd like to share about your sailing goals, or questions you have about the expeditions he leads, or how the Modern Geographic Sailing Curriculum could benefit you.

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SV Solstice


SV Solstice

SV Solstice


SV Solstice

Solstice ... Ocean Explorer

Solstice is a powerful offshore sailing vessel that is exhilarating to sail and manage in the open ocean. Her cutter-rig sail-plan offers the versatility to negotiate complex sea-states offshore, and is easily sailed with short-handed crew or single-handedly, which has serious benefits as a sail-training vessel for sailors seeking a lot of hands-on experimentation and practice. The hull of Solstice was inspired by William Atkin’s famous Tally Ho, re-drawn by Carl Chamberlain who designed a fast, full-keeled machine that’s safe and comfortable to lived-aboard on ocean passages.

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Solstice carries a full quiver of sails to handle any wind condition … she’s an offshore machine that’s fast in light winds and heavy-air alike, capable of surfing down waves to leave her quarter-wake behind, and equally at home while ghosting along on a calm sea with gentle winds.

The running rigging systems of Solstice are smartly laid-out and appropriately sized for average human ergonomics; a full complement of Lewmar Ocean Series self-tailing winches are used for the primary and secondary winches in the cockpit, and on the mast for halyards and reefing. The yankee headsail flown from the bowsprit sets on the Titanium-based Pro-Furl furler, controlled from the cockpit. A Monitor wind-vane autopilot by Scanmar is superb equipment for helming Solstice on long passages as it only requires some apparent wind. Hands-on steering is made via a laminated tiller of ash-wood; Solstice’s helms-person can glean that extra sensitivity required to coax her into a perfect sailing groove.

A team of four, including Paul Exner, may be accommodated aboard Solstice. The main saloon provides a spacious interior for debrief meetings, and sleeping berths for two sailors in separate bunks of 4” foam and 6.5’ length. The forward cabin is ideal for one sailor amidst the sail inventory, and can be converted to a double bunk for a couple. A single head supports the crew underway and at rest. A 1,000 watt inverter provides AC power for a multitude of electric equipment including charging of phones, laptops, and camera batteries so the sailing action can always be photographed or videoed.

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Built with passion and attention to detail, Paul Exner completed Solstice’s construction from a new Cape George 31 bare-hull with the help of a few close friends, and the guidance of master-builder Todd Uecker (President of Cape George Marine Works). Solstice was built over a 10-year period in a defunct dairy barn in Middleton, Wisconsin to a robust standard and stout stature making her a strong and beautiful vessel for ocean sailing; Solstice is virtually inflexible, and is as structurally sound today as she was when her hull was laid-up solidly of vinylester resin and woven fiberglass in Port Townsend, Washington in 1991.

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Modern Geographic


Modern Geographic

Modern Geographic


Modern Geographic

Modern Geographic

MODERN GEOGRAPHIC is PAUL EXNER: To actively explore our dreams and hope for a reasonable outcome from our efforts, we must first posses certain skills related to the task that enables our self-confidence enough to go for it! Let's hope we want what we wish for because we might just face real challenge while going after something we believe in … then what? Our life becomes our "expedition” for everything we wished for, whether we like it or not, and we are in control of our dreams, for better or for worse. There are no golden parachutes that save us from ourselves, we must live with the consequences of our decisions while going after our dreams. We must learn how to convince ourselves that our dream is something we can attain.

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But how do we go about learning what we need to know before doing something on our own that we’ve never done before? Paul Exner's sail-training expedition can help you with this! The Modern Geographic Sailing Curriculum (developed over the course of Paul Exner's 40+ years of broad and serious exposure to "sailing") will be used to guide you toward mastery of the technical-art-of-ocean-sailing, to be reinforced by engaging in discussion with Paul about what you're accomplishing on the water; this ensures that the information you're learning during the expedition is heightened and retained.

Paul Exner is committed to mastering the techniques required to help sailors master the technical-art-of-sailing via the experiential learning paradigm … a sequence of actions and experiences to be reinforced by a technical understanding of the subject, and further solidified via debrief discussion … a highly suitable approach for developing new skills in adults.

Paul Exner’s philosophy and methods for his Modern Geographic expedition-style sail training offer a sailor the most challenge and learning opportunity from an expert sailing coach, anywhere. Paul has a knack for developing your sailing talent to build real confidence, and keep you safe while showing you how to take calculated seamanship risk offshore. Paul truly put’s you in the driver's seat to make solid decisions with consequences, and in the course of working together on urgent plans, your experience will be heightened so you retain the knowledge he imparts. Paul is unique; if you are serious about advancing your sailing skill and mastering on-the-water seamanship and decision-making, there is no better sailing coach (period).

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59º North


59º North

59º North


59º North

Offshore Passage Adventures
S&S Swan 48 Isbjorn

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
— T.E. Lawrence

Experienced the Caribbean and ready to take your offshore sailing to another level? Join Andy Schell & Mia Karlsson on their classic S&S Swan 48, an all-time great ocean sailing machine, to explore the world's oceans beyond the Caribbean under sail. Andy & Mia have an extensive calendar planned through 2019 including passages to the Canadian Maritimes, Europe, the Baltic Sea, Norway & the far north Arctic waters of Svalbard & Iceland.

All of 59º North's passages are high-level, proper ocean sailing, with crew given full responsibility to sail the boat offshore. Andy & Mia take a 'director' role, and stand by to provide leadership, as the crew get hands-on with all aspects of sailing the boat, from making headsail changes on the foredeck & setting the spinnaker, to driving the boat through all conditions, and even cooking and washing up down below. Be as involved - or not - as you want to. It's your experience.

Quite simply, they aim to share the infinite wisdom of the high seas with those wise enough to seek them out. They've sailed tens of thousands of bluewater miles in their boats and others', and yet the magic of a night watch at sea remains as strong as ever. They want to share that magic with you. Join them, and find out for yourself!


Isbjorn Sailing Passages