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Hawaii Offshore Expedition

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Paul Exner’s Mod Geo Expeditions provide personal and highly focused, hands-on experience and coaching, more productive than any other bluewater sailing opportunity you could invest in. The experience gained while sailing with Paul will minimize the time and money you spend to get bluewater experience and skill.

When students immerse themselves sailing the Hawaii Offshore Expedition, they sail more than 500 miles over 10-Days to complete inter-island passages between Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii Island. WITHOUT A DOUBT, Hawaii is a challenging place to sail; IN FACT, the Bareboat charter industry does not exist anywhere in Hawaii—the general conditions prove risky for the overnight yacht-rental business. However, Paul Exner and his offshore-proven SV Solstice are prepared to give you a hands-on perspective of what it’s like to “really learn” by sailing the Hawaiian waters; when you go offshore with Mod Geo in Hawaii you cultivate this experience in a challenging place as guided by high-level coaching; you’re guaranteed to walk away with elevated confidence and lasting skills.


The inter-island legs are generally 2-Days in duration, separated by “strategy sessions” during short breaks at anchor. Each leg is long enough to encounter a variety of sailing conditions and give the student awareness of the big picture while sailing the miles needed to practice a variety of seamanship skills. When multiple passages are sailed within a 10-day period, the probability for challenge is high because the students get to experience ALL sides to a passage and repeat the entire process over a few legs; this means you can reinforce and re-practice a complete passagemaking method: 1) planning and preparation; 2) coastal departure; 3) passage; 4) coastal landfall; 5) “strategy session.”

 Paul Exner’s philosophy for bluewater sailing instruction is rooted in belief that sailors gain mastery of seamanship by repeatedly experiencing a varied barrage of oceanographic conditions, under a multitude of hands-on scenarios, reinforced by good coaching and Strategy Sessions. “Variety” is an essential ingredient in the recipe for seamanship training, and Hawaiian waters deliver predictable challenge as a sail training ground. The National Weather Service in Honolulu issues forecasts for 16 unique Coastal Marine Forecast Zones for Hawaiian waters. Oceanic waves surround Hawaii’s shores from storms as far away as the Tasman Sea or the Aleutian Islands. Sail training in Hawaii with Paul offers the perfect oceanographic classroom to achieve your bluewater objective.

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A multitude of weather patterns affect the Hawaiian Island chain … on expedition, we’ll prepare the SV Solstice to safely handle the dynamic changes in ocean currents and weather as affected by Hawaii's intricate topography. Trade Winds meander around tall active volcanoes (Mauna Kea at 13,802'); local meteorological effects also play a major role as land and sea breezes switch diurnally; cold wind accelerates down volcano sides and may build to gale-force winds within the bluewater passages between the Hawaiian Islands (the Alenuihaha Channel between Maui and Hawaii Island is known for its heavy weather).

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The Mod Geo Expedition utilizes the Modern Geographic Sailing Curriculum developed by Paul Exner over the course of his 40+ years of sailing. Using this curriculum designed for its flexibility to coach a sailor on their individual style and goal (not mandated by a rigid outline), Paul instructs and guides each sailor along their path to skipper a bluewater sailboat and lead offshore crews. The curriculum’s depth of knowledge is vast and will cover all seamanship events encountered during the expedition. The learning opportunities from actual events are reinforced during Strategy Session discussions to ensure the skills learned are theoretically-found and based on actual experience.

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Expedition Objective: Immerse oneself at sea while operating an ocean-going sailing vessel to make landfalls while sailing an inter-island Hawaiian itinerary, including channel crossings such as the Alenuihaha where serious offshore-conditions (wind, wave, current) could be faced. All passages (including over-night) will be sailed so students take responsibility for leading and keeping-watch aboard a vessel continually underway. Seamanship topics (as outlined in the Modern Geographic Sailing Curriculum) to be practiced frequently: anchoring (including landfall at night), hand-derived traditional navigation PLUS electronic chart plotting, route planning; mechanics of meteorology and weather forecasting (analysis of Surface and 500mb Reports by Ocean Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center); hand-steering by tiller and use of servo-pendulum wind-vane autopilot; piloting techniques; log entries; sail trim; sail-plan optimization; bosun & marlinespike practice; person-overboard recovery; emergency station bills; and more. Each team-member will learn how to use seamanship as a management system for making decisions at sea given real world situations we encounter … The ultimate goal for the expedition is for each team-member to greatly advance their skills and attain captain-level competency for vessels bound for blue and coastal waters.

PRICE … $5,150/person, 10-Day Expedition

ONE BERTH AVAILABLE Feb. 15-25, 2020

DEPART and RETURN … Kona, Hawaii (KOA)

Earlier Event: January 11
Expert Level Sailing