Back to All Events

Bluewater Skipper Expedition

modern geographic sail training.jpg


 Paul Exner gives the following advice to skippers seeking bluewater instruction:

 Many sailors ask me what it takes to become a successful bluewater skipper. I’ve sailed for over 40 years and I too wonder when we’re ready to safely take a crew and vessel to sea. I tell my students that there’s no instruction scheme to follow that guarantees they’ll become a successful bluewater skipper. A person’s leadership confidence is different for each of us. Bluewater sailors must master a thousand details about how offshore vessels operate. We must understand a thousand more seamanship details so we can fluidly use our raw experience to combine skills and concepts into a sequence of actions we use to react to any situation encountered while bluewater sailing.

 Experience is a great teacher, and guided-experience provides the best bluewater sailing instruction. I’ve created an instructional method that greatly improves a bluewater skipper’s success to lead a crew and vessel offshore, routinely and reliably. A method is not a commodity, and instruction is not equally delivered. A student can pass a course by demonstrating individual skills, but completely lack awareness and decision making ability when it comes to applying their knowledge. My bluewater instruction method and coaching talent guides skippers to act soundly and safely by understanding the seamanship scenario at its core, so the applied skills make a sensical solution.

My students will immerse themselves in a 9-day Bluewater Skipper Instruction expedition, sailing inter-island passages between the Hawaiian islands. We’ll practice the art of seamanship in coastal waters and while making passage between the Big Island, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu. The passagemaking aspect of my instructional method is excellent because the passages we’ll make are not easy, but I will guide my students by preparing them to use safe methods with a keen understanding of the fundamentals about the tasks we must undertake.

 The expedition sails aboard Solstice and will anchor in remote bays surrounded by white and black sand where old volcanic lava abutt the Pacific as it teems with marine life. A multitude of weather patterns will affect us and we experience how to prepare a vessel to safely handle the dynamic changes in ocean currents and weather as affected by Hawaii's intricate topography. Trade winds will meander and mingle around active volcanoes that reach 13,802'. Localized meteorological effects also play a major role as land and sea breezes switch diurnally, and cold air accelerates down the sides of volcanoes that sometimes build to gale-force winds along coastal areas and within the bluewater passages. All instruction and experiences encountered during the expedition will build skill and confidence in the bluewater skipper.

bluewater skipper instruction helm.jpg
Exploration is the essence of the human spirit.
— Frank Borman: Commander of the first mission to fly around the moon.
modern geographic pristine hawaii anchorage.jpg
modern geographic anchoring.jpg

My students will receive high-level, hands-on coaching while participating in every aspect of the expedition; they will learn to manage themselves and be responsible for components of the expedition they’re tasked to prepare for and handle; they’ll receive advanced instruction, guidance, and debriefed coaching.

 The expedition departs from the Kailua Pier on the Big Island of Hawaii. We’ll plan routes and sail them. Everything we do will be hands-on: weather forecasting; coastal navigation, sail handling, piloting, night sailing, and more.

 Paul's philosophy for bluewater 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 leadership, coaching, and routine debrief. Hawaii offers a challenging training ground for students of seamanship; for example: the National Weather Service cites 16 unique Coastal Marine Forecast Zones in Hawaiian waters alone! Also, Wave Forecasts for Hawaii shores are the result of storm events from as far as the Tasman Sea (5,000 miles away), and beyond. Sail training in Hawaii with Paul Exner offers the perfect hands-on, experiential learning classroom to advance your sailing skill.

Every sail-training expedition 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 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 live aboard a sailboat on a bluewater passage, reinforced frequently by discussion with the whole team to ensure the information learned during the expedition is well found. Explore Hawaii as you advance your sailing skill.


Earlier Event: September 22
Hawaii to Kauai