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On the Wind Sailing

'On the Wind,’ is THE podcast about offshore sailing, where professional sailor & journalist Andy Schell interviews sailors from around the world to discover what inspires them in an effort to inspire you! Andy has interviewed everyone from legends like Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, to tech gurus like Nigel Calder, boat builders like Magnus Rassy (of Hallberg Rassy), inspirational family sailors like Totem, YouTube stars SV Delos & Andy's personal favorite, Arctic sailor and octogenarian Bob Shepton. Thanks for listening & hold fast!

Feb 16, 2016

#138. I sat down with John & Amanda Neal of Mahina Expeditions, two of my favorite people in sailing and a huge inspiration both philosophically and practically in building my own offshore passage business with Isbjorn. This is the first of several podcasts I recorded in front of a live audience at the Toronto Boat Show in January, so you’ll hear some questions pop in from the handful of people we had in attendance.

John & Amanda have varying and extremely interesting backgrounds that led them to the place they are today in sailing. John grew up on the west coast and did a bunch of single-handed sailing on his 27’ Albin Vega - the same kind of boat that Matt Rutherford completed his Around the America’s voyage on, by the way - and began giving lectures on how to go ocean sailing. He also became a pilot, a hobby he continues today. Meanwhile Amanda, half a world away in New Zealand, grew up cruising with her family and eventually wound up crewing on the first-ever all-female team in the Whitbread Race aboard Maiden.

Their paths crossed many years later and since then the couple have sailed hundreds of thousands of miles together in their Hallberg-Rassy’s they call Mahina. Their voyages have taken them and over 1,000 crew members literally to the ends of the earth, from Arctic Norway to Antarctica and round the Horn over half a dozen times. They are consummate professionals and people to look up to if you’re interested in going offshore. Their website,, is a treasure trove of information on all things offshore from boat design to checklists and everything in between, so be sure to check it out.

As for our offshore passages, Mia and I only have 3 spots left for all of 2016 on Isbjorn. Just today we added another Caribbean trip for March of 2017, a week-long, downwind passage from Grenada to St Croix and the BVI following our trans-Atlantic from the Canaries. This week we’re gearing up for the Caribbean 600 Race, and we just completed the first two passages of 2016 with an awesome crew, despite some setbacks (check out the passages logs page on if you haven’t heard about it). You can find all of our passage info and sign up on

Thanks again for listening and I greatly appreciate the support of both my podcast fans and the awesome crews that have come sailing with us so far! Huge thanks to Ryan, Todd, Dan, Cicci, Greg, Andy & Mike for making the first two passages of 2016 so memorable and fun.

With that, enjoy episode 138 with John & Amanda Neal!

This episode is sponsored by Forbes Horton Yachts. Visit