Offshore Cruising Preparation Course

Comfort, Safety and Survival

Many or those who have attended this course in the past have commented saying:

“Wow , I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I attended this course”

“We are sure we will save a lot more that the cost of attending the course over the coming months and years by avoiding costly mistakes”

What is the purpose of this course?

Along with rewards, adventures and discoveries that come with offshore cruising there are also some unique challenges.

Gaining some insight into these challenges we believe will allow you to be better prepared to manage them when they arise.

"By attending this course you are investing in both your cruising safety and enjoyment."

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About the Course

The goal of the Down Under Rally & Sail South Pacific in regard to this course is to provide all those who are interested in making offshore passages with the view to spending time cruising in different countries and or in in remote locations with information, skills and the confidence to achieve your cruising goals. We believe that over the duration of your cruising term you will receive your investment in this course back many times over.

Who are the presenters and why are they qualified to be presenting this Seminar?

We first met John and Lyn Martin back in 2009 when we made our first offshore voyage, without their encouragement and support I can honestly say we would not have been where we have been, seen what we have seen, or be doing what we are doing. 

These guys have salt water in their veins. Like most of us they began coastal cruising. For John & Lyn this was back in the 70's and 80's and they did so in the often less than tranquil waters of New Zealand. In the early 90`s they bought their current boat Windflower and after a couple of seasons getting to know her they set off in 1995 on their first offshore voyage aboard Windflower with Tonga and Fiji being their destinations. Their two young children cruised with them. 

In 2007 John and Lyn made cruising their life when they become the directors of The Island Cruising Association (ICA) of New Zealand and have since helped literally hundreds of people, including us, achieve their cruising dreams by providing information, support and assistance.

Late in 2017 John & Lyn sold the ICA and have launched Sail South Pacific (SSP). The focus of SSP is on providing services to the international cruising community including their range of innovative and first of a kind cruising guide apps. For more information about Sail South Pacific please visit:

With over 80,000 nm under their keels John & Lyn have “been there & done that”. Better still they are still doing it, and this is why we have chosen them to come along and share their wealth of information with you.

Course Content

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The Course is held over 2 days.

Day one - 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Preparing the Vessel

  • Ship Registration – guide to ships registry

  • Category 1 –What is ‘Cat 1’ and how does it apply to you and your vessel

  • Safety Gear – vessel specific – EPIRBS, MOB devices

  • Rigging – for extended cruising & safety including deck layout, preventer’s and more.

  • Sails - selection, balance, tuning, maintenance, furling systems.

  • Anchors & Anchoring –how many, types, warps, windlass

  • Water treatment - filtration, purification, disinfectant, water makers.

  • Vessel Systems - plumbing, gas, fuel

  • Battery Systems - capacity, measuring power consumption, trouble shooting, preventative maintenance and charging systems

  • Power generation – How much do you need generate and pros and cons of various options including wind, solar and mechanical

  • Electronics – radios, charting, GPS, Radar, autopilot, AIS, etc.

  • Steering - Tiller, wheel, wind vanes, autopilots & emergency systems

  • Diesel Engines – troubleshooting, spares

  • Fuel systems – Filters, injectors, avoiding ‘bugs & bad fuel’

  • Navigation – basic equipment requirements

  • Charts – tables, filing, requirements

At Sea & Offshore Communications methods

  • Voice Communication options including Satellite, Radios – VHF/ SSB/ HAM & Radio Schedules

  • Electronic communications including email at sea – why is it important?

  • Vessel tracking and position reporting

  • Computer’s, Tablets, Phones and apps

Day Two 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Preparing the People

  • Sea Survival – Coastal and Offshore

  • Watch keeping & safety protocols

  • Safety Gear – Personal EPIRBS and MOB devises, personal AIS

  • Seasickness – Remedies, management & avoidance

  • Log Keeping – How to keep a ships log and why plus basic record keeping

  • To Crew or not to crew; Pros and cons of having crew aboard, where to find crew and your responsibilities.

  • Sailing to a schedule – Recipe for disaster

  • Medical Kits and medicines

  • Money Matters: Credit cards, foreign currency, Power of Attorney

  • Insurance: Vessel & Travel

  • Staying Sane – Identifying roles, communicating aboard & sharing small spaces

 Personal Health

  • Preparing and maintaining the Mind & Body

Weather Forecasting - Coastal & Offshore

  • Weather information- Sources of weather info, how to interpret and use weather info.

  • Passage preparation & planning

Search and Rescue

  • How to Contact, Response times, authority & scope of SAR.

Sourcing products and services

  • Where to get great discounts and deals on marine and cruising lifestyle products and services

Managing Heavy weather & Emergencies at sea

  • Emergencies at Sea – fire, grounding, heavy weather, hull damage, leaks, MOB practice

  • Repairs at Sea – rigging loss, steering loss, towing, being towed and abandoning ship

  • Heavy Weather – storm rigs, storm sails, heaving to, laying a hull, sea anchors, and drogues

Destination research

  • Cruising Guides & Reference Books – recommended, pilots, reference manuals, cruising guides

 Provisioning (Food and clothing)

  • What to take, where to put it & what is available when you get where we are going.

This is your opportunity to learn what you need to know from people who know what you need to know !

Course Fee:

  • $625.00 per couple - Recommended as both people who will be making the voyage should learn the skills we will share. (Inc. GST & payment processing fees )

  • $385.00 per single (Inc. GST & payment processing fees)

Course Fee Includes:

  • Two Day course - Tea, Coffee, Water - Course Compendium including Cruising Companion files (USB)

Special offers for all those who attend.

  1. Free entry to our Sail SE Asia & The SW Pacific Info Sessions which will be held on the Saturday Morning before the courses at the same location as the course. Info sessions commence at 8:30 am – 11:30 noon.

  2. Samples and Special offers and discounts on marine related products and services from selected Down Under Rally partner businesses.

  3. 1 year email support. Email us with any questions you might have or advise you might need about any topic related to offshore cruising and or vessel preparation for 1 year after the course completion.

  4. $100 voucher to sample 12 delicious luxury wines handcrafted from boutique, independent winemakers. 

Please note ; 

  • No refunds unless event is cancelled by the event organisers.

  • No ticket sales at the venue.

  • Tickets can only be purchased online by completing and submitting the form below prior to the event.

Interested in attending the next Offshore Cruising Preparation Course?

Please just complete and submit the form below and we will send you details about where & when we will be holding the next round.

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