Learn skills, gain confidence !

Turn your cruising dreams into cruising reality

Many of 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 than the cost of attending the course over the coming months and years as we are now aware how to avoid making simple but costly mistakes”

What is the purpose of this course?

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

Gaining some insight into these challenges 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."

About the Presenters

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John & Leanne Hembrow

John & Leanne Hembrow have been full time live-aboard cruisers for the past 10 years and have over 35,000 ocean miles under their keels.

They first departed Australia in 2009 aboard a 15m alloy monohull, Migaloo, and sailed to New Caledonia , Vanuatu and New Zealand.

They sold Migaloo in 2010 and purchased a 16m Fibreglass monohull, Red Sky, in California USA and spent the next 4 years cruising the west coast of the USA & Central America before departing Panama in 2012 and crossed the pacific visiting the Galapagos Islands, Marquesas Islands, Tuamotu Archipelago, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Tonga & Fiji.

In 2014 they sold Red Sky in Fiji and purchased their current vessel a 15m Catamaran Songlines.

In 2015 they began the Down Under Rally and have since assisted over 200 vessels to make the voyage, many for the first time, from Australia to New Caledonia and Vanuatu and back to Australia.

During this course John & Leanne share the knowledge gained during the many ocean passages they have made in all sorts of conditions on both monohulls and catamarans along with experiences they have had arriving and cruising in many different countries.

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Lisa Blair

Australian Adventurer, Keynote Speaker, Author and Multi -World Record Holding Sailor.

Photo Credit: Matt Reed

Back in 2005 Lisa decided to change her course in life and gather the skills to become a solo sailor. Lisa since clocked up more than 50,000 nautical miles of ocean sailing before embarking on her record making voyage.

After Circumnavigating the world in the Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race Lisa went on to work for Alex Thomson Racing on their 60 foot racing yacht sponsored by Hugo Boss. She then acquired her RYA/ MCA Yacht Master Offshore, a Master Class 5 (Australian Skipper ticket) and her MED 3 (Marine Engineering).

Lisa worked as skipper of the 68 foot long, Ex America’s Cup, Racing Yacht Southern Cross sailing around the Whitsunday Islands, in 2014 Lisa sailed twice across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand SOLO clocking up almost 3 000 nm of solo sailing experience in preparation for her Antarctica record.

In 2017, 72 days into her record making solo voyage and ¾ the way around Antarctica, Lisa suffered a dramatic and life threatening dismasting in storm conditions more than 1000nm from land. Lisa managed to save her yacht, was rendered fuel from a passing container ship, built a jury rig and motor sailed into Cape Town, SA. Two months later Lisa re-started her voyage, crossed her track at the position of dismasting and continued back to Australia. On July 25th Lisa made history and became the first woman to sail solo and unassisted around Antarctica with one stop.

Lisa has faced down 15 metre waves and 80 knots of wind alone in the Southern Ocean and because of her risk assessment and disaster management, she lived to tell the tale. This is a first person account offering a wealth of knowledge that can be applied as a guideline to personal cruising and keep your vessel and your crew safe on an ocean voyage.

During this course Lisa will be sharing her firsthand account of her dismasting, building a jury rig, and transferring fuel from a container ship as well as storm survival techniques such as use of drogues and heaving too.

About the Course

The goal of the Down Under Rally 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.

Course Content


The Course is held over 2 days.

Day one: 9:30am – 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: Tips 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

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: A 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

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

  • Weather Forecasting: Coastal & Offshore

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

  • Weather routing for Passage Planning & Passage Management

Day Two 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Lisa Blair - Ocean Preparation and Emergency Procedures Workshop

  • Understanding your vessel and its strength or limitations,

  • Ways of communication at sea including satellite systems,

  • Food preparation for an extended voyage,

  • Risk assessment of your vessel and voyage,

  • Using your risk assessment to design your preparation plan or refit schedule,

  • Storm management and preparation,

  • Use of different drogues and how to set up your vessel to use a drogue,

  • How to heave to and the effects on your vessel while heaving to in storm conditions,

  • Planning for all disaster scenarios including knock down, collision, dismasting, flooding, loss of rudder, severe storms, and abandon ship.

  • Managing a dismasting, ways to remove mast and what equipment options work or don’t work,

  • Discussion on building a jury rig and options for this,

  • Conducting a fuel transfer at sea in rough conditions,

  • Managing a flood or broken through-hull fitting,

  • Ways to patch damage to hull as a temporary measure,

Personal Health

  • Preparing and maintaining the Mind & Body

Search And Rescue

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

Provisioning (Food And Clothing)

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

Sourcing Products And Services

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

Destination Research

  • Cruising Guides & Reference Books: Recommended, pilots, reference manuals, cruising guides

Course Fee:

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

  • $385.00 for one person (Inc. GST & payment processing fees)

Course Fee Includes:

  • Tea, Coffee, Water,

  • 1 x Course Compendium including note pad, pen

  • 1 x USB card with electronic copy of course content & other useful reference articles.

Plus special offers for all those who attend:

  1. Free entry to our Sail SW Pacific Info Session

  2. Product Samples and Special offers/ 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.

Course Dates & Venues:

  • Gold Coast QLD

    Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th February 2020

    08:30 - 17:00 each day.

    Southport Yacht Club, 1 Macarthur Parade, Main Beach, Queensland, 4217

  • Newport NSW:

    Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd February 2020

    08:30 - 17:00 each day.

    Royal Motor Yacht Club, 46 Prince Alfred Parade, Newport, NSW, 2106.

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.