Mahina Expeditions Transitioning from Owning to Chartering

Friends of Swiftsure Yachts, John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal of Mahina Expeditions, have recently announced that they are putting their beloved 1996 Hallberg-Rassy 46 Mahina Tiare III up for sale in New Zealand and will transition their expedition business to a charter format. Here’s the full report from John…

What’s New for Mahina Expeditions: Switching from Owning to Chartering, and selling Mahina Tiare III after 24 years!

Mahina Expedition’s published expedition schedule was to have us sailing Mahina Tiare III — the Hallberg-Rassy 46 we had built in 1996 and launched for the January 1997 Seattle Boat Show — from New Zealand to Alaska and home to San Juan Island to sell in September 2023. Our future plans were to then offer 9-day ocean training expeditions from 2024 and beyond on chartered boats in our favorite sailing destinations around the world; Scotland’s wild offshore islands, the Azores, New Zealand, Tahiti and Ireland’s wild and rugged west coast.

The arrival of Covid-19 and subsequent global pandemic fast-forwarded our objectives and inspired us to offer four 7-day training expeditions in the summer of 2020 utilizing a Jeanneau 45.1 that we chartered from San Juan Sailing in Bellingham, Washington. As these expeditions quickly sold out and our students felt they gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in a short time, this new sail-training program proved successful.

In September 2020, Lothar Taylor from San Juan Sailing mentioned that one of their former boat owners was in the process of purchasing Arctic Monkey, the Garcia Exploration 45 Swiftsure Yachts had listed, and asked if we’d be interested in chartering her. 

The Garcia Exploration 45 Obelix (former Arctic Monkey).

As it’s currently not possible to conduct our training expeditions in the South Pacific we’ve decided to change course and sell Mahina Tiare III now ( and are conducting ten 7 to 9-day expeditions running from April 28 to October 4 on the Garcia. Details at: All 60 berths have sold out and the majority of those signed up have already ordered or are considering purchasing either a Garcia or Allures for their own adventures!


For 2022, we’ve contracted to pick up Obelix (new name for Arctic Monkey) in Ketchikan, Alaska on June 24 from owners Greg and Magda, and sail her back to Bellingham in two 9-day training expeditions, the first to Port Hardy, on the north end of Vancouver Island, and the second leg down the wild west coast of Vancouver Island and back to Bellingham. We’ll then take a break before completing our 2022 season with three 9-day expeditions from Bellingham, out the Strait of Juan de Fuca and up the west coast of Vancouver Island to Ucluelet and back.

Even more exciting is the news that we’ve just booked an Elan 43 based in Oban, Scotland for six weeks. Starting April 23 in Oban, we’re offering four 9-day training expeditions.

Leg 1: April 23-May 2 has us sailing through Scotland’s historic and gorgeous Inner Hebrides out to Barra, the southernmost of the Outer Hebrides (and home to John’s family castle) then out to St. Kilda, the most isolated island in Britain where Amanda’s great uncle was one of the last inhabitants evacuated, and ending in Stornoway on Harris Island.

Leg 2: We’ll sail from Stornoway NE to the Orkney Islands, ending in Kirkwall, a very exciting and historic port.

Leg 3: The goal will be to sail to Fair Isle, a tiny, inhabited island we’ve loved visiting twice with Mahina Tiare, and then, weather and sea conditions permitting, north to the southern islands of Shetland before a long offshore passage back to Stornoway.

Leg 4: This last leg will see us visiting the isle of Skye and sailing back through the Inner Hebrides to Oban.

All 2022 expeditions in both the Pacific Northwest and Scotland are 9 days and $4000 per person.

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