May 2, 2018

Opening of the Okeanos Maritime Training Center and first trainings

The Okeanos Maritime Training Center opened its doors in Auckland at the beginning of February and welcomed the first group of students from Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Tahiti.

According to Okeanos philosophy, the trainings are mostly based on a hands-on learning but they are now backed up by a theoretic approach in a classroom, led by experienced and competent trainers, such as the fleet Commander and Pwo Navigator Peia Patai or Graeme Kendall, yachtman who solo circumnavigated the globe.

Despite the different levels of competences among the students, the three months spent in New Zealand have been completing and refreshing their knowledge not only about sailing itself but about the Waka overall.

In fact, the students had the possibility to participate in the construction of a Waka Motu in the boatyard Lloyd Stevenson under the direction of experienced boat builders and so to realize and acquire the skills necessary in this process such as, for example, tools manipulation, wood work and lashing.

Okeanos Vanuatu crew lashing at the boatyard

At the same time a theoretic preparation about safety practices and navigation was going on in the classroom, combining both common yachtman knowledge on a “day skipper ticket” level and specific Okeanos good-practices, based on years of sailing experience on Okeanos-built Waka.

The theoretical training included the study of the Okeanos Safety and Training Manual, participation in firefighting classes, knowledge acquisition concerning basic knots and anchoring, beacons (e.g. marks and lights of boats at night) and basic route rules, glossary of nautical terms and what to do in case of rough seas, tides and weather, charts and compass and emergency procedures and safety practices.

This Okeanos Seamanship Course ended in a final exam that all the students passed with brilliant results.

Doing so, they all received a certificate delivered by the Okeanos Training Center itself and a firefighter certificate delivered by Firewatch, a fire equipment specialist company.

Okeanos Vanuatu crew member Winnifa Mael with Okeanos CTO, Pwo navigator and chief captain Peia Patai (left) and Okeanos Foundation CEO Dieter Paulmann (right) at the training center certificate ceremony in Auckland

On the 5th of April the Waka Motu Okeanos Waa’qab was launched, thus becoming a floating classroom and a training tool for the students, who had the possibility to practice what they learned in theory.

Launching of the new Okeanos Waa’qab

Okeanos Vanuatu crew and trainer India Tabellini onboard Okeanos Waa’qab with Okeanos Founder and Chairman Dieter Paulmann

“We need more than some weeks at sea to become good seamen and we’ll never stop learning, but this training gives us a solid basis on which we can build up our knowledge and skills” says Winnifa Mael, female crew member from Vanuatu. “Living together and working together I got a new vision of what teamwork means. If we do a good job, we will all be happy, but if even only one of us doesn’t put a full effort into the work, it will bring us all down. It’s a responsibility to your team to give your best.”

Okeanos Vanuatu crew channeling in front of the skytower in Auckland

Cooking taro onboard

Okeanos Training Center Schedule

From February 2nd to April 5th (working days) Peia Patai, Professional boatbuilders from the boatyard Boatyard Lloyds and Stevensons Boatbuilding (wood work, tools handeling, varnish work, lashing) The students are teached how to participate in the construction of the Waka and integrate a team of professional boatbuilders.
Lessons on 3 days Peia Patai Okeanos Training Center Okeanos Safety and Training Manual (mainly base of the philosophy of Okeanos, safety practices and the rules onboard the Waka) The students get a copy of the Manual each and they are asked to study it on their own too.
March 28th, during 2 hours Dean Burrell, Firewatch Fire Equipment Specialist Company Okeanos training Center Firefighting class (basic principles of fire science, uderstanding fire procedures, differences between fires, differences between fire extinguishers, practical use of fire extinguishers) It’s interesting to get a theoric and practical part and get specific answers from a professional.
Day 1 (March 28th, 2 hours) Graeme Kendall Okeanos Training Center Basic knots  and anchoring The students are requested to practice the knots on their own too.
Day 2  (March 29th, 3 hours) Graeme Kendall Okeanos Training Center Beacons and basic route rules (marks and lights of boats at night, basic route rules)
Day 3 ( April 3rd, 3 hours) Graeme Kendall Okeanos Training Center Glossary of nautical terms and  what to do in case of rough seas Glossary is important to make sure that everybody understands the technical terms.
April 5th Peia Patai Okeanos Waa’qab Launching of Okeanos Waa’qab and channeling


Practicing beacons and route rules
April 6th and 7th Peia Patai Okeanos Waa’qab Loading and maintenance of the waka (whipping, line handeling) The students have the possibility to acquire skills for maintenance of the waka.
April 10th and 11th Peia Patai Boatyard Lloyds and Stevnsons Lashing of Okeanos Messenger
April 12th Peia Patai Okeanos Training Center Preparation of a sail (sail plan, weather forecast) Training captains learned how to prepare a sail plan. Preparation of the Waka made by the entire crew.
April 13th, 14th, 15th Peia Patai Okeanos Waa’qab Steering, change head sail, tacking, anchoring, anchor watch The students have a possibility to practice sailing techniques and sail handeling
Day 4 (April 17th, 3 hours) Graeme Kendall Okeanos Training Center Tides and weather (how tides work, what high a low tide is, difference between spring tide and neap tide, how to get weather forecast, bases of high and low pressure)
April 17th Boatyard Varnishing, sending The students are involved in the construction of ‘Okeanos Messenger’, a new Okeanos waka
Day 5 (April 18th, 3 hours) Graeme Kendall Okeanos Training Center Charts and compass (how to read a chart, latitude/longitude, distances on a chart, concept of variation) Only a theoric approach is not enough to fully understand some concepts, a chart is requested to practice.
April 18th Okeanos Waa’qab Changing rig and basic maintenance (cleaning, minor maintenance, lindseed oil the deck)
Day 6 (April 19th, 3 hours) Graeme Kendall Okeanos Training Center Emergencies  on board (distress signals,material and calls, safety practices before departure, hypothermia)
Exam day (April 20th, 3 hours) Graeme Kendall Okeanos Training Center Exam about all the program
April 24th Peia Patai Okeanos Waa’qab Training motorsail, channeling, steering
April 26th Survey Okeanos Waa’qab Survey Inspection preparation Acquire additional skills and experience that are part of captain’s responsabilities



Blog by India Tabellini, Crew Member and Trainer at Okeanos Foundation, 27 April 2018