Coaching testimonials

The goal of our coaching service is to help more people successfully transition into the cruising life and realize the dream. Here’s feedback from a few of the 100+ we’ve helped to bridge to a life afloat, and links to reach out and ask them for yourselves if you’d like


Working with Behan and Jamie was one of the best decisions we made, actually I’m going to go as far as to say it was the best decision we made – bar actually quitting the rat race to go cruising. 

They are both such amazing people and so knowledgeable in all areas of the cruising lifestyle. From advice regarding boat choice to passage planning, budget to safety, they had it all covered in a timely and professional manner. 

I honestly don’t know if we could have pulled it off without them and if we did we would’ve made a lot of mistakes, which would have cost us money in the long run. Both my husband and I highly recommend Totem’s coaching service, regardless of your level of experience, if you need assistance in making your dream a reality, give them a shout, you won’t regret it!

— Erin, Dave, Hamish, Jack, & Christian: Sailing to Roam (Instagram / Facebook)




Behan and Jamie helped us winnow down our ‘boat list” – what felt like an overwhelming task – and then coached us through the roller coaster of our buying process before we closed on our boat in August, 2017. The wisdom they’ve earned through thousands of nautical miles, and their positivity held us in solid stead as we progressed toward becoming liveaboards in June 2018. We continue to work with them as we prepare to cruise full-time in 2020-21. Our coaching dollars have been our best boat money spent!”

— Lavonne & Allan: SV Vinyasa


We have been dreaming about sailing the world for at least 20 years now.  After reading Voyaging with Kids (and buying extra copies to give to our families), we decided to put our house on the market and go for it.  We then signed up for coaching with Behan and Jamie.  Their advice though video chat and email has been invaluable to us.  As we shop for our new home afloat, we send them listings and Jamie picks them apart with a fine-tooth comb.  They have helped us with questions ranging from finances to… pizza stones!  If you are thinking of making the leap, I wouldn’t do it without them!

— Kim, Justin, Tyler, and Evie: Life off the Deep End (Instagram / Facebook)


My husband Dan and I have been dreaming of sailing around the Caribbean for 20 years. Dan has been sailing all his life where I am more new to this.  I have been following Totem’s blog for five years. Behan’s stories have been inspiring us along the way and providing such a good perspective on how our  life sailing will be with our kids.

Behan and two co-authors finally came out with a book “Voyaging with kids”.  I was SO EXCITED! It’s a wealth of information and a really useful guide and resource for sailing with families.

When I read that Behan and her husband Jamie would provide coaching services for families like us we contacted them and couldn’t wait to leverage their knowledge and experience. And they delivered so much on their promise! They exceeded our expectations half way through the first call. We couldn’t wait to have our calls with them and learn everything there is to know about getting reading for sailing with our boys.

One of the first topic was the right boat for our family. We went from buying a coastal boat to getting a blue water boat.  If it wasn’t for Jamie and Behan we would have spent $200k on the wrong boat.  This is an enormous ROI (return on investment) on the small investment the coaching fee is. 

They patiently worked with us and even checked a boat in the location they were on our behalf. Jamie didn’t sugar coat anything. He was giving us his true opinion even if it wasn’t what we really wanted to hear.  This again is priceless.  Buying a boat can become emotional and having them on our side to help bring logic to the equation was exactly what we needed.  Over and over again I told them that their advice is invaluable and after we purchased our boat we are still talking to them regularly and getting advice on equipment and routing.

I recommend Behan and Jamie to anyone wanting to sail and interested in pursuing their dream.

— Melissa, Dan, Tristan, and Nathan; contact upon request 


Behan & Jamie have become an invaluable part of our cruising preparations. We are a large family and they have been willing to help answer any and all questions, and even save us money in the long run. The advice given has been practical with the perfect balance of cost saving ideas and what is truly needed to get cruising. They’ve also put us in contact with other families preparing for the same. We are so thankful for the support the Giffords have offered us in the last several months!

— Steph, Kevin, Mairead, Lilah, Clara, and Cal   Live the Voyage (Instagram / Facebook)




Reasons why we 100% recommend Jamie and Behan’s coaching service to aspiring cruisers

Financial: Totem’s monthly rate more than paid for itself in several ways.

  • Quite a few times we found a boat that looked great online, and we would have bought flights to go see it. But using his experience and keen eye, Jamie gave us questions to ask the broker, and the answers we received made us realize the boat was not worth the trip for us.
  • We saved money on unnecessary gear we were considering (and avoided hemorrhaging cash on the boat we bought in order to make it feel ready for us).

Time saved:

  • We wanted to get cruising quickly, and Totem helped us prioritize.
  • Their advice on things we could do to prepare for our cruise before we even owned a boat (immunizations, passport and driver’s license renewals, credit card expirations) saved time – these things would have been much more difficult when we were already cruising.


  • Learning how to “hone down” thousands of Yachtworld listings to a few that could actually work for us.
  • Recommendations for weather info sources (invaluable to have this information from experienced cruisers)
  • Recommendations for piloting/navigation resources


  • Through their extensive network of cruisers, Totem introduced us to a friend with a sistership to our model who has also been a fantastic resource.
  • When we were looking for boats, they knew of several within their network that had not been listed on Yachtworld.
  • Their private Facebook “Raft Up” group has been an ongoing source of information and support.


  • When we flew to Grenada to look at a boat, we stayed on Totem. (CLIENT BONUS!!)
  • When you are planning your cruise from a landlocked town, not near any other cruisers, it is easy to feel isolated. But working with Jamie and Behan and having a glimpse into their lives provided a support we didn’t know we needed during those last few months before we cast off.

Last but certainly not least:

  • They are just good people.

A little context: we write this as somewhat experienced cruisers (a season in the Bahamas before kids), with a background in the marine industry.

— Katie, Berry and kids; contact information upon request.


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