Ocean sailing - a guide to newcomers

Ocean sailing: what to expect

An ocean sailing holiday or sailing course is incredibly special and can give you experiences, skills and memories that will last a lifetime. There truly is nothing like gazing up at millions of stars while the wind speeds the boat along or watching huge Atlantic rollers pass by, hundreds of miles from land.

 

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Which yachts do you use?

Unlike almost all other sailing companies, we only use thoroughbred ocean going yachts. Our Clipper 60s and Bowman 57 were designed to sail the oceans of the world and all have done many full circumnavigations. They are incredibly well designed and built and are fast, powerful and comfortable inside. They will soak up bad sea states, deal with strong wind and provide you with a safe and comforting environment in even the worst conditions (much as we try to avoid them!) These yachts are expensive and hard to find, which is why most other companies use standard charter yachts such as Beneteau, Jeanneau, Bavarias and such like. Such yachts can certainly be capable of crossing oceans, but it is not what they were primarily designed for and if the weather take a turn for the worse, you will certainly know about it.

Read more about our yachts here

 

Will we find ourselves sailing in a storm?

The chances of this happening are very slim, but it can happen. We have very accurate and up to date weather information. Combined with a schedule that allows us plenty of room to manoeuvre, we can avoid most heavy weather. Make no mistake, a storm - Force 10 on the Beaufort scale - is a ferocious event that will test any yacht and crew to their maximum. It is not something to be sought out and we pick our routes based on the best season for sailing in that area. Most of our ocean sailing courses and holidays have us at sea for around five days at a time, and with modern weather forecasts, it is very  rare indeed that we cannot pick a weather window which gives us some glorious open ocean sailing.

 

Will I be safe out at sea?

We are rigorous about safety on our yachts. They are coded to Cat 0 rating, which is the highest safety rating possible. All crew have state of the art ocean going life jackets (not common on many yachts) and are provided with Fladen immersion suits. These are not only lovely and warm to sail in when it gets cold, but will also hugely increase your chances of survival should we ever have to abandon ship. Again the provision of such kit is not common on other sailing yachts. The skipper and mate are both hugely experienced ocean sailors and the yacht is equipped with a large medical kit, sat comms and trackers. Bearing in mind that you are heading far offshore, this is as safe as one can be.

 

What is ocean sailing like?

The dream of being out on the open ocean, far from land, is one so many people have had, but never turned into reality. The crew is totally engaged with the wind, with the waves and with the life of the ocean. It is a time when all the usual worries and stresses of land disappear and one becomes almost another person. You will find you are resourceful in ways you could never imagine and that you have all the inner strength you need if ever things get tougher. There are glorious champagne days, when the sun is shining, the wind is a perfect Force 6 on the the beam and the boat is charging along with the crew whooping and smiling. Other days, the clouds will be thick and dark and the winds much stronger and colder. Now is the time to put on one of our super warm immersion suits, clip on to the safety lines, and marvel at the power of the wind and sea. It can be un-nerving at first as one hears the shriek of the wind in the rigging and the crashing waves all around, but one quickly adjusts and it is a scene that quickly reveals its own magic and beauty. It becomes obvious the yacht can more than cope, that the crew have more than enough in them not just to keep going but to crack jokes, make some lovely warm meals from down in the galley, and sitting up on deck drinking hot cocoa and seeing out the gale. Night time brings it own challenges, and as the on watch give yo a shake in your warm sleeping bag and a 20 minute warning, it can be hard to force oneself awake and struggle out of the warm bag and into all your clothing, foul weather gear and life jacket. Soon enough though everyone's awake and it can be awe inspiring to head upon deck and see one of the greatest star scapes one can ever see. Millions of stars providing a timeless canopy that so many ocean sailors have seen before. Night sailing is special, and one takes the helm and feels the power of the yacht surging through the waves, it is an exhilarating feel and memories will be being made for life. No matter how special the night sky, dawn at sea is always welcome. One can see the deck again and all the lines. and the majestic glowing orb of the Sun as it peers over the horizon is so welcome. Soon the air is warming, there's the smell of breakfast being cooked in the galley and another day on the ocean begins - but not before the night watch head down for another good sleep!

 

Final thoughts

You do need to be aware that there is no getting off at the end of each day, and so you need to be either comfortable with what life is like on a sailing yacht or happy just to throw yourself into an unfamiliar environment and a different way of life for a few days! Ocean sailing can be blissful with steady winds and hot sun and it can also be wet and windy and quite a test of your energy levels and stamina for a while. Sailing 24 hours a day, you will be in a watch system that gives you 4-6 hours off at a time and until you are used to this you may feel quite tired on days 1-2. We may also be heeled over for considerable periods of time and that can make daily life much slower and a bit more of a challenge.  Obviously, once we're out on the open ocean, that's it and you're committed. This is all what makes the highs of ocean sailing what they are.

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We operate a strict no smoking policy

The smoking of any form of tobacco is forbidden on board or on the dock next to the boat. We also very strongly discourage the smoking of any tobacco at any time between the start and end date as the smell comes on-board into confined living space. The use of e-cigarettes is fine.

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The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 for WZ Lmited t/a Rubicon 3, and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for the following: 1. non-flight packages and 2. flight inclusive packages that commence outside of the EU, which are sold to customers outside of the EU. ABTOT cover provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if you are abroad.  Please note that bookings made outside the EU are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Rubicon 3. In the unlikely event that you require assistance whilst abroad due to our financial failure, please call our 24/7 helpline on 01702 811397 and advise you are a customer of an ABTOT protected travel company. You can access The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 here.

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ABTOT logo RYA traiinng centre logo
Ocean sailing - a guide to newcomers
No smoking sign
ABTOT logo RYA traiinng centre logo
Ocean sailing - a guide to newcomers
No smoking sign
ABTOT logo RYA traiinng centre logo
Ocean sailing - a guide to newcomers
No smoking sign
ABTOT logo RYA traiinng centre logo
Ocean sailing - a guide to newcomers
No smoking sign
ABTOT logo RYA traiinng centre logo