Ocean Sailing: Spain to Madeira and the Canaries
November 09-22 2020: Watch Leader (£2,149)
NO PRIOR SAILING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
JOIN ALONE OR IN A GROUP
Spectacular ocean sailing from NW Spain to the Canaries, via Madeira.
Two wonderful weeks of offshore sailing and close to 1000nm in the logbook. Warm winter sun makes this a lovely break from the cold winter and the open ocean is a truly special place. We begin with some training in the charming Spanish rias, before setting off for the 700nm sail to the Portuguese island of Madeira. A couple of days to explore there before the final 300nm charge to Gran Canaria. (A Yachtmaster Ocean qualifying passage for watch leaders).
This is a typical itinerary. What makes ocean sailing so special however is that there can be no fixed itinerary. The wind and the weather ultimately shape what’s possible each day but everything is very flexible within that.
Day 1: Joining day
Join the boat between 1200 and 2000hrs (the closer to 1200 the better but we know flights and such like don’t always work like that, so don’t worry!) Get your belongings packed away and relax. There’s plenty of things to do in the future but right now it’s about relaxing, finding your way around the boat and enjoying the surroundings. Galicia is a great place to be at this time of year and there’s lots to do and see ashore.
Day 2: Briefings and coastal training. Anchoring in a nature reserve
Today is all about getting up to speed with the boat. Whether you are a complete novice or more experienced sailor, everyone benefits from detailed introductions, safety briefings and training sessions. You will have two highly experienced instructors to guide you through every aspect that you need to know to have a great sailing holiday. By lunchtime we will be casting off the lines, hoisting the sails and working through all the key sailing manoeuvres such as tacking and gybing, reefing and knot tying! By the end of the day everyone on board should feel comfortable with the basics – even though there’s more to learn and practice every day. It’s likely we’ll anchor in the stunning Cies islands tonight and have an explore ashore.
Day 3: Training sail to Baiona and preparation
After breakfast, we’ll weigh anchor and head toward the beautiful fortified town of Baiona. En route we will fine tune our manoeuvres and sailing skills, with the aim of being in port by lunch time. The afternoon will be spent making final preparations, watch leaders doing their passage plan, and in the evening having time to wander around and explore this gorgeous town.
Days 4-8: Passage to Madeira
Soon we will be setting out into the Atlantic Ocean, and the crew will settle into a 24-hour watch system. When you are on watch you will alternate between navigating, helming and trimming sails. Off watch, there is plenty of time to rest, gaze out at the ocean and take in the amazing environment. Life at sea is very special and you will soon be into the rhythm of the ocean and a fully involved member of the crew. You can expect to be at sea for around 4-5 days and nights, depending on conditions. Expect magical sunsets and sunrises, millions of stars, long slow Atlantic rollers and thousands of miles of empty ocean! Around day four we will suddenly see the cliffs of Madeira appear over the horizon. Land ho! We will stop either in Quinta da Lorde on the south east corner or in Funchal, the capital.
Days 9-11: Exploring Madeira
If we have made good time, it’s lovely to spend a day relaxing, getting some rest and exploring all that this island has to offer. The weather is usually really warm and after all those days at sea, there is nothing better than some serious rest, recuperation and fun with the crew. Every ocean sailing holiday needs some down time, too! It’s a great time to catch up, send a postcard and we’ll also be preparing for the final sprint south to the Canaries, so we’ll be kept busy. If we’ve made good time we may be able to sail to another port for some more exploring or pack in some more exploring or teaching ashore.
Days 12-13: Passage south to Gran Canaria
It’s now time to head to sea once more for our final sail to Gran Canaria. This should be a really fast downwind charge and it’ll be huge fun with the crew really confident and a relatively short passage. It should take us a couple of days and, again, if we make good time we can always find a lovely anchorage and have a fun day ashore.
Day 14: Debrief and clean up
It’s always amazing how quickly everyone has become firm friends and the boat and its routines seem so familiar. Yet it’s time to wrap it all up and head home. We’ll get the boat back to how we found it, sign logbooks, exchange emails and disembark by 1200hrs.
JOINING AND LEAVING THE BOAT
- You should join the boat in Muros after 1200 hrs on the start day. It is good if you can join us as close to 1200 hrs as possible, but if your flight or ferry gets in later than this, that is fine. We will ask you closer to the time to let us know your travel details.
- The port is easily reached from the airport by taxi or bus.
- You will disembark the boat in Gran Canaria at 1200 hrs on the last day and can catch a flight any time after c. 1400 hrs.
- Watch leaders must join 24 hours early.
- The closest joining airport is Santiago de Compostela (IATA code: SCQ). From there, there is a bus that runs every hour. You can see the timetable by clicking on the link here
- Fly out of Las Palmas (IATA code: LPA)
AGE & EXPERIENCE
These adventure sailing holidays are open to everyone aged 18 years and over. If you are aged 70 or over, or have any concerns about your health, we ask that you get a doctor’s note before booking. This is just to make as certain as possible that you will be okay out on the water.
NO PREVIOUS SAILING EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED
CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
We provide the foul weather clothing, life-jackets and all other technical equipment you will need. We really urge you not to spend any extra money unless you are sure you want to! You need to bring a sleeping bag and some waterproof boots.
We are committed to helping as many people as possible to have an amazing sailing holiday and experience the magic of the sea. Our skippers and mates have medical training and the boats have some medical supplies and equipment on board. However, the reality is that once on board access to professional medical assistance is going to be slower than if you were on land. If we are offshore it may be some days. For this reason we ask you to check through the medical disclosure form below before you book. If you answer yes to any of the questions, you should get in touch with us before you book. It will probably still be fine but it’s good to make sure. You will be asked to submit the form electronically 14 days before the start date, ensuring that we have the most up to date information.
- It is essential that you have adequate travel insurance in place for your sailing holiday.
- We strongly recommend that you arrange insurance that covers you for any medical mishaps in the build up to your holiday so that should you have to cancel, you can reclaim you fees.
- Please note we cannot refund your money or cancel your invoice due to medial issues.
- For our latest guidance on travel insurance, please read here.
TRIP CATEGORY: OCEAN SAILING
Extended periods of offshore sailing with night watches.
- To be a watch leader on a Rubicon 3 ocean passage, we require you to have sufficient skills and experience to be able to approach the role meaningfully. This means you should have a minimum of RYA Coastal Skipper practical and theory. We accept international equivalents. After booking, you will be asked to provide evidence of your qualifications.
- On arrival, we will ask you to complete a short theory test to ensure that you are at the required level. If you are able to complete RYA Yachtmaster Coastal theory questions, you will be fine. If you are not at the required standard, we will downgrade you to a standard crew member.
WATCH LEADER TRAINING DAY
- On booking, you will receive a copy of the Rubicon 3 Watch Leader’s training manual. This is an invaluable resource and you should try to read as much of it as you can before joining.
- You should arrive at the boat the day before the advertised start time, being ready to start studying at 1000 hrs. You will spend a full day learning about passage planning, the yacht and helping prepare the yacht. You will be able to stay on the boat that night.
- There is an additional fee of £150 to cover these extra training costs.
INCLUDED IN YOUR SAILING HOLIDAY
- Foul weather clothing to keep you dry in any conditions.
- Fladen immersion suits. These will keep you warm in even the coldest, windiest conditions.
- Ocean-spec lifejackets. These are the best on the market.
- All on-board food and snacks.
- Daily sailing lessons and tuition from two highly experienced instructors.
- RYA sailing qualifications where applicable.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Your travel to and from the start and end points.
- Travel insurance (see our travel insurance page here)
- Any alcohol – but feel free to bring your own or buy some along the route.
- Any meals you eat ashore.
Everything’s included except for flights, travel insurance, a sleeping bag and some waterproof boots. There are no hidden extras.
- These expeditions have small numbers of people on board. When you book, you are committing to being a part of the crew.
- These are genuine adventure sailing holidays and you will be helping sail the boat, planning where we go, navigating, cooking and keeping the boat clean and tidy.
- When you book, the deposit is non refundable. It is possible to cancel subsequently, however you may still be liable for the balance of the invoice, depending on how close you are to the start date when you cancel.
- Please ensure you have read and agreed to the T&Cs and read the Trip Notes before booking.