Sailing course between England, France and Spain
Vigo to Portsmouth: March 21 – April 03 2020 (£1,499)
October 10 – 24 2020 (£1,799)
MINIMUM RYA DAYSKIPPER / ASA 103 REQUIRED
JOIN SOLO OR AS A GROUP
A top quality sailing course between England, France and Spain that will transform your existing sailing qualifications into real world skills.
Once you have your RYA or ASA qualifications, it is hard to take the next step into skippering your own passages with no instructor on board to guide you. Added to that, skills fade without constant use. For a great many sailors with their RYA Day Skipper or Yachtmaster, that jump has not been made and there is no obvious way to progress. The Rubicon 3 Passage Making Masterclass was designed to address this exact problem. You will spend two weeks with our leading expedition skippers refreshing your previous skills, learning new techniques and getting huge amounts of real world skills and experience on real life challenges.
Make sure you check out the 'MORE ABOUT THE MASTERCLASS' tab below for more details.
This is a typical itinerary. What makes the Passage Making Masterclass™ so special however is that there can be no fixed itinerary and no part of this is guaranteed. The wind and the weather ultimately shape what’s possible each day but everything is very flexible within that. This is a typical itinerary for the course heading from Portsmouth to northwest Spain. If you are on the route heading from Spain to the UK, you will of course need to reverse it!
Day 1 – Welcome to the team
Jump on board between midday and 1800h and make yourself at home. Portsmouth is a city with a huge naval history and all around you will be Royal Navy ships, buildings and a range of incredible maritime history. The first day is all about getting familiar with the boat, packing away your gear, meeting your fellow course members and having a welcome beer!
Day 2: Intensive theory and skills and drills
From chart work to COLREGs, this is going to be an intensive theory session where we evaluate your current skill set and make you better. It is always a very supportive environment and at no time will you be left to flounder. This is about pushing you hard to improve, not showing anyone up. Most of all, we know the areas people usually struggle with or aren’t that confident in… and that’s where we’ll go straight to!
Day 3: Sailing across the English Channel
Your first passage to plan and execute. We’ll set off across the English Channel, getting to grips with the strong cross tides and heavy commercial traffic. It is about 60-70nm, meaning a really full day of sailing and training. The wonderful Brittany coast or Channel Islands await.
Days 4-6: Training and exploring in the Channel Islands
We’ll spend the next few days or so sailing through and exploring the Channel Islands and getting off the beaten track to lesser known islands such Sark and Herm. These are wonderful places to visit and the strong tides and technical harbour entrances are a fantastic classroom. Welcome to a mix of superb training and wonderful sailing holiday!
Days 7-8: Pilotage and traditional navigation as we explore north Brittany
Now we use the harbours, inlets, rivers and ports of this beautiful part of the world to really develop the traditional skills that still underlie proper seamanship. Pilot the yacht into tidal rivers, find perfect anchorages, reduce your reliance on GPS and build your confidence and skills to sail in these areas. There is of course always time to head ashore for some wonderful French food and the occasional glass of recuperative wine!
Days 9-12: Sailing across the Bay of Biscay
We allow about three days and nights for our crossing and, with the right weather, this is a truly exhilarating ride across a famous stretch of ocean that really poses no problems with proper preparation and timing. The boat will usually hit double figures in boat speed and we can expect anything from downwind spinnaker runs to a close beat. It is just enough time to get a real feel for life out on the ocean and you will be in a 24-hour watch system (usually 4 on/4 off). Helming under the stars far offshore is an experience you will never forget. This passage is a chance for you to put into practice all your learning to date. The warm, sunny coast of Galicia in northwest Spain awaits.
Days 13-14: Exploring Galicia
With whatever time we have left, we will cruise the beautiful coastline and stop into little Spanish harbours and anchorages for a bit more training but also some serious sailing holiday!
Day 15 – Cleaning, debriefs and goodbyes
The end comes all too soon, but there’s no doubt that you’ll go home with some unforgettable memories having had a huge amount of fun. After cleaning up, swapping photos and saying goodbye to the boat and the crew, you’ll be free to disembark from 1200h.
JOINING AND LEAVING THE YACHT
- You should join the boat in Portsmouth, England at 1000 hrs on the start day. We will ask you closer to the time to let us know your travel details.
- You will disembark the boat in Vigo, Spain at 1200 hrs on the last day.
We can often find long haul flights at cheap prices. Ask us!
- The nearest airport to Portsmouth is Southampton (IATA code: SOU) or it is approximately 90 minutes from London airports, Heathrow and Gatwick.
- Vigo airport (IATA code: VGO) is well served by Vueling and Air Europa along with other larger carriers.
AGE & EXPERIENCE
The Passage Making Masterclass™ is open to everyone aged 18 years and over who has the RYA Day Skipper qualification or above. (International equivalents are accepted.) 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.
CLOTHING & 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 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 your fees.
- Please note we cannot refund your money or cancel your invoice due to medical issues.
- For our latest guidance on travel insurance, please read here.
TRIP CATEGORY: PASSAGE MAKING MASTERCLASS
Intensive training and skills development. Full days of sailing and some overnight passages. Some time to head ashore and explore.
INCLUDED IN YOUR SAILING HOLIDAY
- Top quality 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.
What do you do with a rusty Day Skipper? After a year or so has passed, the skills you had begin to fade and suddenly you find you haven’t sailed for a few years and the confidence has gone. Alternatively, you may have got to Coastal or Offshore Yachtmaster. These are great qualifications to have but 90% of those who achieve them still have very limited real time experience. The Passage Making Masterclass is all about getting you a rapid increase in skills and experience, so that you can pass those higher level sailing qualifications or go off and charter yachts and take on more challenging passages with extra confidence. The syllabus includes
Most yachts these days have radar but few amateur sailors have the skills to use this invaluable tool properly. As part of your Passage Making Masterclass, you will look at how to set up the radar and how to use it both to aid collision avoidance and for pilotage in poor visibility.
Pilotage is both technique and art form. Entering a foreign port late at night in bad weather when the crew is tired can be a very taxing exercise. Similarly weaving one’s way through rocks to a small anchorage. We will show you the techniques we use to produce simple, easy to follow pilotage guides that work.
Helming is so much more than holding a steady course. With every slight change in wind speed, apparent wind direction changes and you need to be wise to these shifts and have some techniques for how to gauge and react to them. More than anything, you need to learn to minimise your inputs.
Anchoring is a skill that many people are nervous to try which is a great shame as it completely transforms one’s cruising range and a night at anchor can be a truly special experience. We’ll explain what size anchor you should be carrying, what type of anchor, how much chain and rope and what sea beds to anchor in. You’ll also learn how to anchor and how to ensure you stay safe through the night.
Should you file paperwork before leaving your home country and if so, what? What is one expected to do on arrival in a foreign port and when? What paperwork needs to be carried or shown? We give you the detailed low down on what is required and when.
There is a world of difference between a classroom exercise on a Day Skipper course and proper, good quality passage planning. We will bring you a level of practical techniques that will help you sail safely from A to B.
Dealing safely with commercial shipping is an essential skill. Cargo vessels are big, fast and dangerous. Yet, they are only 1-200metres long and 40 metres wide. There is no need to end up in front of them! We will help you translate collision regulations learnt by heart into practical skills.
We’ll help you get to grips with this so that you can maximise the performance of your sails. Which sail do you trim first, is twist important, what do those cars do? Lots of questions and we’ll explain everything in clear simple lessons .
Previously you may have been taught about how low pressure systems form and that’s great. What we’ll teach you is really up to date, practical weather skills. You’ll compare weather apps, learn about their strengths and weaknesses and get familiar with the various official weather sources too.
DO I NEED PRIOR SAILING EXPERIENCE?
Yes. For our Passage Making Masterclasses we ask that you have a minimum of RYA Day Skipper or ASA103. It doesn’t matter if they are very rusty – this is what this course is all about!
DO PEOPLE COME ALONE?
Almost everyone comes alone. Couples and groups are very welcome and we do get them. On the whole, however, most crew join solo and so if you are coming alone, you will be one of the crowd!
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON BOARD
Except in exceptional circumstances, we limit the crew size to 9 (except for Atlantic crossings) plus two instructors. This means that there are enough people to sail the boat safely, but you will still have lots of time helming, navigating, trimming sails and such like.
IS THIS A SAILING HOLIDAY?
Absolutely. First and foremost, we are here to ensure everyone has an amazing time. Sailing is about having fun, experiencing nature at its most majestic and gently pushing yourself to try and learn new things. Rubicon 3 voyages are a unique mix of sailing and training, and you will get far more involvement and training than on any other sailing holiday you may try!
WHO ELSE JOINS?
We have a remarkably similar group of people who join all our trips. They come from all around the world, are an even mix of men and women and with an average age of 35-65. As we said above, most come alone and experience varies from none at all to Yachtmaster. Most of the crew would describe themselves as having a rusty Day Skipper.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO BOOK A PLACE?
Go the ‘BOOK NOW’ button near the top of the page. This will take you through to our booking system, and it will ask you for a deposit of £400. As soon as this is paid, your place is reserved. The balance of the trip must be paid by 60 days before departure.
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? DON’T HESITATE TO CALL OR EMAIL US. WE ARE REALLY VERY HAPPY TO CHAT AWAY ABOUT THE TRIPS AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE AFTER.