Two weeks of sailing, training and adventure that will take your seamanship and skippering skills to a new level.
Getting the next level of training after doing your RYA or ASA qualifications can be hard. This Bay of Biscay passage making Masterclass is designed for everyone who has done their basic qualifications (from Day Skipper up) and now wishes to make a really big jump in their skill and experience levels.
As the team sails between the UK, France and Spain, you will face constant challenges, be asked to make decisions and then act on them, all the time under the watchful guidance and explanation of top skippers. Add in a crossing of the legendary Bay of Biscay and get ready for an incredible adventure.
Why We Love This Adventure
- Mix intensive sail training with a fun adventure
- Sail a world-class boat with instruction from expert Skippers
- Cross the legendary Bay of Biscay
Crossing the Bay of Biscay is a sailing rite of passage. Biscay has a fearsome reputation, and struck fear in the hearts of sailors in days gone by. Now, however it’s an achievable challenge, that will offer you a chance to make big improvements in your skills.
This is a typical itinerary. What makes a 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 NW 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. Coruna is a medieval town famous for it's Roman Lighthouse and Tower of Hercules. 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 & 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 where people usually struggle with or aren't that confident in... and that's where we'll go straight to!
Day 3: Sailing to Viverio
From Coruna, with some sailing and training along the south western coast of Biscay, possibly stopping day 1 in the lovely seaside town of Viveiro.
Days 4-7: The Big Biscay Crossing
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 all your learning to date into practice. The warm sunny coast of Galicia in NW Spain awaits
Day 7: 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. Arrive in north Brittany, for some much needed R&R! Head ashore for some wonderful French food and the occasional glass of recuperative wine!
Days 8-9: Sailing the Iconic Western French Isles
Working our way around the iconic Ushant, (Ouessant in French), 18 miles (30km) off the coast of France’s most westerly point, Pointe de Pern. The island is well known for its lighthouses and treacherous seafaring heritage but especially for its indigenous sheep, but this doesn’t describe the beauty of the island. You’ll then head along the north coast of France, maybe to explore some of the wonderful islands along the coast such as Iles de Batz.
Days 10-12: The Tricky Channel Islands
You’ll spend the next few days or so sailing through and exploring the Channel islands, with their tricky tidal streams, all of which makes fantastic training. There may be visit Guernsey or Jersey for another day of exploring ashore, and getting off the beaten track to lesser known islands such Sark & 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!
Day 13: The final day before the Channel crossing
A final day then we cross the English channel and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, which will test our knowledge of the colregs to the maximum, before we pull into Portsmouth.
Day 15: Goodbyes
The end comes all too soon, but there’s no doubt that you’ll go home with some unforgettable memories and 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.
- 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
Flights, your travel insurance, on shore meals and any alcohol you may wish to drink!
Trip Duration14 days
Start LocationCoruna, Spain
End LocationPortsmouth, UK
Average Group Size9
The yacht itself is an expedition yacht that was previously a round the world race boat. The accommodation on the yacht is comfortable, warm and spacious. Each bunk is 6′ 7″ long and has its own USB charger and light. Sleeping is in one 8 berth cabin. There are two toilets, a shower, hot water and lots of food!
We eat very well on board and we will take as much fresh fruit and veg as we can. Ocean sailing is an exercise in using food creatively but you can expert lovely warm meals, as much as you can eat, freshly baked bread and more. We can cater for most diets and have loads of veggies on board. If you have any severe allergies you must check with us before booking
This Trip is Suitable For
The Bay of Biscay 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.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWho joins the crew?
We get a mix of people from all around the world. Most crew have a few weeks of prior sailing under their belt but are by no means expert sailors. They join us to learn, to have fun and for some incredible sailing. There is usually a 50:50 mix of men and women and the average age is 47, but we get people joining us from 18 years through to 75 years!Can I join solo?
90% + of the crew join solo, so absolutely!Is this a sailing holiday?
Absolutely. First and foremost, we are here to ensure everyone has an amazing time. Sailing is bout 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.
Dates & Availability
- 21 Mar 2019 – 03 Apr 2019
We love this sailing company’s ethos – to help people do three things: sail, train and explore. They are passionate about enabling people to experience life out on the open ocean, building sailing skills and exploring some beautiful countries. After years of training people to become professional sailors, and having covered thousands of miles between them, the company Founders realised that so many people had dreamt of setting off across an ocean, but hadn’t the skills, the boat or crew to make those dreams come true.
The company now runs expeditions on a specialised 60’ yacht to some of the most exciting places out there – often largely inaccessible from land. With no previous sailing experience required, the two instructors will guide you every step of the way as you develop your sailing skills, maybe even earning an RYA qualification during the week. Exploring on land as they go is just as important and the bikes and a kayak mean you can head off and enjoy everything there is to see along the route.
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