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Short Breaks

Weekends & Short Breaks Rubicon3 Adventures

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  • Trips
  • Essential Information
  • What to Expect
  • Training & Qualifications

Adventure Sailing Holidays: Short Breaks

Fancy getting out sailing, but don’t have much time to spare? Our short breaks are perfect for you. For those with the least time, we offer 5 day Monday to Friday breaks to the likes of the Scottish Islands, the Channel Islands, Devon & Cornwall and the Canaries. Further afield we run some 1 week breaks in the Caribbean and we even squeeze in occasional weekends in our home of the Solent. So if you thought an adventure sailing holiday was impossible with just a few days to play with, think again. Our short breaks make it a breeze.

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+44 7456 642 164

Why we’re rated #1

  • No experience needed on most trips
  • Time to explore ashore
  • Supportive instruction
  • Solo crew welcome
Based on 171 reviews

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Let us help you pick the perfect sailing holiday, course or just chat through your options.


+44 7456 642 164

Short Breaks, Sailing Routes

April 28 - May 3, 2024

5 Days from £649

Experience needed: None

Adventure rating: Intermediate


A fun way to build your miles, your experience and longer passages with this south…

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Available: September 1 - September 7, 2024

6 Days from £899

Experience needed: Low to some

Adventure rating: Intermediate


A great sailing mile builder along the west coast of the United Kingdom. Our expedition…

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Available: May 18 - May 23, 2025

5 Days from £725

Experience needed: None

Adventure rating: Intermediate


A fun way to build your miles, your experience and longer passages with this south…

View Details

Essential Information

Find all the information you need about our trips here, from the various trip categories to what to pack, connecting travel and more. The information here is generic across all our trips. For really specific travel details about your trip, click on the Dates & Prices tab.


All of our sailing trips are given one of three categories: ‘Coastal‘ – ‘Offshore‘ – ‘Skipper Masterclass. Whichever category trip you join, and whatever your previous experience (or rustiness!), you will be encouraged to be fully involved from the very start and receive high-quality Rubicon 3 training.

Coastal trips

These are wonderful holidays that stay relatively close to shore and have no significant open-water passages. They are day sailing only and usually in quiet sheltered water. We sail to somewhere new just about every day and there is time built in to the planning to enable you to head ashore and explore everywhere we get to.

See them all here

Offshore & ocean trips

Self explanatory and if you’ve ever wanted to leave the coast behind and sail hundreds (or even thousands) of miles offshore out on one of the great oceans, these are for you. Each trip begins with a few days of coastal sailing, training and exploring while individuals and the crew as a whole get up to speed. Timings are very weather dependant. On our two weeks offshore trips, you can expect to have one main offshore passage of between 4-6 days, with the remainder of the time being coastal cruising at either end.

See them all here

Skipper Masterclass

These are more intensive training courses, where we really focus on the skills and techniques needed to be strong crew or skipper on a prolonged passage through potentially technical areas. You will mix theory and practical tuition every day. Days are longer and there is less focus on exploring ashore and more on train, train, train. If you wish to supercharge your seamanship and sailing skills, these are for you.

See them all here

All of our trips are open to crew aged 18 and above, but please the Fitness to Sail box below.


Anyone can join these trips. Wonderful for sailors of any experience level, if you are a beginner these are definitely the place to start. If you are at Yachtmaster or similar, there is still a huge amount you can learn and practise on these trips


  • On these trips, you will spend a prolonged period of time offshore, working in a watch system day and night and potentially experiencing rougher weather and bigger seas. Once we’re away from the land, there’s no getting of until we next make landfall! Therefore while no previous experience is essential, we do strongly recommend that you have at least a week of prior sailing so that you have an idea of what to expect.
  • If you are joining a transatlantic, transpacific or similar, you MUST have at least two weeks of prior sailing experience, (preferably within the last 5 years). If you are in any doubt, please contact us before booking.

Skipper Masterclass

As this is a Skipper Masterclass, no beginners are permitted to join. You must have RYA Day Skipper, ASA 104 or equivalent skills and experience. It doesn’t matter if they are rusty – that is what this course is here to address. This course is invaluable to all levels up to and including Yachtmaster.

We believe that as many people as possible should be able to head out to sea and have a great adventure. However, it is essential for everyone’s safety that you are in a fit enough state to be on board.

Ability to complete the five exercises below is a pre-requisite for joining as a crew member. They are not designed to be physically taxing and almost everyone should be able to complete them. Rather they are in place to check that you have the stability and basic physical condition to be on board.

If when you join the vessel the skipper believes you are not capable of completing these exercises, you will probably not be allowed to embark. If you have any doubts at all about your ability to complete these exercises safely, you must contact your doctor before attempting them.

  • The Rubicon 3 crew will always do their best to cater for any dietary requirements, allergies or food intolerance whenever possible.
  • If you have severe allergies, it is likely that you will not be suitable to join the trip. Please contact us before booking.
  • Yachts have small galleys (kitchens) and we may be cooking out at sea, heeled over and bouncing around a little bit, so we cannot accommodate fussy eaters.
  • If there is anything in particular you require in your diet or would miss from home, we recommend that you bring these with you.
  • This is particularly the case if you require gluten free bread / pasta or such like
  • Most areas that we sail to now have a good range of vegetarian options in the supermarkets, but in more isolated areas it can be limited.
  • We will always do our very best to look after you (some of our skippers are vegetarian or vegan) but please be aware that the diet on board may not be as varied as you are used to at home.
  • Inevitably, there are going to be worries with sea-sickness.
  • It is not uncommon for about half the crew to feel a little funny on day one, but the vast majority of people are fine thereafter.
  • We will give you all sorts of techniques to avoid it and there is a really good range of medications these days that all but prevent it.
  • So it really isn’t something to worry about and before departure we will give you the guidance you need to avoid it.

Unless stated otherwise on the ‘Dates & Prices’ tab, you must join the boat at 0900 hrs on the start day. It is important you are not late as the pre-trip briefing will start shortly after that time. You will disembark at 1200hrs on the end day. Exact start and end locations may vary depending on your trip date.

Five day trips sometimes start at 1800 on the start day (usually a Sunday) and will often end at 1700 on the last day.

Please see the ‘Dates & Prices’ tab.

We plan our routes very carefully and build in lots of spare time to ensure that we arrive at our end destination on time. However, particularly on offshore and ocean trips, we cannot guarantee that we will arrive by the end date. It is incredibly are (maybe three times in ten years?) but bad weather or mechanical issues mean it can happen.

Give yourself flexibility

On offshore and ocean trips, build some leeway into your trip home if you can. Maybe book the flight for the day after the end day, and / or use a flexible ticket where you can change the date if needed.

Finding long haul flights

For long haul flights, especially those where we start and end in different places, we can sometimes find very good deals. If you cannot find a good flight, please do ask us to help by emailing us at info@rubicon3adventure.com. Unfortunately, we cannot offer help with short-haul flights.

One way tickets

If you intend to travel on a one way ticket to meet up with one of our trips, without possessing an onward flight ticket – we recommend that you have a copy of your Rubicon 3 invoice with you and available at immigration to assist easy entry.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your trip finishes. You should have at least 4-5 spare pages for visa, entry and exit stamps. If you have dual nationality you can only use one passport for the entire trip.

The situation regarding visas and passports can change rapidly and without warning. The information given here is accurate to the best of our knowledge but ultimately you are responsible for ensuring you have the correct visas. Please allow time for unexpected delays in obtaining any visas you require.

Around four weeks before your trip start date, you will be sent final joining instructions. At this time you will be asked to complete our medical declaration. At the time of booking, it is your responsibility to be sure that you will be able to pass all the criteria at the start date of your trip. If you cannot pass the criteria you will probably be refused permission to board.

It is compulsory that you have adequate travel insurance before you board the yacht. We strongly recommend that you take this insurance out as soon as possible after booking your trip with us in case you suffer any medical issues or such like that prevent you from being able to join the trip.

Our page on travel insurance is found here.

You will be asked to provide the following details to Rubicon 3 if you have not already done so: travel insurance provider, insurance policy number, insurance emergency telephone number. You will also be required to give a copy of your policy with this information to the skipper on arrival with confirmation that the policy duration is sufficient to cover you for the entire duration of your trip.

We provide three meals a day on the boat, so if you do not wish to spend another penny, that is absolutely fine. Realistically, however, most crew like to have a few beers ashore and the occasional meal. Also please note that alcohol is not provided by Rubicon 3 so if you like a beer or wine in the evening please budget for this. You are very welcome to bring some duty free with you to the boat. Past crew estimate that £200 is ample to enjoy all there is offer ashore during the trip.


These are available in most major cities along our route and allow you to withdraw local currency only. We discourage you from relying on your ATM card as a primary source of funds in case it is lost/stolen/swallowed, or the machine isn’t working. Besides memorising your PIN, it is also important to be aware of your daily withdrawal limit and bank withdrawal costs.

Credit & Debit Cards

You will be able to use credit and debit card just about everywhere

Pre-Paid Travel Currency Cards

These cards are similar to normal Credit and Debit cards but they can be pre loaded with cash before you travel with a set amount allowing you to withdraw this cash using the card at normal ATMs. It is a more secure way to access cash on your trip and easier to use than travellers cheques, but again do not rely on these as your sole means of funds on a trip. Several banks and companies now offer these cards, but be sure to look into the rates for withdrawing cash when making your decision.

In general

What equipment and clothing to bring for sailing – and how much to bring – are always the big questions for the crew and we totally understand that. The best generic guidance we can give is to imagine that you are going for a week in the hills or the mountains. If you think of that type of clothing and equipment, you won’t go far wrong.

Beyond that, we say don’t spend money unless you want to. The chances are that you already have most of what you need and a lot of fancy branded sailing equipment is both expensive and not very good. Especially when you’re fairly new to the sport, keep your money in your pocket.

How much to bring?

The next question is always how much to bring. Within reason, you can bring what you like as we have quite a lot of storage space onboard the yachts. The usual airport allowance of 20kg / 44lbs of luggage is not a bad guide. Any more than that and you’ve probably overpacked!

What should I pack it in?

What you pack your clothing and equipment in is vital. It needs to be in a soft bag that can be rolled away. Yes, that means no metal frames or hard backs. It needs to be in a duffel style bag. If you do bring a hard backed case or bag that cannot be rolled away, there is a good chance you will not be able to bring it on board. Something like this Sports Direct sack for just £12 is ideal.

sailing bag

Does what I need change by region, season and type of trip?

Yes, to an extent. However, even in warm regions it can be chilly at night or when it rains. In Europe and the high latitudes, always bring hats & gloves and warm clothes. In the Caribbean, I would still bring them (as they are so small to pack) and just a lighter sweater for the evenings.

In summary

Don’t worry too much and if in doubt bring more. So long as you can keep warm, plus your usual toiletries and such like, you will be fine. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us. We’re here to help!


Foul weather clothing

You will be issued with a foul weather jacket and salopettes. These are modern oilskins that will keep you completely dry and which we rate highly, but they are not Goretex or similar. If you have your own foulies and would like to wear them or have very high spec ones, then do feel free to bring them.

Top of the range ocean specification lifejacket

These will be c. 270-290N jackets with inbuilt spray hoods and personal locator beacons.

Fladen Immersion Suit

Fantastically warm, these all in one suits are incredible for when it gets cold up on deck. You will feel toasty warm all day long or through a long night watch. Essential gear for high latitude trips and RIB transfers in Svalbard!



Bring a fresh set for every day or second day you’re on board.


Bring a mix of thinner socks and some thicker, woolly socks If not a Caribbean style trip. A fresh pair every second day is a good guide.

Thermal base layers

For non Caribbean trips, these are great for upper and lower body. Merino wool is excellent but expensive. There are lots of options out there.

Mid layer – upper

Bring a selection of T-shirts, polo shirts or long-sleeved shirts. You might be wearing a couple of these at any one time, so bring a few

Mid layer – lower

Bring shorts. You never know when it will be hot and sunny!

A pair of thick hiking trousers, fleece-lined snowboarding trousers or our new favourite – softshell trousers. These will be what you wear just about every day, so bring a couple of pairs. Don’t go crazy – we buy ones costing between £50-70 and no more.

If you are on a Caribbean style trip then you will probably only need light trousers.

Fleeces and jumpers

You need to bring at least two good, thick fleeces or jumpers. These are going to be critical to keep you warm, so choose carefully. We usually pack two mid-weight fleeces and one really thick woolly jumper.

If you are in the Caribbean, then one fleece is probably fine.

Mid-weight jacket

You will wear this pretty much every day, only changing up to your foul weather jacket when it rains. Any jacket will do that is showerproof, windproof and reasonably warm.

Waterproof boots

These don’t have to be sailing boots – even normal wellies will do fine. You can spend a fortune on Goretex lined sailing boots. They are great, but make sure you are going to be a regular sailor before investing. In the meantime, we’d stick to rubber sailing boots costing around £60.

Casual clothes

There’s no dressing up on these expeditions, but bring a selection of shore clothes for the odd evening out. No restaurant owner likes people coming in wearing dirty sailing clothes!

Woolly hat and gloves

We suggest bringing 2 sets of hats and gloves. If one set gets lost or wet, you need to be able to keep warm. We don’t really rate the thick sailing gloves. They are not good when wet, hard to get on and pretty expensive. Instead, go for a pair of thinner working gloves and a thick woolly pair.

If you’re in the Caribbean, just a wooly hat can still be nice for night sailing on occasions.


The classic neck warmer is a godsend when it gets windy and cold. Not for the Caribbean!

Swimming costume

Wherever you are, bring one. You may want to jump in even when it’s icy, but also sometimes the best showers are in the local pool.

Walking boots

Great for exploring ashore, trainer style is fine. Just something comfortable to do an hour’s hike with.

Flip flops

Great for keeping cool onshore and essential for shower floors in marinas and ports.


It’s unlikely that you will be able to do laundry along the way, so bring enough sets of clothes to last you for the trip length. You can handwash some essentials if necessary but water is at a premium onboard so we don’t encourage this except on the longer trips of over 2 weeks duration. The start and end ports will nearly always have laundry facilities.

Sleeping bag

The boats are warm inside, so a medium weight sleeping bag is absolutely fine. If it has a long zip it’s better as it gives you more temperature flexibility but don’t worry and don’t spend money that you don’t need to!

If you are on a Caribbean style trip you can probably do without a sleeping bag and just use a silk liner or similar. The Caribbean is usually around 75°F at night, but just occasionally it can be colder: the choice is yours.

Toiletries and a towel

Toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel, razor, deodorant and whatever else you need. We would bring a normal towel for comfort, but a travel towel is also good.

Sunglasses and sun cream

Sunglasses are essential at sea for every trip as the UV is reflected off the sea and can damage your eyes. They must be polarised or the damage can be even worse. Good strong sun cream is recommended for the same reason.

Glasses and contact lenses

Life is pretty miserable if you forget these. Get a strap for the glasses in case they fall off.


We pretty much insist you bring some sea sickness medication, even if you don’t think you’ll be affected. This is a holiday for you and feeling queasy is horrible. In the UK, the brands that seem to work well are Stugeron and Kwells. If you have any other medications such as anti-histamine, blood pressure tablets, insulin, epi-pens etc, please don’t forget these.


Boats have lots of unfamiliar noises and yes, even the occasional snorer. Bring what you need to block out the noise and have a good night’s sleep.


If you’re sailing with us in the high latitudes in summer, the chances are the Sun will never set and it’s hard to get these boats dark. If that bothers you, bring a mask to make the world go dark again!

Water bottle

Any decent sized plastic or metal one is fine.

Phone, camera, laptop

Don’t forget these, but put them in protective casings so they don’t get damaged or broken. Every bunk has two USB charging points, The boat has the UK 3-pin 240v AC power outlets, which can be used when are connected to shore power or when the generator is on. If your equipment has different plugs, bring an adaptor.

The sailor’s pack – for those who want to have some more kit (but absolutely not essential)

Head torch with red light

If your trip has an overnight passage in it, we would really recommend you bring one of these (unless it’s summer in the Arctic with midnight Sun).

Leatherman or similar

These are really useful to carry with you.

Navionics on your phone

This is a very good app. The chart pack for your area will cost you about £25 and then you can always see exactly where we are.

Set of small dry bags

The fancy way of keeping your kit divided up, organised and dry (but plastic shopping bags work very well too!)

The boats have a UK (3 pin) 220 AC power outlet on board, that is available to use when connected to shore power or at sea when the generator is running.


Each bunk also has a USB charging point and a cigarette lighter style power point.

USB port

Cameras (incl. Digital & Video Cameras) – An easy to use ‘point and press’ will get you some good photos. For memorable shots, it may be worthwhile investing in an SLR camera, but be sure to get some practice in before the trip! Most towns and cities have internet cafes where you can download onto CD/internet sites – but don’t rely on it.

Drones – As the use of drones becomes more common, countries throughout the world are gradually updating their laws and restrictions on usage. The specific regulations will vary from one country to another, so do check the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for the latest information. As with cameras, use your common sense if you do use a drone and avoid operation in sensitive areas. If you plan to bring a drone on your trip with us please contact us first to ensure there will be a suitable place to store it while on your trip.

The internet and WiFi are available in many areas that we visit. Do bear in mind that the connections can be unreliable and will not always be as fast as you are used to at home. Once we have set sail, internet and phone signal will usually stop very quickly.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offer country-specific advice, regarding not only security but also entry regulations, local laws and customs and health. We strongly recommend all travellers visit the FCO website, or the equivalent in their home country, to familiarise themselves with local conditions and issues in the countries they plan to visit before committing to a trip with us. You can view their website here.

If you have any questions at all about the safety or security of your trip, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to discuss your trip in more detail.

In cities – All major cities have their share of petty crime (just like our cities) and sensible precautions need to be taken. Wearing expensive looking jewellery or watches and carrying cameras will draw unnecessary attention to you. Leave valuables such as passports and excess money in your hotel safe (we recommend carrying a copy of your passport details page at all times). You may find a simple money belt is more discreet than a bag. Always be aware of your surroundings and when approached by people you do not know, use your common sense. At night in cities it’s best to use a taxi, rather than walking around the streets, single women in particular need to be careful and we would suggest that it is safer to be in a group.

Rubicon3 does not take responsibility for clients’ personal items and we advise you to not take items of value that are not essential for the journey.

It is essential that you have read, understood and accept our Booking Terms and Conditions, including our Guest Behaviour, Safety & Security Policy before you book. We take great care to ensure that these comply fully with the Package Travel Regulations. They also contain important information about possible financial liabilities you may have if you subsequently decide to cancel in the period before your trip start date. If you have any questions about these Terms and Conditions please do not hesitate to ask us.

Get in touch

Let us help you pick the perfect sailing holiday, course or just chat through your options.


+44 7456 642 164

What to Expect

We know you’ll have 101 questions about what life’s like onboard and just generally what to expect. Have a look at the video here of one of our customers telling you all about it. Below, we’ve answered lots of other common questions. Remember, if you have any other questions, just phone or email.


Ask one of our regular crew members what distinguishes the Rubicon 3 experience from other sailing they have done, and they will invariably reference our three golden rules. They are the foundation on which the whole experience is built and they are the one area that never changes and is non-negotiable.

  1. We keep our environment calm and never shout

    Unfortunately many sailors have experienced shouting on board, and they know the unnecessary tension and anxiety that it causes. You will never find one of our skippers or mates shouting and no one else is allowed to either. Shouting is a clear sign of an inexperienced sailor who is not in full control.

  2. No one takes a task off someone else

    We never step prematurely in to take a task off someone, thereby allowing them the space to think and (safely) make mistakes to best support their growth. There is nothing more frustrating than a keen fellow crew member telling you what to do, how to do it, or taking the job off you. You will always have the time and space to stop, think and come up with a plan.

  3. No one must ever be nervous to ask for help

    Sailing is both blissfully simple and a sport that benefits from a great deal of experience. Especially on these larger, expedition yachts there are lots of ropes, winches, clutches and bits of equipment that can quickly become overwhelming. In a new environment, it can be hard even to remember one’s own name at times! No matter how straight forward the question, our skippers and mates are always there to help and will never look down on your for asking. It is what they are there for.

  • Life on board an expedition yacht is unlike any other type of holiday you could choose: it allows a totally new way to explore the world, all whilst learning to sail and building new friendships. From the moment you step on board, you are part of a small if temporary community and how we all act is key to the environment we enjoy.
  • Everyone gets involved in every task. We all cook, clean, prep, navigate, steer and trim sails. Of course, the skipper and mate are there to show you how and keep things nicely organised. If you are looking for a beach holiday or a skippered charter, this is not for you. But if you want to be an integral part of an exciting expedition, then you will thrive.
  • It is physical, but anyone with day to day fitness and agility will find it more than manageable. Do check our 5 step physical checklist on  the Essential Info tab before you book. Where a crew member may struggle with one task, whether physical or technical, they will no doubt shine at another. This is the essence of the team and no one should worry about needing to be good at everything (or anything!)
  • Life on board an expedition sailing yacht is very different to what you will be used to at home, but once you adjust to it you will find you are in an amazing team environment, with good friends and a support and camaraderie that you will often struggle to find elsewhere in life.
  • Everyone has their own bunk. There is no ‘hot bunking’ and each bunk has it’s own personal light and USB charging point. Various bunks also have 12v cigarette lighter sockets, should you need to plug in a sleep apnea machine or similar.
  • All bunks are in one main accommodation area, in four sets of two bunks – one above, one below.This gives much better space and privacy than being squeezed into a cabin with someone you don’t know and having to lie alongside them. Trust us – this way is much, much better!Each yacht has two heads (toilets) where you can change and a shower with plenty of hot water.
  • It’s great fun and very relaxed.
  • There is no typical Rubicon 3 crew member: instead, the people who sail with us come from all walks of life, and are of all ages and nationalities. Some have had years of experience on their own boats, whilst others have never been to sea before in their life. But differences aside, what does unify them all is their adventurous mindset and a shared goal.
  • The trips run with 9 paying crew aboard, plus a skipper and mate.
  • Almost everyone joins solo, but couples or groups are absolutely welcome if there are a few of you who’d like to come (right up to whole boat charter). There is something magic about coming together as a team on board a boat that really strengthens the bonds formed, and many of our past crew have left with amazing friends to meet and sail with again in the future
  • We get a full age range joining, with plenty of people in their 20s, 30s, 40, 50s and 60s.
  • There is nearly always a 50:50 mix of men and women.
  • Crew join from all around the world and are a wonderful mix of cultures, professions and backgrounds, all brought together with the same desire to tae part in one of these adventures. You are all but certain to make long lasting friendships.
  • Whether at sea or alongside, all crew are in a rota for cooking and cleaning to ensure we have lovely food to eat and a constantly high standard of hygiene. There are also daily jobs of navigating, skippering and engineer, allowing everyone to try their hand at every aspect of running a yacht.
  • With no set itinerary, we will have a look at the weather and tides as a crew and decide where we’d like to go. It keepsit fun and spontaneous and is the reality of expedition sailing, which is always at the vagaries of the wind!
  • With breakfast at 0800hrs, we’ll try to be sailing by 0930hrs each day, arriving at the destination for the day around 1700hrs. This gives a great day’s sailing but also allows everyone to shower, have a beer, explore ashore and have a nice dinner.
  • Some days, if the weather is crappy or we’re at a wonderful place, we can just decide to stay there and explore some more, relax, do some training, get the fishing rods out, explore in the RIB…. the time is ours and we can decide as we go!
  • Night sailing is nearly always limited to the Ocean and Offshore passages and the Coastal Passage Making Course.
Offshore sailing:
  • If you are on an offshore sailing trip, you will likely spend the first few days sailing and training in coastal waters while the crew builds its competence, both individually and as a team.
  • Our two week sailing trips, you can then expect to do one long passage of about 6-700nm which takes 4-6 days.
  • You will normally be on one of 3 watches, allowing you to do 3 hours on and then have 6 hours off. This keeps you fresh and having a good time rather than sitting in a state of continual tiredness.
  • Get ready for life at an angle, being up at strange hours, being hundreds of miles offshore and living the dream!
Coastal Passage Making Course:
  • On a Coastal Passage Making Course, the absolute focus is on super charging your skippering skills and seamanship.
  • Therefore get ready for lots and lots of information, learning, tests and lessons. Days are definitely longer and when you get in to port, you may be asked to put together a talk on a subject one night while everyone else goes to the pub.
  • It’s supportive, exceptional training but we will also encourage you to push yourself just a bit further than normal.
  • You are likely to have 2-3 overnight passages over the course of the course.
  • Everyone takes their turn at cooking. Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself much of a chef – you’re likely to be paired up with someone else, and we’ll provide recipes as needed. One of the many things that makes Rubicon 3 so special is our commitment to ensuring the meals we have on board are nutritious, delicious, and local.
  • We shun the industry-standard pasta and frozen pies, instead opting for fresh and colourful meals, with each menu adapted to make the most of the varied produce on offer in the countries we’re visiting.
  • In Norway maybe you’ll have roast lamb with all the trimmings, in the Caribbean we’ll whip up baked plantain with ackee and butterbeans, and in the Azores, we’ll look to find some of their famously sweet pineapples.
  • We’re also experienced with catering for all different dietary requirements such as vegans, coeliacs, and allergies – please do tell us your specific requirements. However despite our best efforts in some countries, it may be difficult to victual for these, so it would be wise for you to bring some things from home.
  • If you have severe allergies, you may not be suitable to join the crew. You must get approval from us before signing on.
Get in touch

Let us help you pick the perfect sailing holiday, course or just chat through your options.


+44 7456 642 164

Training & Qualifications

Training lies at the heart of the Rubicon 3 vision. We want you to learn the skills to be a central part of each adventure and to be able to go away and use the skills on other boats. The teaching syllabus changes quite a bit depending on the trip type.  Full details of the syllabuses and qualifications below.



On Coastal trips, you can earn the RYA Competent Crew certificate. The price is included in the trip price.

Training syllabus

General knowledge

Identify and describe the following cruising sailboat parts, areas, or systems and their functions:

  • Turnbuckle
  • Chainplate
  • Stemhead Fitting
  • Rudder Post
  • Transom
  • Compass
  • Binnacle
  • Cockpit Locker
  • Emergency Tiller
  • Saloon
  • Companionway
  • Galley
  • V-berth
  • Auxiliary Engine
  • Bilge
  • Bilge Pump
  • Seacock
  • Anchor
  • Windlass
  • Hatch
  • Through-hull Fitting

Safety Equipment & Procedures

  • List the safety equipment you should have on a 33-foot recreational yacht equipped with an inboard diesel engine.
  • Describe the characteristics and benefits of Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s), both Wearable (Life Jackets) and Throwable.
  • List the ASA / RYA recommended safety equipment for a recreational sailing vessel.
  • Describe ways to keep gear and equipment secure and in their proper location.
  • Describe the purpose and proper use of a safety harness and tether.

Navigation & Weather

  • Demonstrate understanding of basic coastal navigation terminology and practices, including:
    • Essential navigator’s tools
    • Use of navigation charts and symbols
    • Depth soundings
    • Bottom types
    • Hazards
    • Aids to navigation
    • Latitude / Longitude
    • Determining magnetic direction
    • Measuring distance
  • Describe how to prevent undue magnetic influence on a compass.
  • Describe the dangers of, and how to avoid, a ‘lee shore.’
  • Obtain and interpret marine weather information; describe the impact that present observations and forecasts may have on sailing plans for the next 6 -12 hours.
  • Describe and identify Cumulonimbus clouds and what dangers they may signify.
  • Define ‘small craft advisory’ and ‘gale warning’ and describe precautions to be taken for each.

Sail Plan

  • Describe the appropriate sail combinations to carry under the following wind conditions: light (0-11 knots), moderate (12-19 knots), and heavy (20-33 knots).
  • Describe the procedures for reducing sail using a roller furling jib and a mainsail reefing system.
  • Describe the benefits of, and procedures for, heaving-to.


  • Describe the primary responsibilities of skipper and crew.
  • Describe, using diagrams as appropriate, the applicable rules for a 33-foot recreational sailing vessel, as found in the IRPCS:
    • Proceeding at a safe speed (Rule 6)
    • Determination of collision risk (Rule 7)
    • Taking early and substantial action to avoid collision (Rule 8).
    • Sailing vessels (Rule 12)
    • Overtaking (Rule 13)
    • Power-driven vessels in head-on (Rule 14)
    • Crossing (Rule 15) situations.
    • Give-way and Stand-on vessels (Rules 16 & 17).
    • Location, colour and illumination angles of required navigation lights at anchor, under sail, and under power.
    • Actions to be taken when operating a vessel in restricted visibility such as fog or haze including adaptation of speed and use of sound signals.
    • Basic maneuvering and warning signals (short and prolonged whistle blasts)
    • Describe the appearance and purpose of the ‘Diver Down’ and ‘Alpha’ flags.
  • Describe common anchor types, major considerations for anchorage selection, and proper scope for short term and overnight anchoring as well as storm conditions.


  • Describe the three stages of hypothermia; name symptoms and treatment for each.
  • Describe two methods for getting a person out of the water and safely back on board the vessel.
  • Identify common sources and prevention of fires and/or explosions, as well as appropriate actions to be taken if these situations arise. Describe different types of fires and procedures for operating a fire extinguisher.
  • Describe immediate actions to be taken when the following urgent situations arise:
  • Cabin filling with water
  • Failed steering system
  • Fouled propeller
  • Failed running or standing rigging
  • Dragging anchor
  • Grounding at anchor
  • Running aground under sail
  • Engine failure


  • Locate and examine for compliance the vessel’s legally required and ASA / RYA recommended safety equipment.
  • Demonstrate on shore or aboard the vessel the correct method for putting on a life jacket while in the water.
  • Identify the vessel’s battery selector switch and power distribution panel and ensure all switches are in the proper position for getting underway.
  • Ensure navigation lights (sidelights, stern light, steaming light, and anchor light) operate properly.
  • Perform a radio check using a working channel on the VHF radio.


  • Visually pilot the training vessel in and out of a harbour, correlating nautical chart symbols to actual landmarks and aids to navigation.
  • Steer a compass course (+/- 5 degrees) under power for a minimum of five minutes.

Under Power 

  • Visually inspect the auxiliary engine and demonstrate safe engine starting, operating, and stopping procedures. Demonstrate proper gearshift and throttle usage.
  • Ensure vessel & crew readiness and depart dock or slip smoothly and under control.
  • Approach a mooring buoy (or other mark as a simulation if no mooring available); stop the vessel within boathook reach; attach the vessel to the mooring using an appropriate line or bridle; cast off from the mooring and get underway.
  • Set a bow anchor in water depth 3m or greater, using correct procedures including hand signal communication, vessel manoeuvres, safety in handling ground tackle, and proper operation of windlass (if equipped). Anchor should hold with engine in reverse gear at one-half throttle. Raise anchor and get underway smoothly using correct procedures.
  • Describe and demonstrate the correct actions to be taken while under power from the time a person falls overboard until safely recovered.

Under Sail 

  • Hoist or unfurl sails correctly using halyards and / or furling devices. Describe the effect on sail trim or performance while adjusting each of the following lines and controls (if available on the practice vessel):
    • downhaul or cunningham
    • outhaul
    • boomvang
    • mainsheet
    • traveler
    • jibsheets
    • jibsheet fairleads
  • Discuss ways to reduce heeling.
  • Demonstrate correct winch operation, including safety considerations for line tension / breakage, hand / finger position, winch handle insertion / removal, and clearing overrides.
  • Without coaching or assistance, verbalize appropriate commands and demonstrate competence, safety and good seamanship in the role of Skipper / Helmsman during the manoeuvres listed below.
  • Honour all aids to navigation and use properly the Navigation Rules.
  • Ensure sails are trimmed correctly and the vessel is in control at all times. Adjust sail controls appropriately as the vessel’s heading changes and wind / sea conditions evolve.
  • Get out of ‘irons’ then select and maintain a given tack and course.
  • Head Up, Tack, Bear Away, and Jibe while pausing briefly at each of the following points of sail: Close Hauled, Close Reach, Beam Reach, Broad Reach, and Run (with sails “wing on wing”).
  • Heave-to and get sailing normally again.
  • While underway, reduce sail area by reefing mainsail and genoa; then shake out reef.
  • As crew, give appropriate verbal responses and perform correct actions during the manoeuvres listed above.
  • Describe and demonstrate the correct actions to be taken while under sail from the time a person falls overboard until safely recovered.
  • Lower and/or furl all sails and coil or flake and stow all lines properly.

Return to Dock/Slip 

  • Ensure vessel / crew readiness and use the auxiliary engine to bring the vessel smoothly and under control to a stop next to a parallel dock or into a slip; secure the vessel using appropriate lines and fenders.


  • Describe the purpose of, and construct without assistance and in a timely manner, each of the following knots:
    • Figure-8
    • Square (Reef) Knot
    • Clove Hitch
    • Round Turn & 2 Half Hitches
    • Cleat Hitch
    • Bowline
    • Sheet Bend
    • Rolling Hitch

Basic sailing skills

  • Can describe true and apparent wind, understands which we refer to, when and why.
  • Can describe the key sailing forces using diagrams. Can show where to find the center of effort and center of resistance of sails and keel.
  • Knows the causes of lee and weather helm and how to correct them.
  • Understands when and how to effect sail shape and sail interactions using:
    • Luff tension
    • Outhaul
    • Leech line
    • Boom bang
    • Backstay tension
    • Headsail car
    • Sheets
    • Mainsheet Traveller
    • Downhaul / Cunningham


  • Knows when to use a barometer and a thermometer and why.
  • Recognises cirrus, cirrostratus, altocumulus, stratocumulus, cumulonimbus and cumulus clouds and the weather expected to be associated with each.
  • Knows the difference between gradient and localised winds and what effect to expect on the weather.
  • Knows when and where to get reliable weather information and understands the limitations of the various sources.


  • Can helm a boat effectively both upwind and downwind and in light and strong winds.
  • Cam trim sails effectively in all conditions
  • Is competent in anticipating when and how to reef on all points of sail.
  • Can prepare a yacht and crew for heavy weather, including:
  • Preparation of crew (clothing, food, rest, watch system)
  • Stowing of all equipment down below
  • A thorough check of yacht systems
  • Timely sail change
  • Use of safety harness
  • Use of drogue / sea anchor
  • Heavy weather meteorology: wave heights, wind strengths, dangers to look out for, the rule of 8.
  • Storm tactics such as heave-to and lie ahull
  • Anchoring: finding a suitable anchorage and anchoring effectively
  • When and how to have an anchor watch, including responsibilities.
  • Various anchor drag alarms
  • Anchoring etiquette
  • When and how to use two anchors/lines ashore.
  • How to recover a fouled anchor
  • When and how to use an anchor buoy/trip line.
  • Med mooring: use of anchor, bow line, approach and departure techniques.
  • Know how to prepare a towing bridle
  • Understand the technique to pass a tow to another boat
  • Safely be able to get underway with a tow and know which speeds to use
  • Know how to avoid fouling the propeller
  • Understand the danger of the towline parting under stress
  • Know and understand the practical implementation of the key colregs
  • Has a full range of emergency techniques to include when:
    • The boat is dismasted
    • The boat runs aground
    • The boat is in trouble on a lee shore
    • The boat is on fire
    • The boat is flooding

Crew injuries

  • Knows the skipper’s responsibilities and actions for the following common courtesies and customs:
    • Permission to board
    • Permission and entitlement to come alongside
    • Permission and entitlement to cross adjacent boats when after
    • Rights of the first boat at an anchorage
    • Keep clear of boats racing
    • Offering assistance to yachtsmen in trouble.
    • Flag etiquette: National flag, Courtesy flag, Burgee/house flag, dipping flag
    • The importance of a clean, tidy, ordered yacht.
  • Knows the documents required and the procedures followed when leaving and entering territorial waters.


  • Has basic engineering knowledge, including:
    • Theory of how to fix fuel supply problems
    • Theory of how to fix electrical problems
    • When and how (theory) to service an engine
    • Describe when and how to carry out an oil change.
  • Understands the basics of:
    • Through hull fittings
    • Electrical systems
    • Corrosion
    • Antifoul
    • Pre-season / annual inspections
    • Spars and rigging
    • Lightning conductors
    • Swimming safely while the boat is at anchor.
    • The danger of overhead power lines.
    • Portable radar reflectors vs active reflectors


  • Demonstrated they can perform the duties of skipper and crew on a passage.
  • Knows the correct methods of towing a dinghy.
  • Can recover a casualty overboard while sailing at night.
  • Can anchor, weigh anchor, pick up and cast off moorings while acting as helmsman and/or crew.
  • Can take a depth sounding using two different methods.
  • Can keep a watch and navigate effectively.
  • Theory or preferably practical understanding re hoisting, setting, trimming, jibing, dousing and packing a spinnaker.


  • On Offshore trips, you can earn the RYA Competent Crew certificate and, with sufficient skills and experience, you can act as a Watch Leader and complete your qualifying passage for RYA Yachtmaster Ocean.

      For those wishing to learn how to be a watch leader or skipper of an ocean-going vessel, the Rubicon 3 Ocean Watch Leader Course is a must.

      This course takes you through:

      • Suitable yacht design
      • How to prepare your yacht
      • How to plan your passage
      • Critical weather information and its sources
      • How to handle heavy weather if you get caught in it
      • The consumables you’ll need
      • The spares you need
      • The communications equipment choices you have
      • Crew management and watch systems
      • Sea sickness and medical emergencies

      Please contact us for further details


      • You may sign on to an ocean trip as Watch Leader providing you have RYA Coastal Skipper or international equivalent or equivalent skills and experience.
      • We will ask for proof of this before you join the yacht.

      Initial test

      • When you first join the yacht as a watch leader, you will be asked to sit a 30 minute theory test, which is not dissimilar to RYA Yachtmaster theory. So long as you have done your revision, you will have nothing to worry about.
      • If you fail to meet the standard, you will likely be reassigned as a crew member. This is to ensure the safety of the vessel and crew.

       A Watch Leader’s role & responsibilities

      • You have a contradictory position as a watch leader in that you are both student and being asked to lead your watch.
      • As a student, you are there to polish your existing skills and to learn many new ones. As watch leader, you are there to use your past experience and existing skills to ensure the yacht is sailed safely.
      • This entails but is not limited to:
        • Monitoring the wind and weather and informing the skipper if there is a change beyond that allowed in the SOPs.
        • Ensure the course and speed are appropriate to the plan
        • Ensuring the watch is keeping a good lookout, including on the AIS and radar where applicable
        • Monitoring of the VHF
        • Monitoring the well being of the other crew on deck and ensuring they are kept warm, fed and rested.
        • Making sure that the log is kept accurately and the yacht’s position plotted.
        • Keeping the cockpit safe and orderly
        • Getting sextant sights were appropriate
        • Having the new watch woken in time and your watch always timely.
      • You should be aware that we expect a watch leader to lead, not tell people what to do.
      • That means you need to work harder than the rest of the watch, be outside when it is raining and cold, and not hiding down by the chart table.
      • You need to be getting warm drinks made, doing the tough jobs and generally setting a superb example that ensures others are willing to follow and contribute.
      • If we do not feel you have adequately fulfilled the role, we will not sign you off as having completed the role adequately.

      On-going assessment

      • During the course of your ocean passage, you will have continual assessment of your capabilities and performance.
      • The skipper and mate will be working with you each day and keeping you up to date with how well you are doing and where you need to improve. The aim is that you learn a lot and pass.
      • However, if it is felt you have not reached the required standard, you will not be signed off as having completed the role satisfactorily.
      • The assessment is as follows:
        • Maintains an accurate log, including monitoring of day tank and battery levels
        • Navigation station is tidy and orderly when on watch
        • Effectively delegates navigational tasks to other crew members
        • Can monitor and maintain course and speed
        • Other crew members are kept well informed and involved in the passage
        • Punctuality on watch
        • Daily engine and generator checks are completed effectively
        • Bilges are checked regularly
        • Effective deck walk is conducted morning and evening with observations reported and/ or resolved
        • Maintains good safety discipline on watch (clipping on, lifejackets correctly worn)
        • Informs the skipper or mate of significant events and circumstances
        • Can monitor and assess traffic situations
        • Can deliver a good passage briefing or happy hour position up date
        • Conducts an effective hand over with on-coming watch
        • Latest weather forecasts are recorded and analysed
        • Accurate monitoring of weather conditions on watch
        • Appropriate sail plan for the conditions

      Total marks available: 105 Pass mark: 70

      Free Ocean Watch Leader Course

      When signing up as a Watch Leader, there is an additional fee of £150. This covers the additional training we give you. It also gives you free access to the Rubicon 3 Ocean Watch Leader Course, which we strongly recommend you take before starting your passage with us.

      The RYA Ocean Qualifying passage

      • You must have completed a qualifying passage within the past 10 years as skipper or mate in sole charge of a watch on a suitable vessel.
      • You must have been fully involved in the planning of the passage, including selection of the route, the navigational plan, checking the material condition of the vessel and her equipment, storing with spare gear, water and victuals and organising the watch-keeping routine.
      • Your time onboard as a watch leader with Rubicon 3 achieves all of these requirements.

      Are Rubicon 3 Ocean Passages suitable for Ocean qualifying passages?

      • Yes, except for the rare exception, they all are.
      • We very carefully check the routes against the RYA criteria so you can rest assured that it will qualify.
      • If you’re ever in any doubt whether a passage is an ocean qualifier just email us or call us on +44 (0)20 3086 7245

      What tasks do I need to complete onboard prior the exam?

      • It is important to recognise that in order to take the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean exam, you must have the following:
        • A qualifying passage
        • A suitable set of celestial navigation sights
        • A compass check
      • These do not have to be done during your qualifying passage, although obviously most people choose to do so.
      • We will help you revise for these tasks, but you will be expected to complete them yourself for the actual exercise.
      Get in touch

      Let us help you pick the perfect sailing holiday, course or just chat through your options.


      +44 7456 642 164

      Who we are

      Blueco Holdings Ltd, t/a Rubicon 3 Adventure
      20 – 22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU

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