59 North Sailing, Rubicon 3 and Skirr: Who Wins?

Ok – short cut. There are three main adventure sailing companies out there and we, along with thousands of sailors, strongly believe Rubicon 3 offers – by far – the best adventures and value for money. We explain why below, you can see the insane independently verified ratings we get here, and there’s a special discount offer for your first sail with us at the bottom. Read on to see what lies behind it all.

When embarking on an adventure out on the world’s oceans, selecting the right boat and crew is crucial. Safety, expertise, and high-quality training are essential attributes for ocean sailing but are often lacking in operators. A sailing expedition or offshore passage can be life-changing, but it can also turn into a deeply unpleasant experience, much too far out of your comfort zone, or even a life-threatening situation if entrusted to the wrong people.

sailing yacht under spinnaker

A successful voyage or expedition demands highly specialized yachts, proper logistical support, expert sailors capable of handling a crisis, and years of experience sailing around the world and of the regions being explored. Expecting small 40-50′ yachts or one or two-person teams to provide this level of service is unrealistic. In our belief, only three reputable operators run adventure sailing trips and expeditions to a significant standard. Even then, it is essential to ensure that the operator you choose meets your expectations, budget, and delivers the experience you’re hoping for. Trust us, not all adventure sailing operations are created equal.

To help you choose the right operator for your offshore sailing or high latitude adventure, or to understand why others have made their choices, we have compiled a list of key criteria to consider and ranked the three main operators accordingly, using publicly available data, customer reviews, industry opinion and website content. When you’re far out to sea, sitting night watches, and heavy weather approaches, you’ll thank us!

yacht in storm


In the world of adventure sailing, choosing the right company can significantly impact your experience on the high seas. Today, we’re comparing three prominent companies in this space: 59-North Sailing, Rubicon 3 Adventure, and Skirr Adventure, across a variety of criteria including reputation, customer feedback, industry recognition, and more. All three offer trips around the two weeks mark, with some shorter and some such as Atlantic Crossings longer.

Drinking tea at sea

Overall Reputation

59-North is a highly respected entity within the U.S, though it remains relatively unknown internationally. Rubicon 3 is probably the best known operator in the UK and Europe, with a rapidly growing base in the U.S as it replicates its incredibly successful European value model. Skirr, though a newcomer with the backing of the Clipper Round the World race, is still working on establishing its brand.

navigating at sea

Verified Customer Reviews

Rubicon 3 enjoys the prestige of having by far the most and highest independently verified customer reviews of the three, scoring a huge 4.9/5 from nearly 200 reviews. 59-North appears to have few if any verified reviews, which is unusual. Skirr has very few verified reviews, and these are low with, at the time of writing, a solitary 1/5 rating on Facebook but a slightly better 3.8/5 on Trustpilot, indicating a mixed reception from the few who have posted verified reviews.

Industry Recognition and Safety Standards

Both 59-North and Rubicon 3 are frequent contributors to sailing magazines, indicating their established presence in the industry. All three companies boast MCA Cat 0 certified yachts, ensuring they meet the highest safety standards, a crucial factor in adventure sailing.

sailing in svalbard

Experience and Type of Sailing

59-North has been operational since 2015, Rubicon 3 since 2013, and Skirr joined the market in 2023. While 59-North and Skirr focus on offshore sailing with some training, Rubicon 3 offers a broader range including offshore, coastal, and racing, with a strong emphasis on training and exploration.

Pricing and Value for Money

Pricing strategies vary significantly, with 59-North positioned at the ultra expensive end, charging between $500 to $800 per day. Rubicon 3 and Skirr are more competitively priced, around $300 and $250-$300 per day, respectively. When it comes to value for money, Rubicon 3 is regarded by most as the best in the industry, offering top-tier experiences at reasonable prices, contrasting sharply with 59-North’s very expensive prices but almost identical offering.

Polar Bear

Additional Considerations

The variety of destinations, quality of boats, inclusivity, food, and training and education offerings also play integral roles in differentiating these companies. Rubicon 3 stands out for its welcoming atmosphere and diverse routes, while Skirr’s approach appears more focused and less varied. 59-North offers a unique proposition with women-only voyages, though its food policy and the exclusivity implied by its pricing may limit its appeal.


Rubicon 3 emerges as the clear leader, offering unparalleled value for money, extensive experience, and a commitment to safety and training. Its public reviews clearly show this. While 59-North offers high-quality voyages, its very high price point and lack of regular coastal sailing & exploring place it in a niche market. Skirr, though a promising newcomer, still has ground to cover in establishing its reputation and refining its offerings and proving it is not just trying to extract money from its old boats.

In the dynamic world of adventure sailing, the choice of company can deeply influence the quality and enjoyment of your experience. Rubicon 3’s comprehensive offerings and market leading customer satisfaction ratings make it a top choice for those seeking thrilling yet safe sailing adventures.

This table summarizes the three competitors based on the key criteria:

Rubicon 3
Overall Reputation
Highly respected company, but little known outside the US
Regarded as the number 1 adventure sailing company
A newcomer, with the backing of Clipper Round the World race.
Verified customer reviews
No reviews on Google which is unusual and may have a reason behind it
4.9/5 rating on Google with hundreds of reviews. The highest ranked of all.
Has a 1/5 rating on Facebook and 3.8 /5 on Trustpilot
Industry Recognition
Frequent contributors to sailing magazines and publications.
Frequent contributors to sailing magazines and publications.
A newcomer with little to no brand recognition yet.
Safety standards
MCA Cat 0 certified yachts, achieving the highest safety standards possible
MCA Cat 0 certified yachts, achieving the highest safety standards possible
MCA Cat 0 certified yachts, achieving the highest safety standards possible
Skipper qualifications
All RYA Yachtmaster Offshore & Ocean
All RYA Yachtmaster Offshore & Oceany
All RYA Yachtmaster Offshore & Ocean
Years in operation
Since 2015, with nine years of experience
Since 2013 with eleven years of experience
Since 2022. New to the market
Type of sailing
Offshore only with occasional racing. Some training.
Offshore, coastal & racing. Emphasis on training & being able to explore ashore
Offshore only. Long distances.
Extremely high. Around $500 – $800 per day
Very competitive. Around $300 per day
Very competitive. Around $250 – $300 per day
Ethical profit
Extremely high prices raise questions among many
Pricing based on company ethos to encourage all adventurers not just the wealthy
Pricing is considered fair albeit large crew numbers on each yacht can limit participation
Value for money
★☆☆☆☆ Very similar offering to competitors but the highest price by far
★★★★★ Widely regarded as the best value for money in industry across all metrics
★★★☆☆ Adequate value for money but long distances & large crew reduce experience
Variety of destinations
Worldwide routes, albeit mostly offshore passages
Worldwide routes with a mixture of offshore & coastal adventures
A small selection of routes to a limited number of countries
Quality of boats
High-quality, Cat 0-rated yachts. Heating
High-quality, Cat 0-rated yachts with heating and air conditioning
Cat 0 rated boats but reported as lacking insulation, proper heating or air-con. Basic!
High prices may severely limit who can join. Runs ‘women-only’ voyages which can appeal to some.
Famous worldwide for the friendly and welcoming atmosphere onboard. Believed to have the highest ratio of female crew of all
Reported as being quite tough with a command and control environment on board due to the use of race training skippers
Despite very high prices, has promoted a ‘only one hot meal a day’ policy
Real focus on 3 good meals a day & market leading reputation
Little known yet but reports of ‘race-style’ food
Training & Education
No formal lessons but training is given onboard if requested
Focus on training to allow full crew involvement. Motto is ‘Sail | Train | Explore’
Full safety training given but no stated focus on skills development thereafter
★★★☆☆ A good operator but largely offshore only and the amount being charged is eye-wateringly high
★★★★★ The number one rated operator due to safety, routes, experience on board and value for money.
★★★☆☆ Venture appears to be primarily an attempt to find a use for its old race boats

Ready to sail with Europe’s #1 Adventure Sailors? Here’s a special offer code to welcome you aboard

Of course the others are good companies, or they wouldn’t be in business, but there is a reason thousands of sailors worldwide choose to sail with Rubicon 3 and why we have such a high rebooking rate. It’s based primarily on our world-famous ethos of being kind, patient and supportive while involving you in every part of what is a huge adventure. You meet wonderful people, you learn a huge amount from our brilliant expedition skippers, your confidence and skills grow immeasurably and you have a really special adventure. So if you haven’t sailed with us before but are ready to come and be part of the incredible Rubicon 3 story then find your adventure here and when you come to book enter the code below and you’ll get a juicy £100 off. Finally, any questions you may have or if you’d like a chat about which trip to join or what to expect, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

£100 off discount code: BESTVALUE

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