Christmas and new years break: Sailing holiday in Morocco
Adventure sailing along the coast of Morocco for a spectacular Christmas and Ney Year's Eve break
There are so many of us who much prefer to spend the Christmas holiday and New Year break out of the country and off having a wonderful time and this is an adventure holiday that perfectly fits the bill. Christmas holidays for singles can also be a funny old time and this is, without doubt, an absolute win. So if like us you're always wondering what to do with the New Years eve break, want to celebrate Christmas but not be swamped by it, and more than anything just want to spend these two weeks having a lovely time, you're in the right place. Come and join Rubicon 3 as we head down to the sunny climes of Morocco, enjoy some wonderful sailing, meet new friends and like minded souls and explore this wonderful part of the world. Our Christmas and New Year breaks are always a huge success..
These are the available dates and routes. To book your place, please select the dates from the drop-down above the ‘Add to Cart’ button.
TRIP CODE: GTC231221
- Start date / place: December 23 2021. Gibraltar
- End date / place: January 05 2021. Cadiz, Spain
- Full price: £1,999
- Deposit: £800
Please see ‘TRAVEL – GETTING TO & FROM YOUR TRIP’ tab for advice on start and end points.
This is 40% of the trip price and is non-refundable. On making payment, your berth is guaranteed.
Paying the balance
The balance of the invoice can be paid at any time. It must be received by Rubicon 3 90 days before the trip start date or your place will automatically be cancelled. We will remind you of the date nearer the time.
Cancellations and moving trips
Our expedition sailing yachts only have between 7 and 10 berths on them. When you book, you are committing to take one of these places. Due to these very limited numbers, we will often have turned away someone else who would have liked the berth. Unlike many other holidays, please understand this gives us little if any flexibility to make changes or to move trips. We will always endeavour to assist you (& the earlier you tell us the better), but unless we can find someone else to take your place, we usually cannot move your booking.
This is a typical sailing itinerary for this route. What makes an adventure holiday 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.
Join the boat and 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. After lunch, we’ll start to show you the boat, issue lifejackets and oilskins and teach you the most important skills when on board.
Sailing and training In the Bay of Gibraltar
We’ll start with our usual day of sailing in training in the Bay of Gibraltar. This is a fun and protected area to sail, with vast cargo ships either at anchor or motoring past and the iconic Rock of Gibraltar in the background. This is the day to learn the ropes. Whatever your level of experience, from none to some, there are new skills to learn, old skills to refresh and lots of fun to be had in the famously supportive Rubicon 3 environment. We’ll practice tacking, gybing and even how to recover a casualty should someone fall overboard. We will gradually be sailing westward throughout the day and before the sun sets we’ll drop anchor in the beautiful bay of Getares. Anchoring in front of a vast white sandy beach, It’s a lovely place to have a sundowner or two and watch the stars come out. It’s the end of the first day of what is going to be a wonderful sailing holiday.
Sailing to Ceuta in Morocco
After a leisurely breakfast, we can pull up the anchor, set the sails, and use the wonderfully reliable wind In this region to sail south from Europe’s most southerly point to the north coast of Africa. It’s a short journey around 15 miles so we can expect to be at sea for around 3 to 4 hours. It’s enough time to have a wonderful sail and still have plenty of time when we arrive at Ceuta to jump off the boat and explore.
The tiny enclave of Ceuta is one of Europe’s two land borders with Africa. It is a lovely town in which to wander around, drink a mint tea at a street cafe, and look at its many historical ruins and churches. With its ownership long contested between Morocco, Spain and Portugal, it may be small in size but it is rich in history.
Sailing to Smir, Morocco for Christmas Eve
Today we have another lovely sail south to the Moroccan port of Smir. Leaving after breakfast, we should happily be there in time for a late lunch. While we are sailing along, we will be learning more skills, improving navigation techniques, and generally getting to grips with the yacht. Hour by hour, everything will be feeling increasingly familiar.
Smir is the most gorgeous place, with rolling green hills, long white sandy beaches, and lots of things to do. The Moroccans have invested heavily in this area and it has made a really attractive place to come. Once we’ve docked the boat, it’s time to run down to the sea for a swim of the white sandy beach, have a cold beer in one of the many lovely cafes and maybe have a walk along the shoreline before dinner.
One of the joys of this type of sailing holiday is that we can make up the itinerary every day as we go! Tonight it’s Christmas Eve, so we’ll open a bottle of champagne or two, have a lovely meal and enjoy a special evening here on the coast of Morocco.
Christmas day will be one to remember for a long time. We will head off to Tetouan, a hidden gem right at the foot of the Rif mountains. Its medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its history as a crossroads between Spanish and Moroccan cultures. It is extremely well-preserved and relatively untouched.
The Royal Palace and its enormous, cordoned-off plaza called Place Hassan II sit at the very centre and forms the backdrop to terraces of whitewashed houses with blue roofs glinting in the sun. Traders are everywhere selling their wares, and it’s wonderful just to wander through the cobbled streets, old Medina and soak up the atmosphere.
If we’re lucky we’ll be able to reserve a table for lunch at Riad Blanco, our absolute favourite restaurant in Tetouan. The food is Moroccan in origin but with a strong European influence, and it’s not expensive. Come the evening we’ll head back to the boat for some more champagne, a good dinner and to finish off one of the most special Christmas holidays you’ll have.
Sail to Tarifa
It’s Boxing Day and it’s a 30nm sail today to an overnight anchorage Tarifa, known as the windiest place in the world! We love it here. This will be a fairly full day sail, so we’ll set off after breakfast, have lunch underway and arrive in this enchanting anchorage just as the sun is setting. To our left we’ll see all the various Moroccan towns drifting past, with occasional sounds and smells wafting out to reach us. To our right hand side, we’ll pass the vast cargo ships, ploughing their way along the Straits of Gibraltar, headed to distant shores. It’s a lovely day of sailing. Tarifa is a 1,000-year-old walled labyrinth with a community swelled by surfers who came and never left. As such, it is a fascinating mix of off-the-beaten-track, cosmopolitan and down right cool, and home to some of the best places to eat, drink and stay on the Costa de la Luz
Sail to and explore Tangier
It’s time for another wonderful sail across the Straits, with a 20 mile sail south west to the Moroccan city of Tangier and by the time we tie up everyone will be ready for a hearty meal. We will put a day aside to wander around and explore this fascinating city. We can head up to the Kasbah, one of the older parts of Tangier, for the most beautiful view over the city and over the sea. Once we’re up there, we would highly recommend heading to the picturesque Café Hafa for mint tea and more wonderful views. Then it’s time to head back down to the medina and soukh for a fascinating insight into Tangier life. One of the real joys of Tangier is eating its extraordinary range of street food. Spicy sardines, aubergine fritters, brochettes, and even for the brave amongst you a whole sheep’s head! This is sold with or without eyes, although the brains are always sold separately at another stall. To eat a head, wait for the vendor to scrape off the fur. Then sprinkle it with cumin, salt and chili, and scrape out the tender cheek meat and tongue. Feeling brave?!
Sail to and explore Rota
It’s the big sail today, with a 60nm passage north to the gorgeous fishing port of Rota. This is another full day of sailing, so it’s another early breakfast, then slip the line and use the all but guaranteed easterly or westerly winds to power us north. We should make fantastic time and this can often be a really exhilarating sail where you’ll experience these 60′ expedition yachts at their very best. Rota has probably the best seafood market in the whole of Andalucia, so a trip here is a must. The town as a whole is so charming to walk around and explore. Highlights are the Palacio Municipal Castillo de Luna and the church of Nuestra Señora de la Expectación
Sail to Cadiz for New Year’s Eve.
It’s the last day of the year and we have a short 15nm sail to the wonderful cathedral city of Cadiz. We’ll do this in the morning so we have the full afternoon to relax, explore and prepare for the big party (Nochevieja or Fin de Año in Spanish) We’ll have the traditional dinner of shrimp or prawns, and lamb or capon. Tradition says that wearing new, red underwear on New Year’s Eve brings good luck, so make sure you pack some! The actual countdown is met with the traditional custom of eating twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock. This tradition has its origins in 1909, when grape growers in Alicante thought of it as a way to use up the huge surplus they had that year. Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonymous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, we’ll have a toast or five with cava and then for those who wish to is nearly always wonderful atmosphere in town to continue the celebrations.
Gentle recovery in Cadiz!
Today is your own day to do with as you wish. For those who partied hard, you can just lounge around, have a long late brunch and wander through the city in the afternoon. For those with a fresher head on, Cadiz has so much to see and explore. It’s a wonderful, wonderful place to start the New Year. Whatever everyone does, will reconvene in the late afternoon to have one last lovely evening together
Packing up and saying goodbye
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 (we prefer if you don’t, but if you need to catch a ferry or flight, you can leave as early as you need to on the last day).
JOINING & LEAVING THE BOAT
- You should join the boat at 1100hrs on the start day. It is important you are not late.
- You will disembark between 0700 and 1200hrs on the end day.
- For exact start and end locations, please see the ‘Dates & Prices’ tab
INFORMATION TO HELP GET TO AND FROM THE START AND END POINTS
- Gibraltar (IATA code: GIB) has flights from various countries. The boat is a short taxi ride from the airport
- You can fly out of Jerez (IATA code: XRY). Ryanair, British Airways and Iberia all fly there.
- You also fly out of Seville (IATA code: SVQ) which can often be easier
AGE & EXPERIENCE
These adventure sailing holidays are open to anyone aged 18 – 70 years. No previous sailing experience is required for this route
CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT
We provide the foul weather clothing, life-jackets and all other technical equipment you will need. You need to bring a sleeping bag and some waterproof boots.
FITNESS TO SAIL
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.
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.
- All crew must have adequate travel insurance in place for your sailing holiday.
- We strongly recommend that you arrange insurance as soon as you book. This ideally will cover you for any mishaps, medical or otherwise, in the build-up to your holiday so that should you have to cancel, you can reclaim you fees.
- Please note we will not refund your money or cancel your invoice due to medical issues that disqualify you from joining your trip.
- For our latest guidance on travel insurance, please read here.
TRIP CATEGORY: COASTAL SAILING
For a full explanation of what to expect with the various trip ratings please click here.
INCLUDED IN YOUR SAILING HOLIDAY
- 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 can be earned 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 Trip Notes before booking.