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Christmas and new years break: Sailing holiday in Morocco

Christmas and new years break: Sailing holiday in Morocco

Coastal Sailing

Morocco & Cadiz: 23 December ’20 – 02 January ’21 (£1,999)




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..

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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.

Day 1: Joining day

Join the boat between 1200 and 2000hrs (the closer to 1200 the better but we know flights and such like don’t always work like that, so don’t worry!) 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. Gibraltar is usually lovely and warm at this time of year and you can sit and gaze out over the ocean with a sundowner!

Day 2: 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.

Day Three: 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.

Day Four: 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.

Day Five: Explore Tetouan

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.

Day six: 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

Days seven to eight: 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 meall. 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?!

Days nine to ten: 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

Day eleven: 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.

Day 12: 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

Day 13: 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).


  • You should join the boat in Gibraltar after 1200 hrs on the start day. It is good if you can join us as close to 1200 hrs as possible, but if your flight or ferry gets in later than this, that is fine. We will ask you closer to the time to let us know your travel details.
  • You will disembark the boat in Cadiz by 1200 hrs on the last day.


  • 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


Cadiz to Jerez

Cadiz to Seville



These adventure sailing holidays are open to everyone aged 18 years and over. 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.



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.

See more information and the full kit list here


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.

See the Medical Declaration here


  • 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 you fees.
  • Please note we cannot refund your money or cancel your invoice due to medial issues.
  • For our latest guidance on travel insurance, please read here.


Mostly day sailing, shorter mileage and more time to head ashore and explore.


  • 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.


  • 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.

    Terms & Conditions