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Adventure Sailing Holiday: London – St Petersburg

Adventure Sailing Holiday: London – St Petersburg





A classic adventure sailing holiday between London and St Petersburg, via the historic Polish city of Gdansk.

This extraordinary adventure runs between Tower Bridge in the heart of London and St Petersburg, Russia. It involves crossing the North Sea, sailing to the Hague, the Dutch Frisian Islands and transitting the iconic Kiel Canal. We sail along and explore Germany's northern coast with all its UNESCO World Heritage sites and also sail to the fascinating coast of Poland and the stunning city of Gdansk. Add in Lithuania, the islands of Estonia, Tallinn and of course the golden domes of St Petersburg itself and you have an adventure holiday as spectacular as it's possible to be.    
Sailing location image

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.

Please note: You can buy individual legs or the entire expedition (highly recommended). You can also sail from London to St Petersburg or St Petersburg to London. See below.

TRIP CODE: LTS260621 – L1

  • Start date / place: June 26 2021. London, England
  • End date / place: July 11 2021. Gdansk, Poland
  • Full price: £1,999
  • Deposit: £800

TRIP CODE: LTS260621 – L2

  • Start date / place: July 12 2021. Gdansk, Poland
  • End date / place: July 25 2021. St Petersburg, Russia
  • Full price: £2,159
  • Deposit: £864


  • Start date / place: June 26 2021. London, England
  • End date / place: July 25 2021. St Petersburg, Russia
  • Full price: £3,999
  • Deposit: £1,600

TRIP CODE: STL310721 – L1

  • Start date / place: July 31 2021. St Petersburg, Russia
  • End date / place: August 17 2021. Gdansk, Poland
  • Full price: £2,699
  • Deposit: £1,080

TRIP CODE: STL310721 – L2

  • Start date / place: August 18 2021. Gdansk, Poland
  • End date / place: September 03 2021. London, England
  • Full price: £2,499
  • Deposit: £1,000


  • Start date / place: July 31 2021. St Petersburg, Russia
  • End date / place: September 03 2021. London, England
  • Full price: £4,699
  • Deposit: £1,880


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 itinerary from London to St Petersburg. If you are sailing St Petersburg to London, please just reverse it! 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.

LEG 1 – LONDON TO GDANSK, POLAND (or leg 2 on reverse trip!)

Joining day

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.

Sail up the Thames

Such is the strength of the tide in the Thames, that we have to go with the direction of flow. That can mean an early start. It is a brilliant start as we pull out of the lock by Tower Bridge and turn left for Russia! As we head down the Thames, we will practice winch drills, start training and do lots of prep. It’s a good few hours and a fascinating journey as we sail right up to the mouth of the river where we will likely anchor overnight.

Sail across the North Sea to the Hague

Weather permitting, we now have a lovely introduction sail, with around 120nm to this fascinating Belgian city with all its history. Sailing through the afternoon and night, you will experience the first night at sea, with (we hope!) beautiful stars and all the commercial shipping that makes for a fantastic challenge. We should arrive late morning and will have the afternoon and evening to explore. There’s a sailing course built into every trip, so even if you’re a beginner, you’ll be learning to sail every day.

Sail north to the Dutch Frisian Islands

It’s around 60nm north now to the wonderful Frisian Islands, an archipelago off the coast of the Netherlands. They are beautiful in their own right and famous for their starring role in the Riddle of the Sands novel. We can pick an island and have a full day to explore ashore.

Sail east to the Kiel Canal

The adventure now continues with a 160nm sail to get to the western end of the Kiel Canal, so we will set off early as this will take us 24 hours, and we will be sailing through the night again. With a full boat, we will be able to run three watches, and that means you get a good six hours off and plenty of sleep.

Transit the Kiel Canal

As dawn breaks, we should be entering the mouth of the River Elbe and shortly after that the Kiel Canal. This incredible feat of engineering is around 65nm long, and we have a lovely day of gentle motoring ahead, watching the German countryside glide past. At the same time, we’ll be dodging the large container ships that can seem to take up the entire width of the Canal at times. This evening we will dock in Kiel for the night and head into town to a good German hostelry for a stein of beer and some hearty food.

Sail east to Stralsund

We have around 120nm to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Stralsund. We will be sailing through the day and warm night skies of the Baltic, and by early morning we should be docking, ready to spend a full day exploring ashore.

Explore the island of Rugen

It’s a short sail this morning, to the east coast of the island of Rugen and the lovely harbour of Sassnitz. This is a special seaside resort, much beloved by the Germans, and you will fall in love with its long promenade, lovely restaurants and relaxed pace of life.

Sail east to Peenemunde

Another short sail, this time to the fascinating, bizarre and unmissable Peenemunde. Home to the V2 rocket in World War 2, this site is steeped in history and has so much to see and do. There’s a Russian submarine that can board and explore. Yes – this is authentic adventure travel and you may well never experience a place like this again!

Sail east to Hel

We can’t sail past somewhere called Hel! What you’ll find is that Hel is a wonderful Polish seaside town and a superb place to stop. It’s 180nm of sailing to get there so we’ll want to be leaving Peenemunde at first light to give ourselves as much time as possible in Hel.

Arrive in Gdansk

If you have never been to Gdansk, you will love this city. It is an incredible entrance as we drive up the river through the massive shipyards and then, docking in the centre of town, you will be in a beautiful Hanseatic city that is full of life, with so much to see and do. Gdansk, full of history, is an extraordinary place that is always a huge favourite with the crew.

LEG 2: GDANSK TO ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (or leg 1 in reverse!)

Joining day

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.

Sail east to Klaipeda, Lithuania

Now we start to head far off the beaten track, and it’s around 120nm of sailing to this fascinating town where the Baltic meets the Dane River. We will spend the next day here and take time to explore the old city with its fantastic collection of ancient wooden buildings, the forest and the white sand beaches. It is an exceptional place.

Explore the Estonian islands

Now we sail north and explore some of Estonia and its hundreds of islands. There’s the charming, rarely visited town of Liepaja, the party island of Parnu and the tiny islands of Kihnu and Ruhnu. Other islands are Haapsalu, Hiiumaa and the Saaremaa. There is just so much to choose from, and you will be sailing and exploring in areas you will likely never get to see any other way.

Explore Tallinn

This majestic city, the capital of Estonia, is an absolute must-see. It’s walled, cobble-stoned old town is a maze of fascinating shops, restaurants, houses and people. You could spend a week here, engrossed in all it has to offer, but we will just no more than 48 hours to take in as much as we can. This will be our last stop before Russia!

Sail from Tallinn to St Petersburg

We have around 120nm to sail to the Russian border, and we will have to make landfall at the small island of Ostrov before our final passage east to the golden spires of St Petersburg! We have done it!

Clean up, debriefs and goodbyes

The end comes all too soon, but there’s no doubt that you’ll go home with some unforgettable memories and having had a massive amount of fun. After cleaning up, swapping photos and saying goodbye to the boat and the crew, you’ll be free to disembark from 1200h. We would suggest staying an extra day or two, if you can, to explore more of St Petersburg.


  • 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



    The boat will be in St Katharine Docks, London, close to Tower Bridge. (They do sometimes cancel on us last minute so it may be at a nearby location.) The nearest underground station is Tower Hill or London Bridge. The nearest airports are London Gatwick (IATA code: LGW) or London Heathrow (IATA code: LHR).


    The boat is moored a thirty minute taxi ride away from Gdansk airport (IATA code: GDN).


    The boat will be in the Central River Yacht Club, St Petersburg. Please note you will need a visa to enter Russia. Please see the section on Key Information below. The boat is a 30-minute taxi ride from St Petersburg airport (IATA code: LED)


    If you are sailing into or out of Russia, you will need to get a visa (some countries are exempt – please check for your passport). We will issue letters of invitation three months before the start date. You will need to book in at your local Russian embassy and use this letter of invitation to get your visa. It is necessary to provide biometric data so you cannot do this remotely.


    These adventure sailing holidays are open to anyone aged 18 – 70 years. No previous sailing experience is required for this route


    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.

    See more information and the full kit list here


    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.

    Fitness to sail


    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.

    See the Medical Declaration here


    • 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 your 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.


    For a full explanation of what to expect with the various trip ratings please click here.


    • Oilskins
    • 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.


    • 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.