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Offshore sailing holiday from Madeira to Morocco

Offshore sailing holiday from Madeira to Morocco

Offshore & ocean sailing




Join this incredible sailing adventure from the Portuguese island of Madeira to North Africa & Europe's most southerly shores

Two weeks of sailing, training and exploring. Starting on the south eastern shores of Madeira, we will do some training, skills and drills, exploring the southern shores of Madeira, maybe the island of Porto Santo and the stunning Islas de Deserthas. Starting from the westerly most point of the island, we then head out onto the open ocean for 600nm of exhilarating open ocean sailing to the Moroccan port of Tangier. We'll explore this fascinating north African city with its bustling souks and medina before sailing to the fascinating town of Gibraltar.  (This is a Yachtmaster Ocean qualifying passage for watch leaders).


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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.


  • Start date / place: December 05 2022. Quinta Da Lorde, Madeira
  • End date / place: December 16, 2022. Cadiz, Spain
  • Full price: £1,899
  • Deposit: £475


This is an entirely optional day prior to the start of the trip where we train you in the navigational and passage planning skills needed for an ocean passage.

Find out more about the day here.

If you wish to attend the Ocean Theory Training Day (please ensure you add the module to your basket), you will need to join the boat at 1000hrs the day before the main start date. You will be allowed to stay on the boat that night


  • This trip meets the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean for a qualifying passage, so long as you are a watch leader.
  • If you wish to join as a watch leader, you must meet the criteria as detailed on our ‘Watch Leader‘  page.
  • It is also compulsory to attend the ‘Ocean Training Day’ which gives you in depth training on how to run an ocean passage.
  • You must book the watch leader place at the same time as you make your main booking. Please ensure you have added a ‘watch leader’ module to your cart.
  • There are only three watch leaders spaces per yacht.


Please see ‘TRAVEL – GETTING TO & FROM YOUR TRIP’ tab for advice on start and end points.



This 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 for the route from Madeira to Morocco. Check the Dates & Prices tab for exact start and end locations for your trip. What makes expedition sailing so special is that there can be no fixed itinerary and so the detailed itinerary below can be indicative only. The wind and the weather ultimately shape actual timings and what’s possible each day.

Briefings and coastal sail training

We start getting up to speed with the boat. Whether you are a complete novice or more experienced sailor, everyone benefits from detailed introductions, safety briefings and training sessions. You will have two highly experienced instructors to guide you through every aspect of what you need to know to have a great sailing holiday. By lunchtime we should be casting off the lines, hoisting the sails and working through all the key sailing manoeuvres such as tacking and gybing, reefing and knot tying! By the end of the day, everyone on board should feel comfortable with the basics – even though there’s more to learn and practice every day. We’ll likely anchor and explore the stunning Islas de Dersethas the first night and dock in Funchal, the capital the second.

Preparation and planning for the ocean passage in Funchal

With a good 600nm of open ocean sailing ahead of us, we’ll be making detailed passage plans, preparations and victualling the boat with all sorts of lovely food and meals. It’s fantastic training for everyone and we’ll be checking sails, storm sail, drogues and all the other equipment needed for this type of voyage. All the time we’ll also be checking the weather, looking for the ideal window for the passage.

Passage to Tangier, Morocco.

Our passage starts from a wonderful anchorage on the south western edge of Madeira, and as soon as the weather is right, we will cast off the lines and set sail south east to Tangier. Once underway, you will settle into a 24-hour watch system. On watch you will alternate between navigating, helming and trimming sails, galley duty and cooking up a hearty meal for the crew. Off watch is time to sleep, watch the open ocean glide by and relax into the wonderful life that is the open sea. It is a very special environment and you will soon be into the rhythm of the yacht and a fully involved member of the crew. You can expect to be at sea for around 5 days and nights, depending on conditions. There are whales and dolphins to be spotted, celestial navigation to be tried and there’s still plenty of time just to gaze out over the ocean and muse!

Arrival in Tangier, gateway to North Africa!

Guarding the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier is the gateway to Africa. Its blend of cultures and influences is unique in Morocco. It is a fascinating city that has always carried an exciting allure, in part because of its time as a semi-independent international zone that attracted eccentric foreigners, artists and spies. We’ll spend a full  day here to explore and enjoy the city.

Sail to and explore Ceuta

We’ll sail along the coast of Morocco today, to the tiny Spanish enclave of Ceuta, right on the northern shores of Morocco’s Mediterranean coast. This region forms the European Union’s only land borders with Africa. Located on a peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean, it offers a compact dose of fantastic architecture, interesting museums, excellent food, a relaxing maritime park and bracing nature walks. The city is particularly beautiful at night, a skyline of artfully lit buildings and bursting palms.

Across the Straits to Gibraltar

Having enjoyed Ceuta, it’s time for our last sail on this adventure. The giant rock of Gibraltar lies 30nm to the north of us, and we will have to wind our way through the incredibly busy shipping lanes as cargo ship after cargo ship sails east and west ahead of us. It’s a glorious, fun sail and before we know it we’re right under the huge iconic rock and docking at the end of our voyage.

Debrief and clean up

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.


  • You should join the boat at 0900hrs on the start day. It is important you are not late.
  • You will disembark at1200hrs on the end day.
  • For exact start and end locations, please see the ‘Dates & Prices’ tab


This is open to everyone and is an intensive day of theory. If you wish to attend this, (please ensure you add the module to your basket) you must join the boat at 1000hrs on the day before the main start date.



    • Quinta Da Lorde, Madeira is a short taxi ride from Funchal airport (IATA code: FNC)


    • Gibraltar airport (IATA code: GIB) is a very short taxi ride or walk from the boat.


    These adventure sailing holidays are open to anyone aged 18 – 70 years. Although this trip is open to beginners, we recommend that you have some sailing experience before, even if it is just an introductory weekend. This will enable you to be confident that a prolonged passage at sea is something that you will enjoy.


    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.


    • To be a watch leader on a Rubicon 3 ocean passage, we require you to have sufficient skills and experience to be able to approach the role meaningfully. This means you should have a minimum of RYA Coastal Skipper practical and theory or equivalent skills and experience. We accept international equivalents. After booking, you will be asked to provide evidence of your qualifications.
    • On arrival, we will ask you to complete a short theory test to ensure that you are at the required level. If you are able to complete RYA Yachtmaster Coastal theory questions, you will be fine. If you are not at the required standard, we will downgrade you to a standard crew member.
    • There are only 3 watch leader places available on each yacht.
    • You must attend the ‘Ocean Training Theory Day’ to be watch leader


    • 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.