Ocean Sailing from the Azores to Northwest Europe
Open ocean sailing from the Azores to the northwest coast of EuropeA magical sailing experience as you head out into the vast expanse of the eastern Atlantic Ocean for the 1000nm journey to the western edge of the European continent. Starting from the volcanic archipelago of the Azores, you will soon be hundreds of miles out to sea, helming, trimming sails and navigating as you work within the ocean environment. The famous Atlantic rollers, dead calms, stronger winds - you can expect just about everything. You will be sailing on one of our incredible 60' ocean going yachts and, with two top class instructors to guide you, you will experience life on the high seas in all its majesty. This is two weeks of sailing, training and exploring. Two weeks full of challenges, exhilaration, excitement and wonder. Get ready for open ocean sailing from the Azores to northwest Europe.
NO PREVIOUS SAILING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. FULL TUITION GIVEN
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: HORMUR250722
- Start date / place: July 25 2022. Horta, Azores
- End date / place: August 05 2022. Muros, Spain
- Full price: £1,899
- Deposit: £475
Please note. Exact dates are only confirmed 12 months in advance and may vary by up to 7 days from those shown above.
- 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.
- 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 available
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. However, what makes an adventure holiday so special 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. The Azores are such a famous location for sailors and you will likely meet many others bound for all different parts of the world.
Days 2-3: Briefings, training and exploring Horta, Pico and Terceira
Today is all about 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 guide you through every aspect that you need to know to have a great ocean 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 may make it to the lovely island of Pico if the weather conditions are right and even on to Terceira. These are wonderful islands to sail to and explore.
Day 4: Preparation and planning for the ocean passage
With over 700nm 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.
Days 5-9: Passage to northwest Spain
As soon as the weather is right, we will cast off the lines and set out into the Atlantic Ocean bound for the European mainland and the Galician region of Spain. We have around 700nm to go, so we can expect to be at sea for the next five days and nights, although of course the actual time needed will depend entirely on the weather. You will quickly settle into a 24-hour watch system and the general rhythm of life at sea. Days will be filled with navigating, helming and trimming sails, galley duty and cooking up a hearty meal for the crew. There’s whales and dolphins to be spotted, celestial navigation to be tried and still plenty of time just to gaze out over the ocean and muse!
Days 10-11: Arrival and rest in Baiona, Spain
Our exact landfall will very much depend on the weather conditions at the time. However around the end of our fifth day at sea we should be pulling into the wonderful fortified town of Baiona. It has a superb fort, quaint fishing harbour and narrow, corridor like streets with typical Galician terraced houses lining them. We’ll spend a good 24 hours here to eat ashore, have some beers, sample the amazing sea food and catch up on any sleep after the ocean passage.
Days 12-15: Cruising the coast of Galicia to Coruña
If the weather has been kind to us, we hope to have the last three to four days cruising this wonderful coast. We may have had to wait in the Azores for weather or the weather in Spain may not be favourable, so no promises here! All going well, there are the wonderful Rias, the beautiful Isles de Cies to anchor off and explore, a sail to Cabo Finisterre, Europe’s most westerly point and finally a rounding of the headland to Coruña itself.
Day 16: Debriefs, clean up and goodbyes
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).
- Join the boat promptly at 0900hrs on the start day.
It is important you are not late as the pre-trip briefing will start promptly at that time. You will probably need to arrive at your start point the day before your trip begins and get a hotel or B&B.
- Disembark by 1200hrs on the end day.
We ask you to stay on board until then if possible to help with packing away the boat but recognise sometimes due to flights you may need to leave earlier that day. Please just let the skipper know in advance.
- Horta airport (IATA code: HOR) is well served by Easyjet, TAP, Ryanair and others. You will usually have to fly via Lisbon or Ponta Delgada. If you need advice, please do contact us.
- Vigo airport (IATA code: VGO) is served by Vueling, TAP, Iberia and others.
- You can also flye from Santiago de Compostela
AGE & EXPERIENCE
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.
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 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.
TRIP CATEGORY: OFFSHORE SAILING
For a full explanation of what to expect with the various trip ratings please click here.
INCLUDED IN YOUR SAILING HOLIDAY
- 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.
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 read the Trip Notes before booking.
- 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. 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.
WATCH LEADER TRAINING DAY
- On booking, you will receive a copy of the Rubicon 3 Watch Leader’s training manual. This is an invaluable resource and you should try to read as much of it as you can before joining.
- You should arrive at the boat the day before the advertised start time, being ready to start studying at 1000 hrs. You will spend a full day learning about passage planning, the yacht and helping prepare the yacht. You will be able to stay on the boat that night
- There is an additional fee of £150 to cover these extra training costs.
DO I NEED PRIOR SAILING EXPERIENCE?
No. All of our trips are designed to be accessible by anyone, whatever their previous sailing background. We will train you in all the key skills you need, allowing you to be an active member of the crew from Day 1.
DO PEOPLE COME ALONE?
Almost everyone comes alone. Couples and groups are very welcome and we do get them. On the whole, however, most crew join solo and so if you are coming alone, you will be one of the crowd!
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON BOARD
Except in exceptional circumstances, we limit the crew size to nine (except for Atlantic crossings) plus two instructors. This means that there are enough people to sail the boat safely, but you will still have lots of time helming, navigating, trimming sails and such like.
IS THIS A SAILING HOLIDAY?
Absolutely. First and foremost, we are here to ensure everyone has an amazing time. Sailing is about having fun, experiencing nature at its most majestic and gently pushing yourself to try and learn new things. Rubicon 3 voyages are a unique mix of sailing and training, and you will get far more involvement and training than on any other sailing holiday you may try!
WHO ELSE JOINS?
We have a remarkably similar group of people who join all our trips. They come from all over the world, are an even mix of men and women and with an average age of 35-65. As we said above, most come alone and experience varies from none at all to Yachtmaster. Most of the crew would describe themselves as having a rusty Day Skipper.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO BOOK A PLACE?
Go the ‘BOOK NOW’ button near the top of the page. This will take you through to our booking system, and it will ask you for a deposit. As soon as this is paid, your place is reserved. The balance of the trip must be paid by 60 days before departure.
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? DON’T HESITATE TO CALL OR EMAIL US. WE ARE REALLY VERY HAPPY TO CHAT AWAY ABOUT THE TRIPS AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE AFTER.