Atlantic Sailing Holiday: Portugal to the Canaries
Jump on board for a fantastic ocean sailing route in the warm trade winds. With the lovely ports of the Algarve to explore at the start and top-quality training en route this is the perfect passage for anyone searching for an intro to bluewater cruising. (A Yachtmaster Ocean qualifying passage for watch leaders).
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: VTC26102021
- Start date / place: October 26 2021. Vilamoura, Portugal
- End date / place: November 06 2021. Gran Canaria
- Full price: £1,899
- Deposit: £760
TRIP CODE: VTC02112021
- Start date / place: November 02 2021. Vilamoura, Portugal
- End date / place: November 13 2021. Gran Canaria
- Full price: £1,899
- Deposit: £760
OPTIONAL OCEAN THEORY TRAINING DAY
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.
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 0900hrs 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 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 for the route from Portugal to the Canaries. 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.
Join the boat at 0900h in Vilamoura, a classy marina within easy reach of Faro airport. Today is all about getting you up to speed with the boat, safety briefing and skills and drills. After lunch we’ll head out to learn how to handle a powerful ocean-going yacht before learning how to retrieve a Man Overboard. Depending on the weather we might head around the headland to Faro, just to the east and anchor overnight.
Around Faro is the Ria Formosa national park. This is a beautiful coastline of windswept dunes where the only inhabitants are flamingos. There are lots of anchorages to choose from, off the deserted Ilha Barreta, or right up beneath the old town walls of Faro itself.
If we’re feeling brave then we’ll navigate the intricate channels up to this lovely old port. It’s known for its Moorish architecture and fantastic street markets where we can stock up on local produce.
Lagos has always been a place for sailors, as far back as the Phoenicians. It was the departure point for Vasco de Gama’s voyage to Brazil and it is still a busy port today. Oozing history and charm it’s a great place to prepare for the big passage.
Prior to departure we’ll spend a full day going over the yacht and systems, checking everything is in working order. With the guidance of two seasoned ocean instructors you’ll try out the storm sails and learning how to rig the drogue and emergency steering. There’s a lot to cover, but the secret to ocean sailing is that if you put in the work to prepare the boat, then the sailing bit is easy! When we’re ready we’ll head off on the 600nm passage to Gran Canaria which will take about four days.
Sailing under the stars
It may be a cliché but the experience of sailing at night under a carpet of stars really is magical. Far from the light pollution of mainland Europe you’ll find the Milky Way comes to life and shooting stars often zip across the sky.
As we settle into the rhythm of the watch system to keep the boat moving around the clock we’ll also learn how to navigate traditionally. Navigating without GPS means keeping our dead reckoning by estimating our course and distance travelled, and using the sextant to give us accurate position fixes. For those looking to complete the RYA Yachtmaster Ocean qualification this is an excellent passage for taking those all important astro-fixes.
Landfall in Gran Canaria
“Land Ahoy!” When the high peaks of the Canaries finally come into view there’s always a flurry of excitement – we made it! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of arriving somewhere under sail for the first time, and it’s all the more rewarding for being done without GPS. Once we’re in it’s time to celebrate the passage with beer and tapas in the backstreets of Las Palmas.
Soon it’s time to put the boat back to how we found her, say farewell to the boat and crew, swap photos and email addresses and head home. You’ll be free to disembark from 1200h on the final day.
JOINING & LEAVING DAY
- You need to join the boat promptly at 0900hrs on the start day.
- You will be free to leave the boat at 1200hrs on the last day
For exact start and end locations, please see the ‘Dates & Prices’ tab
OCEAN TRAINING THEORY DAY
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.
INFORMATION TO HELP GET TO AND FROM THE START AND END POINTS
- The closest airport is Faro (IATA code: FAO)
- Public transport from the airport to Vilamoura is very time consuming and we strongly recommend that you pre-book a one way taxi (c.€27). If you do not pre book, the taxi at the airport will be very expensive.
- A private hire company is here.
LAS PALMAS, GRAN CANARIA
- Fly out of Las Palmas (IATA code: LPA)
AGE & EXPERIENCE
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.
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.
- 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
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.