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Atlantic Sailing Holiday: Spain to Madeira and the Canaries

Atlantic Sailing Holiday: Spain to Madeira and the Canaries

Offshore & ocean sailing




Two wonderful weeks of offshore sailing and close to 1000nm in the logbook. Warm winter sun makes this a lovely break from the cold winter and the open ocean is a truly special place. We begin with some training in the charming Spanish rias, before setting off for the 700nm sail to the Portuguese island of Madeira. A couple of days to explore there before the final 300nm charge to Gran Canaria. (A Yachtmaster Ocean qualifying passage for watch leaders).

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Route Map 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.


  • Start date / place: October 24 2020. Muros, Spain
  • End date / place: November 07 2020. Gran Canaria
  • Full price: £1,999
  • Deposit: £800


  • Start date / place: October 17 2021. Muros, Spain
  • End date / place: November 01 2021. Gran Canaria
  • Full price: £1,999
  • Deposit: £800


  • Start date / place: October 31 2021. Muros, Spain
  • End date / place: November 15 2021. Gran Canaria
  • Full price: £1,999
  • Deposit: £800


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 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 Spain 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.

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.

Briefings and coastal training. Anchoring in a nature reserve

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 to guide you through every aspect that you need to know to have a great sailing holiday. By lunchtime we will 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. It’s likely we’ll anchor in the stunning Cies islands tonight and have an explore ashore.

Training sail to Baiona and preparation

After breakfast, we’ll weigh anchor and head toward the beautiful fortified town of Baiona. En route we will fine tune our manoeuvres and sailing skills, with the aim of being in port by lunch time. The afternoon will be spent making final preparations, watch leaders doing their passage plan, and in the evening having time to wander around and explore this gorgeous town.

Passage to Madeira

Soon we will be setting out into the Atlantic Ocean, and the crew will settle into a 24-hour watch system. When you are on watch you will alternate between navigating, helming and trimming sails. Off watch, there is plenty of time to rest, gaze out at the ocean and take in the amazing environment. Life at sea is very special and you will soon be into the rhythm of the ocean and a fully involved member of the crew. You can expect to be at sea for around 4-5 days and nights, depending on conditions. Expect magical sunsets and sunrises, millions of stars, long slow Atlantic rollers and thousands of miles of empty ocean! Around day four we will suddenly see the cliffs of Madeira appear over the horizon. Land ho! We will stop either in Quinta da Lorde on the south east corner or in Funchal, the capital.

Exploring Madeira

If we have made good time, it’s lovely to spend a day relaxing, getting some rest and exploring all that this island has to offer. The weather is usually really warm and after all those days at sea, there is nothing better than some serious rest, recuperation and fun with the crew. Every ocean sailing holiday needs some down time, too! It’s a great time to catch up, send a postcard and we’ll also be preparing for the final sprint south to the Canaries, so we’ll be kept busy. If we’ve made good time we may be able to sail to another port for some more exploring or pack in some more exploring or teaching ashore.

Passage south to Gran Canaria

It’s now time to head to sea once more for our final sail to Gran Canaria. This should be a really fast downwind charge and it’ll be huge fun with the crew really confident and a relatively short passage. It should take us a couple of days and, again, if we make good time we can always find a lovely anchorage and have a fun day ashore.

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 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


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.



    • The closest joining airport is Santiago de Compostela (IATA code: SCQ). From there, there is a bus that runs every hour. You can see the timetable by clicking on the link here
    • You can also fly into Vigo (IATA code: VGO) and travel to Muros. You need to take the bus to Santiago de Compostela (link here) and from there take the bus to Muros


      • Fly out of Las Palmas (IATA code: LPA)


        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.

        IN SUMMARY

        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.