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Great British Sailing Challenge

Great British Sailing Challenge

TRIP TYPE:
Coastal Sailing

No previous experience required

Clear

3 teams - 1,600nm - one circumnavigation - one winner

Join one of the teams in the Great British Sailing Challenge as Hummingbird, Starling and Bluejay circumnavigate Britain and go head to head in the most fun sailing challenge of 2021. Each of the 7 legs is a chance for the crew to sail and explore a section of Britain's fascinating and beautiful coastline -  with some (far from serious races) and shore-based challenges to take on. With the leaderboard constantly ticking up every event, the race is on to win the inaugural Great British Sailing Challenge Gold Cup!

Come and be part of the most fun sailing event in Britain in 2021

 
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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.

GREAT BRITISH SAILING CHALLENGE LAUNCH PARTY

  • Saturday, April 24 2021
  • Glasgow

LEG 1: THE WHISKY CHALLENGE

TRIP CODE: GBSCL1

  • Start date / place: April  26 2021. Glasgow
  • End date / place: May 07 2021. Stornoway
  • Full price: £1,799
  • Deposit: £400

LEG 2: THE WILD ISLANDS

TRIP CODE: GBSCL2

  • Start date / place: May 10 2021. Stornoway
  • End date / place: May 21 2021. Inverness
  • Full price: £1,799
  • Deposit: £400

LEG 3: THE OIL RIGS

TRIP CODE: GBSCL3

  • Start date / place: May 24 2021. Inverness
  • End date / place: May 28 2021. Edinburgh
  • Full price: £899
  • Deposit: £250

LEG 4: LONDON CALLING

TRIP CODE: GBSCL4

  • Start date / place: June 07 2021. Edinburgh
  • End date / place: June 18 2021. London
  • Full price: £1,799
  • Deposit: £400

LEG 5: SOUTH COAST SPRINT AND ROUND THE ISLAND RACE

TRIP CODE: GBSCL5

  • Start date / place: June 28 2021. London
  • End date / place: July 04 2021. Portsmouth
  • Full price: £1,599
  • Deposit: £400

LEG 6: PIRATES OF THE WEST COAST

TRIP CODE: GBSCL6

  • Start date / place: July 07 2021. Portsmouth
  • End date / place: July 18 2021. Bristol
  • Full price: £1,799
  • Deposit: £400

LEG 7: GREAT CITIES OF THE WEST COAST

TRIP CODE: GBSCL7

  • Start date / place: July 26 2021. Bristol
  • End date / place: August 06 2021. Glasgow
  • Full price: £1,799
  • Deposit: £400

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

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PLEASE NOTE

Covid-19
All crew must produce a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours before the start date.

Deposit
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.

The Great British Sailing Challenge is your opportunity to take part in the most fun sailing event of 2021 – and help Britain’s coastal communities rebuild.

Come and have some seriously good times

First and absolutely foremost, it’s designed to be huge fun. Three teams on the identical Clipper 60s – Hummingbird, Starling and Bluejay – working their way right around Britain over 7 legs. Each leg is a mixture of sailing and exploring and there will be competitions and challenges thrown in along the way: race around Cape Wrath, find the buried treasure in the Orkneys and solve the riddle of  Marisco castle on Lundy Island.

Compete on land and sea for the Gold Cup

There are all sorts of points and prizes to be won as we circumnavigate and a main leader-board  adding up the points to see which team wins the Gold Cup (surely soon to become one of sailing’s most iconic trophies?!)

Be a part of helping Britain’s coastal communities get back on their feet

This is not just about wonderful sailing and great times though. We are working with thousands of small hospitality businesses and all the coastal tourist board to promote and involve each region as we go. Restaurants are putting on meals for winning teams, attractions are getting involved in the shore based challenges and small businesses the length and breadth of the country are able to use the event as a means to shout out to the world about who they are, what they have to offer and to encourage the world to come and visit.

There’s loads more news to come and the Great British Sailing Challenge microsite will be launching shortly.

LAUNCH PARTY IN GLASGOW

April 23-25 2021

Come and see the boats and have some fun with the events and a big party set up to launch the Great British Sailing Challenge.

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LEG 1: THE WHISKY CHALLENGE & ST KILDA

  • Glasgow to Stornoway
  • The first leg is two weeks of sailing and exploring the wonderful islands off the west coast of Scotland. Up there with some of the most scenic sailing grounds in the world, we can weave through islands such as Islay, Mull, Rhum and Skye, taking in world-famous whisky distilleries as we go. This leg is all about short day sailing, beautiful anchorages, wonderful scenery and so much to do and see ashore.
  • There will be days where our theory will be put to the test in order to catch the perfect state of tide through the narrow channels, and others where we’ll cross the open waters of The Minch to explore the Caribbean-like beaches of the Outer Hebrides.

  • These waters are also known to be teeming with wildlife, so be sure to keep a keen lookout for basking shark, sunfish, or even minke whales. If the forecast allows, we’ll arrange the great St Kilda Challenge – an epic yet friendly race around the island and back, with a view to anchoring and exploring this remote and rarely visited outpost broaching out into the Atlantic home to some of the highest cliffs in Europe and a puffin or two.

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LEG 2: WILD ISLANDS

  • Stornoway to Inverness
  • This leg departs the already wild and windswept Outer Hebrides, and gets wilder and more rugged from there on in! With a keen eye on the forecast, we’re hoping to sail to Sula Sgeir (gannet skerry) to hike ashore and find the deserted bothy, where rumour has it a bottle of whisky is left for those intrepid enough to make the voyage. Rona, its counterpart some 45 miles NW of the mainland, is the most remote British Island to have ever been inhabited. Now the ruins of a Celtic chapel and scattered Medieval gravestones are home to grey seal and seabird colonies.

  • We will clear the spectacular Cape Wrath (whose name does not in fact refer to the fury of the seas, instead ‘wrath’ comes from the Old Norse for ‘turning point’) and head towards the Orkneys, whose sparsely populated islands will almost feel overcrowded after where we’ve been. There will undoubtedly be an element of competition over who can make it over the Merry Men of Mey of the Pentland Firth first, a route where careful tidal planning is essential as the race there can sometimes reach up to an outrageous 16 knots! In Scapa Flow we tie up alongside in the quaint Orcadian village of Stromness, with its cobbled streets and village shops, and enjoy a few more days exploring the many islands and anchorages here.

  • The finale of this exciting leg sees us scream down into the Moray Firth, bound for Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. As the land closes in and dolphins follow in our wake, this historic city will welcome us back to main stream civilisation!

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LEG 3: RACE TO THE OIL RIGS

  • Inverness to Edinburgh
  • A shorter leg of one week, this is all about high speed sailing and getting out to see the spectacular oil and gas rigs of the North Sea.
  • 70 miles offshore lie the first of the mighty oil and gas rigs. Seeing these extraordinary structures is always a special experience and this leg is a big celebration of the role that North Sea oil and gas continues to play in British life.  These mighty structures have been in place since the mid 1970s when the oil and gas boom first began and such has been their success that Aberdeen has become known as the oil capital of Europe.

  • In this short but exciting leg, we begin in Inverness, at the western end of the Moray Firth. The Firth itself is around 75nm long, so it will be a full day of sailing until the fleet reaches Banff, where we’ll likely stop for the night. From there it passes Fraserburgh and heads out east into the North Sea, bound for the oil and gas fields. The exact route will be weather dependant, but we are sure to see these magnificent rigs, and all the better if it can be at night with their flares burning brightly. Having rounded the rigs, it is a straight sprint back to the coast, with around 150nm to Edinburgh. If time allows along the way, there is the chance to stop in at Arbroath.

  • This is a fast, exciting leg with some wonderful offshore sailing, night sailing and the chance to see nature in its awesome natural habitat.

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GREAT BRITISH SAILING CHALLENGE – EDINBURGH PARTY

  • We’re stopping in Edinburgh for a week to have a proper Scottish knees up (or two or three) in town.
  • Friends and Family can come and see the boats, get involved in some events and have some fun

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LEG 4: LONDON CALLING

  • Edinburgh to London
  • It’s time to discover some of the lesser known gems of Great Britain: beginning in the Scottish Highlands, we’ll be training our new crew out in the Moray Firth, home to pods of dolphins and lush green coastline. There are plenty of traditional fishing towns to choose to stop off in for a smoked kipper and wee dram or two – perhaps Macduff, or Fraserburgh – before we round Rattray Head and enter the North Sea proper.

  • There’s likely to be an overnight passage towards this country’s best kept sailing secret, the empty but beautiful beaches of Northumberland, known for its many castles. Here you won’t see too many other sailing boats leaving the little anchorages free for us to explore, enjoy a chilly swim, and cook some freshly-caught mackerel on the BBQ.

  • There’s tidal Holy Island, with its Viking history and where the seals’ eerie calls will lull you to sleep, or the Farnes, an island group a couple of miles off the mainland home to hundreds of puffins, eider ducks, and arctic terns. Finally, we’ll charge down the North Sea in convoy, each boat inching ahead of the others as the crews work their magic, until we arrive at the mouth of the River Thames.

  • There’s not much that beats sailing up this most famous waterway. As we leave the mudflats and sandbanks behind, pass through the Thames Barrier we’ll see the familiar landmarks of the London skyline rise up ahead of us. What a feeling to have raced down much of the Eastern coastline and arrive in such an iconic city, berthing right next to Tower Bridge.

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GREAT BRITISH SAILING CHALLENGE – LONDON PARTY

  • St Katharine Docks, London
  • We’re halfway round and  it’s time to take a week off and have some fun social events and parties in London
  • Another great chance to come and see the boats, get involved in some events and have some fun

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LEG 5: SOUTH COAST SPRINT AND ROUND THE ISLAND RACE

  • London to Portsmouth
  • Setting sail from beneath Tower Bridge, this leg gets off to a huge start, and with our three colourful Clipper 60s in a row there is sure to be a fantastic photo opportunity from the shore with the iconic landmarks behind. As we make our way down the Thames we’ll watch the familiar sights of London disappear astern, and it won’t be long before the bustle of the city has given way to the open ocean as we arrive at the boundary between the river and the North Sea.

  • Here, our competitive nature comes to the forefront as the boats and their crews cross the official starting line of our rally bound for the English Channel. This is no easy start: we’ve got wind farms, strong tides, shifting sandbanks, and the busiest shipping lane in the world to contend with, so you’ll be getting to grips with the radar and AIS as well as perfecting your helming.

  • We end this sprint in the Solent, where we can spend any spare days cruising the sheltered waters of this yachtsman’s mecca. Bealieu and it’s Georgian hamlet known for historic shipbuilding, or the Isle of Wight with bustling Cowes and the popular sailors’ hideouts in pretty little Yarmouth. On the Saturday,  the fleet takes part in the world famous Round the Island Race, starting and ending in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

  • This is another fast and furious leg, where we can really open up the Clipper 60s and let them do their thing out in the Channel. It’s a very tactical leg with the winds and tides and always tremendous fun.

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LEG 6: PIRATES OF THE SOUTH WEST

  • Portsmouth to Bristol
  • Departing from Portsmouth, a town steeped in maritime heritage, this leg will see us both exploring sub-tropical islands and famous maritime towns. Starting in the Solent, we sail past the iconic Needles lighthouse and head west.

  • Ahead of us we have the beautiful Salcombe, Dartmouth, Helford River and Falmouth to explore. From there, just a few miles further west off the coast of Cornwall are the Scillies -re a paradise archipelago of white sand beaches, 140 uninhabited islands, and peaceful coastal walks. The teams will also have to compete in a pirate’s treasure hunt!

  • At times we’ll truly feel we’re on the most relaxing holiday, swimming a few laps around the boat in crystal-clear waters and hopping ashore to light the BBQ. This sailing ground is also the perfect place for our instructors to get you navigating between the many shallows and skerries and through narrow rocky channels, and calculating the strong tides we’ll find there.

  • From here we’ll round the western tip of England and speed north east along the north Cornish coast bound for Bristol. Here we are in the powerful tides of the Bristol Channel and we have to time our passage carefully or we’ll likely go backward. If the weather’s good we’ll land on the mysterious Lundy Island, competing in another shore-based challenge before heading up the beautiful River Avon and into the heart of Bristol. Enjoy the atmosphere of this famous maritime city – we’ll arrive just in time for the Bristol Harbour Festival.

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GREAT BRITISH SAILING CHALLENGE – BRISTOL PARTY

  • Our last of the big city parties, and this one coincides with the wonderful Bristol Harbour festival
  • We’re here for a week and it’s a last chance for friends, families and other visitors to tour the boats, get involved in some of the challenge’s activities and have some fun before the fleet sets off on the final sprint north.

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LEG 7: GREAT CITIES OF THE WEST COAST

  • Bristol to Glasgow
  • The final leg of the Great Britain Sailing Challenge takes us from Bristol in the south west of England to Cardiff on the Welsh coast, then north to the fabulous Albert Docks in Liverpool, on up to Belfast in Northern Ireland and finally up the Clyde to the great city of Glasgow.

  • This is all about sailing into these wonderful, historic cities, but there’s some superb sailing along the way. It can get very tactical as we work with the winds and tides heading up through the Irish Sea. Each city we stop at has so much to offer – Cardiff has its wonderful castle and performing arts centre, Liverpool has become a hot bed of culture and superb culinary scene, and in Belfast we’ll berth right next to the iconic Titanic museum. There will be a guarnateed buzz on the dock in Belfast as we stop for a Guinness and relive the thrill of sailing day and night, before proceeding up to the beautiful western isles of Scotland to Glasgow.

  • These intercity legs are so exciting with the three equally matched Clipper 60s flying over the finish line side by side… or perhaps the crews’ expert sail trimming and tactical decisions will allow a clear winner instead.

JOINING & LEAVING THE BOAT

  • You should join the boat at 0900 on the start day and leave the boat at 1200 on the last day

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.

See more information and the full kit list here

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.

Fitness to sail

MEDICAL DECLARATION

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

TRAVEL INSURANCE

  • 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: COASTAL 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

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 read the Trip Notes before booking.

    Terms & Conditions