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Sail the Atlantic Ocean: Caribbean to England

Sail the Atlantic Ocean: Caribbean to England

TRIP TYPE:
Ocean

NO PRIOR SAILING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED

JOIN SOLO OR AS PART OF A GROUP

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Sail the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean to England!

Get ready for over 3000nm of sailing across the ocean as we head from St Lucia in the Caribbean to the south coast of England. En route we will stop at Antigua, Bermuda and the Azores. This truly is a magical challenge. You will be on a 60' ocean going yacht and learning to live on the open ocean, where time seems to disappear, replaced by awesome sunsets, whales and long, slow Atlantic rollers. The weather will vary from light and variable winds to stronger weather, where the sails will be reefed and the yacht will be surging through the waves. All the time you will be under the expert guidance of our instructors, ensuring you are superbly trained and always encouraged to be fully involved.
For those who want to, we're navigating using just the Sun, Moon, stars and planets - and we'll teach you how!
There are few things quite as spectacular as finding one's position using just the Sun and stars. Included in the trip price is a free two-day course in celestial navigation, where we will teach you this incredible art. We will then sail without the use of GPS and not only will you have sailed the Atlantic Ocean but you will have done so navigating only via the Sun, Moon, planets and stars!
Come and sail the Atlantic Ocean!
Sailing location 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.

TRIP CODE: CTU280321-L1

  • Leg 1: St Lucia to Azores
  • Start date / place: March 28 2021. Rodney bay, St Lucia
  • End date / place: April 29, 2021. Faial, Horta, Azores
  • Full price: £3,499
  • Deposit: £1,400

TRIP CODE: CTU280321-L2

  • Leg 2: Azores to England
  • Start date / place: May 01, 2021. Faial, Horta, Azores
  • End date / place:  May 16, 2021. Portsmouth, England
  • Full price: £1,999
  • Deposit: £800

TRIP CODE: CTU280321-FC

  • Full crossing: St Lucia to England
  • Start date / place: March 28 2021. Rodney bay, St Lucia
  • End date / place: May 16, 2021. Portsmouth, England
  • Full price: £4,399
  • Deposit: £1,760

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.

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

WATCH LEADERS

  • 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.
  • As this passage involves three qualifying routes (St Lucia to Bermuda, Bermuda to Azores, Azores to England) you may only be a watch leader for one section of the route.

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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

Deposit
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 UNIQUE CHALLENGE AND THE SCHEDULE BELOW IS FOR GUIDANCE ONLY.

Joining day

Join the boat at 1800hrs on April 01, 2021, in Rodney Bay, St Lucia. Get your belongings packed away and meet the rest of the crew. There’s plenty of things to do in the future but right now it’s about relaxing and getting used to life aboard. There’s menu planning to be done, victualling, pre-departure checks and crucial on-deck skills and drills to revise.

Pre departure celestial training course in St Lucia

The next two days will be spent getting intensive training in celestial navigation from our expert instructors. Accommodation and food are provided onboard.

Skills, drills and training around St Lucia

Before we set off from St Lucia, we will spend a day doing intensive sail training both at the dock and out on the water. This will enable all the crew, whatever their level, to get familiar with the boat and with the key manoeuvres required to sail the boat safely. Watch leaders will complete their passage plan and after a massive shop (!) for food, we will be all set for the start of this amazing voyage. We will likely anchor under the magnificent Pitons tonight.

Sail north to Antigua

The challenge starts with the 200nm passage north to the island of Antigua. This will take us about 36 hours and is the ideal sail to help everyone get their sea legs, get used to life on the ocean fine tune their celestial navigation. Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe provide useful reference points as we go. Antigua is a gorgeous island and a sailing mecca and we aim to have a good 36-48 hours here before we set sail again.

Out into the Atlantic Ocean to find Bermuda

Now we must use our sextants to locate Bermuda, just under 1000nm north. We can expect to take 5-6 days depending on the wind and weather. As the Caribbean islands disappear over the horizon, we will be all alone on the ocean. Navigating just by the sextant, we will soon be searching out the stars and planets to take a fix every morning and evening to check our course and progress. Big Atlantic waves will help power us along, and the big 60′ yacht will be in her absolute element. She was designed to charge across big oceans and with three full circumnavigations of the planet under her belt, she has an impeccable pedigree. This is the right boat to do an Atlantic crossing on. We’ll know our celestial navigation is working once we see the small archipelago of Bermuda appears over the horizon. The Sargasso Sea has warm, turquoise water, incredible beaches and reefs everywhere that make it one of the world’s top snorkelling and diving locations. We’ll hope to stop here for a couple of days for some amazing R&R, before the next awesome challenge.

Bermuda to the Azores

Any sailor should have a shiver of anticipation just thinking about the next sail coming up. This is big boat, big ocean sailing and the next two to three weeks will give you experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime. Trying to find the Azores 2000nm away in the middle of the Atlantic would have seemed like finding a needle in a haystack two weeks ago, but by now the crew need to be (and should be!) proficient with the sextant. You will settle into a watch system – most probably three hours on, six off, meaning that you get plenty of sailing but also plenty of rest. Sometimes you’ll be on watch during the day, other times at night. There is nothing quite like powering across an ocean at night, with millions of stars overhead and watching the sun rise the next morning as we sail onward, ever eastward. Finally, after around another 1900nm of open ocean and another 10-11 days without sight of land, the volcanic islands of the Azores will rise up over the horizon and the excitement and anticipation will be enormous as we close in on these famous islands.

Still out in the Atlantic or cruising in the Azores

We can never fully predict weather and sea state on an ocean crossing and we may have encountered light winds or heavy weather or any one of a number of situations that can slow us down. In this case we have plenty of contingency built in to get to the Azores within our schedule. If we have made good time, then we have a wonderful end to the crossing with time to rest and recuperate in the western-most islands and then the added bonus to day sail and cruise east, exploring islands as we go until we finally pull into Horta and a huge celebration.

R&R and preparation for the Azores to the UK

We’ll have a few days in these wonderful islands for washing clothes, having a cold beer or three and having some serious R&R and exploration time.  There are maintenance, checks and re-victualling to do, along with more passage planning.

The eastern Atlantic Ocean, the western approaches and south coast of England

Before we know it we’ll be back out into the majesty of the Atlantic. It’s amazing how quickly life on land can seem to become a little too crowded and there’s a wonderful peacefulness to being back out at sea. Our final challenge is to find the south western tip of England. Our exact route will be hugely weather-dependent and the spring weather can produce some real surprises which will test our sextant work to the maximum. We have more than 1000nm to sail. As we get toward the western approaches, our aim is to pass to the south of Ireland and then make landfall somewhere such as Falmouth in Cornwall.

Cruising the south coast of the UK

As ever with ocean sailing, we can never be quite sure of how long the passage will have taken us, but all going well we will now have three days to sail our gentle way along the south coast of the UK. We could stop in the beautiful river Dart for a night, maybe spend a night in the iconic sailing town of Cowes and finally pull into Portsmouth.

Debriefs, clean up and goodbyes

It’s always amazing how 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.

JOINING & LEAVING THE BOAT

  • 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

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

    RODNEY BAY, ST LUCIA

    • St Lucia has two airports. Hewanorra (IATA code UVF) or Castries (IATA code: SLU). The closest one to Rodney Bay is Castries, but most international flights come into Hewanorra. From Hewanorra you can take a taxi to Rodney Bay (about $60 USD) or one of the local busses (about $5 USD)

    HORTA, FAIAL

    • Horta airport on the island of Faial, in the Azores (IATA code: HOR). You will usually have to change in Lisbon. It is a short taxi ride from the airport to the yacht harbour.

    PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND

    • The boat will dock in Haslar marina, Portsmouth. The nearest rail station is Portsmouth Harbour railway station, which is a 30-minute train ride from Southampton airport (IATA code: SOU) or a 90-minute train ride from London airports.

     

    AGE & EXPERIENCE

    These adventure sailing holidays are open to anyone aged 18 – 70 years. You must have at least RYA Day Skipper, or ASA 103 or equivalent skills and experience to join this offshore passage. It is ideal for those up to and including RYA Yachtmaster.

    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 you 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

    • 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.

    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 Trip Notes before booking.

    SUITABILITY

    • 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