Advanced sailing course in Norway – Passage Making Masterclass
A superb sailing course along the coast of Norway that will transform your existing sailing qualifications into real world skills.
Once you have your RYA or ASA qualifications, it is hard to take the next step into skippering your own passages with no instructor on board to guide you. Added to that, skills fade without constant use. For a great many sailors with their RYA Day Skipper or Yachtmaster, that jump has not been made and there is no obvious way to progress. The Rubicon 3 Passage Making Masterclass was designed to address this exact problem. You will spend two weeks with our leading expedition skippers refreshing your previous skills, learning new techniques and getting huge amounts of real world skills and experience in real life challenges.
Make sure you check out the 'MORE ABOUT THE MASTERCLASS' tab below for more details
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: BTA300821
- Start date / place: August 30 2021. Bodo, Norway
- End date / place: September 12 2021. Alesund, Norway
- Full price: £2,099
- Deposit: £840
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. What makes a Passage Making Masterclass so special, however, is that there can be no fixed itinerary with long distance sailing and so this is indicative only. The wind and the weather ultimately shape what’s possible each day but everything is very flexible within that.
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.
From chart work to COLREGs, this is going to be a really intensive session where we evaluate your current skills set and push you to higher standards. It is always a very supportive environment, though, and at no time will you be left to flounder. This is about pushing you hard to improve, not showing anyone up. Most of all, we know the areas people usually struggle or aren’t that confident in… and that’s where we’ll go straight to! We’ll be sailing along while we do this, but come the evening you will be ready for a cold beer!
Leaving Bodo, we have a 50nm passage to the beautiful anchorage at Selsoya. It is a superb training passage, and you will develop your planning skills and hone your navigation as we pass through the islands of Bliksvaer, Sorgugloy and Sor Arnoy. Real thought will have to be given to rounding the Stott headland which has some challenging winds and tides. From there it’s a wonderful sail to the stunning islands of Teksmona, Meloy and Messoya before we anchor at Selsoya
We weigh anchor at Selsoya and now we have our second passage to the lovely town of Sandnessjoen. It’s a long day as it will be nearly 80nm, but it both a technically challenging passage (great for learning and skills development!) and a really beautiful one, passing through spectacular islands and fjords. The Seven Sisters mountain range form an amazing backdrop to Sandessjøen and the UNESCO Vega Islands are also close by. It is literally a perfect location with the Dønnamannen Mountains towering above the islands to the west.
UNESCO World Heritage Vega Archipelago
It’s now about 40nm to the Vega archipelago in Nordland County. This area was first listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004 and if we make good time you’ll be able to take the RIB or kayak and explore the countless islets, surrounded by towering mountains that drop sharply to the sea below. The sheer grandeur of the place is breathtaking.
This is also the realm of the eider duck, which breed naturally in large numbers here. It is, of course, the home of the eiderdown: feathers collected from the nests of the Eider ducks, which are practically farm livestock for the locals. According to the legend of Saint Olav, an argument about an outlying fishing village that was home to a colony of eider ducks led to one revenge killing after another. Naturally harvested and hand-processed, the supply of eiderdown is very limited and the prized feathers can cost as much as NOK 30,000 (about 3,500 Euro) per kilo.
Rorvik in the Vikna archipelago.
The passage today is a glorious sail to Rorvik, about 65nm south of Vega. This lovely little town is in the Vikna archipelago, consisting of approximately 6000 islands, islets and reefs. It’s a superb area to hone your naviagtional and skippering skills, and you will need to be on top form to safely sail through the narrow passages, skerries and islands. Superb fun, top quality training and a lovely town to enjoy at the end of the day.
Overnight passage to Kristiansund
Night sailing is a key skill for all sailors and this longer passage to Kristiansund will take around 24 hours. The town lies right at the ocean’s edge out on the coast of Nordmøre, and the city has Norway’s best and finest natural harbour right in the city centre. It is Norway’s klipfish capital (dry and salted cod!) and you will find bacalao and klipfish dishes in all the restaurants. Kristiansund was actually nearly wiped out in 1940; nearly 900 houses were demolished by fire after the town was bombed. The city the visitor encounters in 2007 has been built up over the past 50 years with lovely painted houses.
Our final stop before Alesund is Molde, “the city of Roses”. This is a passage of 61 nautical miles. The town gets its name from the many lush and flowering rose gardens in the town. Molde is protected from the harsh surrounding elements and is beautifully situated in a spectacular fjord landscape. The town has an amazing viewpoint called Varden where you can enjoy views of the city, fjords, archipelagos and 222 snow peaks.
Our final destination is Alesund, situated at the entrance to the Geirangerfjord. It’s no coincidence that Ålesund and the surrounding areas are among the most visited sites for tourists in Norway. We have the renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Geirangerfjord, the bird sanctuary island of Runde, and all around us the spectacular snow-capped summits of the Hjørundfjord and the Sunnmørsalpene.
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 (if you need to catch a ferry or flight, you can leave as early as you need to on the leaving day, though we rather you don’t).
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
INFORMATION TO HELP GET TO AND FROM THE START AND END POINTS
- Bodo airport (IATA code: BOO) is well served by Norwegian, Wideroe and SAS. You will nearly always have to connect in Oslo or Stockholm. The airport is about 1 mile from where the boat is docked. There are lots of taxis outside and ask them to take you to the Molostua. From there it is about a 10 minute walk along the pontoons to the boat.
- If you are staying overnight before or after your trip, the Radisson Blu, Scandic and Clarion Collection are all very well placed
- Alesund airport (IATA code: AES) is well served by SAS and Norwegian airlines. It is a short taxi ride from the boat.
AGE & EXPERIENCE
Thes Passage Making Masterclass is open to anyone who has prior sailing experience to RYA Day Skipper / ASA 103 or above. It is of great benefit right up to and including those with 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.
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: PASSAGE MAKING MASTERCLASS
For a full explanation of what to expect with the various trip ratings please click here.
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.
What do you do with a rusty Day Skipper? After a year or so has passed, the skills you had begin to fade and suddenly you find you haven’t sailed for a few years and the confidence has gone. Alternatively, you may have got to Coastal or Offshore Yachtmaster. These are great qualifications to have but 90% of those who achieve them still have very limited real time experience. The Passage Making Masterclass is all about getting you a rapid increase in skills and experience, so that you can pass those higher level sailing qualifications or go off and charter yachts and take on more challenging passages with extra confidence. The syllabus includes:
Most yachts these days have radar but few amateur sailors have the skills to use this invaluable tool properly. As part of your Passage Making Masterclass, you will look at how to set up the radar and how to use it both to aid collision avoidance and for pilotage in poor visibility.
Pilotage is both technique and art form. Entering a foreign port late at night in bad weather when the crew is tired can be a very taxing exercise. Similarly, weaving one’s way through rocks to a small anchorage. We will show you the techniques we use to produce simple, easy to follow pilotage guides that work.
Helming is so much more than holding a steady course. With every slight change in wind speed, apparent wind direction changes and you need to be wise to these shifts and have some techniques for how to gauge and react to them. More than anything, you need to learn to minimise your inputs.
Anchoring is a skill that many people are nervous to try which is a great shame as it completely transforms one’s cruising range and a night at anchor can be a truly special experience. We’ll explain what size anchor you should be carrying, what type of anchor, how much chain and rope and what sea beds to anchor in. You’ll also learn how to anchor and how to ensure you stay safe through the night.
Should you file paperwork before leaving your home country and if so, what? What is one expected to do on arrival in a foreign port and when? What paperwork needs to be carried or shown? We give you the detailed low down on what is required and when.
There is a world of difference between a classroom exercise on a Day Skipper course and proper, good quality passage planning. We will bring you a level of practical techniques that will help you sail safely from A to B.
Dealing safely with commercial shipping is an essential skill. Cargo vessels are big, fast and dangerous. Yet, they are only 1-200metres long and 40 metres wide. There is no need to end up in front of them! We will help you translate collision regulations learnt by heart into practical skills.
We’ll help you get to grips with this so that you can maximise the performance of your sails. Which sail do you trim first? Is twist important, What do those cars do? Lots of questions and we’ll explain everything in clear simple lessons .
Previously you may have been taught about how low pressure systems form and that’s great. What we’ll teach you is really up to date, practical weather skills. You’ll compare weather apps, learn about their strengths and weaknesses and get familiar with the various official weather sources, too.