Passage Making Masterclass
April 22 - May 04, 2017
Starts in Portsmouth UK. Ends in Dublin, Ireland
13 days on board
Intensive tuition. Make rapid gains in your seamanship.
The very best way to develop your skills as a skipper.
Opportunities to head further offshore and step up the learning.
There's no reason you shouldn't be skippering your own exciting passages. This will give you the skills.
The perfect training ground
Joining the boat in Portsmouth we’ll be covering core deck skills before heading out across the English Channel. From MOB recovery techniques to manoeuvring a larger yacht, you’ll be learning tried and tested methods of boat handling from highly experienced big boat skippers. From the start you’ll be involved in the navigation and planning for the day and calculating tidal gates and wind angles to decide upon the next port of call. With a 13m tidal range the Channel Isles and Brittany coast line demand respect, but with the support of our two instructors you’ll soon be confident calculating the best tidal strategy for these complex areas.
Picturesque fishing ports, sandy beaches and moules frites
It’s not all hard graft: the whole point of cruising is to soak up the atmosphere of a foreign port and head ashore to explore. Whether it’s taking the tender to one if the perfect white beaches of Herm for a BBQ, relaxing in a waterside bar in Guernsey’s delightful St Peter Port, or enjoying a glass of vin rouge in Treguier, there’ll be time to enjoy the places we visit.
Wolf Rock, Bishop Rock and Longships
Once we’ve stocked up on good French cheese it’ll be time to head north and west on an overnight passage to the Scilly Isles. If the weather allows we’ll spend a couple of days there, navigating through the intricate channels and learning the art of eyeball navigation. Surrounded by some of England’s most iimpressive light houses, the Scilly Isles are as steeped in mystery and legend as they are littered with shipwrecks. They make an awesome (if slightly daunting) location for pilotage practise and we’re likely to have the place to ourselves.
Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea
The sea areas between Lands End and Ireland are iconic to many British offshore sailors. Exposed to the might of the North Atlantic, the 24-36 hour crossing up to Ireland is a great way to experience real offshore sailing, and push the limits of your experience. We could be riding a south westerly on a fast surfing course, or clawing our way to windward into a north easterly and gaining valuable upwind helming time. We may make a stop in Waterford or Arklow, or push on up to Dublin in one hit. Either way you can be sure you’ll have earnt a fun night out and pint of the black stuff on the banks of the River Liffey.
Prior experience required
This is our one expedition of the year where we do not accept novices on board. You must have RYA Day Skipper, an international equivalent or equivalent skills and experience. We often also have Coastal Skipper and Yachtmasters as candidates. Don't worry if you're rusty. So are most other candidates who join.
The challenges facing developing skippers
Whichever qualifications you have, skippering a yacht offshore or internationally is quite a step up and not something to be undertaken lightly. There are much greater weather routing issues and international regulations to deal with. You are going to be in amongst heavy commercial shipping, interacting with foreign port controls and coming across unfamiliar situations on an almost constant basis. On top of that, away from land, your crew and yacht are entirely reliant on you to keep things moving along successfully. It can be stressful, tiring and difficult. It is also one of the most rewarding types of passage making you will have as a skipper. There is nothing quite like pulling in to a foreign port, having crossed a sea on a yacht that you skippered.
Your current qualifications may not have given you what you expected
If you're like almost every other client of ours, you'll have got your Day Skipper or Yachtmaster, with the expectation that afterwards you would be free to roam the seas and head off to all corners of the world. The reality is that you are probably not ready to do that. Even the Yachtmaster is really a 'licence to learn' - the equivalent of passing your driving test. As we all know, it's only once a new driver is let loose at the wheel that their education really begins!
What a developing skipper needs
Let's be honest - anyone can head off to sea and have a successful voyage. That doesn't necessarily make the skipper competent or safe. It just means that nothing went wrong that time. To be competent and safe, a developing skipper needs to experience offshore and international passage-making in a controlled environment. Able to plan the routes and make the decisions but with expert backup and advice at every stage. This is the very best learning environment. No theoretical exercises. These are real passages, dealing with real situations at every stage.
What you leave with after completing the Masterclass
There's a huge difference between qualifications and experience. The large number of Yachtmasters we have on board is testament to that. You will spend 12 days with two hugely experienced skippers who will guide, advise and teach. By the end you will have a raft of practical solutions to common situations and the experience of having dealt with them yourself. You will be far better prepared to skipper your own passages and should be confident and capable to do so.
Get the skills & experience you need to skipper passages
Join the boat in Gosport, UK
Join the boat in Haslar Marina between 0830hrs and 0900 on April 22. The course will start at this time. If you cannot arrive by then please let us know in advance.
The nearest airport is Southampton and the nearest rail station is Portsmouth
By public transport take the train to Portsmouth harbour and then take the green Gosport ferry across the harbour. The marina has short-stay parking for those being dropped off.
Disembark in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Republic of Ireland at 1200hrs on Thursday 4th May.
Disembark in Dublin, Ireland
Fly out from Dublin Airport, served by many airlines.
The airport is 16 miles from Dun Laoghaire by bus or taxi.
Before booking, you need to be sure that you are medically fit to head to sea. The week before embarkation you will be asked to complete the following form online. If you are in any way unsure as to your fitness to sail, you should consult a doctor. We are very happy to accommodate a wide range of medical issues on board but reserve the right to insist on a doctor's certificate if we are at all concerned about your fitness to sail.
in the last two years, have you received or been referred for any treatment surgery, investigations or follow-ups at any hospital, surgery or clinic for any of the following medical conditions:
if you have answered yes to any of the questions above please provide further details
Ensuring adequate cover
Most travel insurance already has a provision for yachting up to 12nm offshore. On an expedition rated ‘Explore’ you are very unlikely to need coverage that extends further offshore than this. For expeditions rated ‘Adventure’ or ‘Intrepid’ you may need some extra coverage as you could be in more challenging areas and further offshore. You should check with your insurance provider if you are at all unsure. We are always happy to provide you with details about your expedition but unfortunately Rubicon 3 cannot advise you on whether you have the correct insurance.
We do not recommend any provider but for your convenience have worked with Travel & General to ensure there is appropriate insurance cover available for the expeditions. There is a link to the specific insurance on below. If you are a non-UK citizen, Travel & General may not cover you. We have found that IMG are happy to cover US citizens and again there is a link on the trip page to their insurance.
The coverage available to US citizens often seems to vary hugely from that available to EU citizens and for that reason we no longer specify minimum requirements. However, bear in mind that medical costs abroad can be significant, especially if emergency medical repatriation is required. If possible, your policy should cover you for at least £2,000,000 in repatriation fees and associated expenses. Unfortunately, this appears to be all but impossible with US policies, with the figure often only reaching $50,000 USD. We accept that this may be the best you can get. Your insurance requirements are covered in section 7 of the Terms & Conditions.
The EHIC card
If you are an EU citizen you should ensure you have your EHIC card with you. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be used to cover any necessary medical treatment due to either an accident or illness within the European Economic Area (EEA). The EHIC entitles the holder to state-provided medical treatment within the country they are visiting and the service provided will be the same as received by a person covered by the country’s ‘insured’ medical scheme.
On-board, we provide top quality foul weather kit and life-jackets. You will need to bring the following kit:
We recommend a good 3 seasons bag that can open up fully. A silk liner can really help keep your bag clean and comfortable.
About 4 dry bags, ranging in size from 5 to 20 litres. These will keep your kit dry, electronics safe and such like. Maybe get ones with windows so you can see what’s inside. Pack a little silica gel pouch in each one to really keep things dry. If you don't have dry bags, plastic shopping bags are decent alternative!
I-pod, camera, kindle etc. Put them in a waterproof cases wherever possible. Writing materials, pens etc. Each bunk has a USB charging point, so bring a lead.
It has to have a red filter, but other than that, don’t go for anything fancy or expensive.
We like ones that are a bit waterproof and that really come down over the ears. A wide brimmed sun hat can also be a great second hat.
Have a thin woolly pair and a nice thick pair for night helming and such like. Bring more than one set, because they’ll get wet and then they’re useless! We really don’t rate most expensive sailing or skiing gloves, not least because their liners tend to pull out when wet making the glove impossible to get back on. Mittens really are ideal.
There really is no need to buy expensive or technical base layers. If you are on one of our colder expeditions, some woolly long-johns and a couple of long sleeved base layer tops will be your best friends.
Underwear and socks
Bring enough that you can wear a fresh set every day for up to a week. Why not?
Light weight long sleeve top
For hot sunny days and sunburn issues
1 pair long trousers for day to say sailing
There really is nothing to beat fleece-lined snowboarding trousers. Warm, weather proof and cheap. Why pay hundreds more for inferior kit?
These are what will keep you warm, so bring plenty. Thick fleece jackets and woolly jumpers are great. Duvet jackets are also very good, though you have to keep them dry.
Mid weight jacket
Something to wear as an outer layer that is windproof and at least shower proof. If it gets really wet, then you swap it out for our foulies!
You can spend a fortune but you really don’t need to, especially if you’re just joining us for one or two legs. We’ve sailed in £30 rubber sailing boots and they are absolutely fine (and dry). We’ve also sailed in £200 ocean sailing boots and been wet. If anything, go for rubber sailing boots to start. I fyou think you’ll sail regularly the Musto HPX Ocean boots are great as are the Dubarry Ocean boots.
Flip flops are great once we’re ashore and a pair of cross-trainers or light hiking boots can also be invaluable for exploring ashore in muddier areas.
They should be polarised and have a safety strap
Tooth brush and toothpaste; small bottle of shower gel; deodorant; SPF 15+ Sun cream (the sea reflects the sun and you will burn); towel (it doesn’t need to be a travel towel). Ear plugs can be very valuable.
Swimming gear and goggles
A knife / pliers combination
Not essential but very nice to have.
An internationally recognised credit or charge card and some local currency for when you first arrive.
Some shore clothes
What we provide
Top quality foul weather kit.
Life-jackets (please note, you are not allowed to use your own life-jacket on board, so please do not bring one)
A pillow for your bunk
Please pack your kit in a soft bag than can be folded away. Hard bottomed cases are very difficult to deal with on board.
Breakfast time. One day it may be bacon and eggs, another day toast, cereal and fruit
The boat is ready to go, the engine checks are done and all the lines are rigged. Our navigator for the day has planned our route and it's time to slip lines
Sailing along under full main and yankee one, taking a bearing on the lighthouse as the snow capped fjords of Norway or maybe the bustling, sweltering cities of north Africa glide by. It's a time for practising navigation, helming and just enjoying the sensation of sailing this fast, powerful yacht.
The crew may have used to the sextant to take a sun sight at noon to help fix our position. The chef for the day will have made a hearty chicken salad, maybe with some fresh bread to go along with it and we'll usually eat up on deck, either underway or we may anchor is a lovely bay.
After lunch is always a good time to have a more formal lesson. It could be working on weather routing, sail trim or getting everyone to helm a man overboard exercise under sail. We shape the training to the needs of the day, but with everyone assured of big gains in seamanship during the expedition.
This is always a good time to be looking to stop for the day, and almost every day we will stop somewhere for the night, either at anchor or in a port. On the longer range expeditions there will be more opportunity for sailing through the night, possibly for consecutive days.
There's a often a cold beer to be found as we relax after another day's sailing. There's the sea kayak to explore the local coast, a bike to cycle around town and since we're always in a new place, plenty to explore.
We'll always have a good, hot dinner and we pride ourselves at Rubicon 3 on the quality of our food. No pasta and sauce here; you're more likely to be eating roast lamb or freshly caught fish, always with lots of fresh veg to go with it.
While some people may be ashore having a drink or taking a shower, others can settle down in the saloon to watch one of the 50 or so movies that we carry on board. It's a chance for a gin and tonic, a chat and some serious relaxation with new found friends.
Do have a look at our Facebook page. We post as often as we can from each expedition. It's the best way to see where we go, who goes on these expeditions and what daily life is like. The photos page in particular will give you a great feel for it all!