In 2012 Grayhound was launched by Marcus and Freya Rowden. She was the first three masted lugger to have been built in Britain for 200 years and based on a revenue vessel that became a fast privateer.
Grayhound quickly became known as a ground breaking vessel at the forefront of green transport and a sail cargo revolution. She set up regular cargo runs with guest crew helping transport organic wine and beer between Britain and France, as well as adventure voyages.
Length On Deck
Vessel Type / Rig
Three Masted Lugger
We weigh anchor in the morning, see where the winds take us, have a delicious meal at sea, and are back in harbour in the evening. These trips are perfect try-outs if you are curious to join longer voyages with Grayhound but are unsure if it is for you.
Join the Grayhound crew for a day of hands-on sailing where you will take part in the ship’s daily routines. You will learn about how to sail a traditional 18th century tall ship while enjoying beautiful archipelagos. Depending on the winds we will visit some of the historical landmarks on the islands.
On these voyages we pass through a famous shipping canal. Usually partly man-built they are rigged with history and amazing nature. As we slowly glide along either by sail or motor we visit historic sites, cosy pubs and admire beautiful scenery. We have a tasty dinner by anchor and a drink or two at the local pubs in the evenings.
Discovering fjords and deep waterways. Usually these trips are about 3-5 days. We hoist sails when ever possible. Breath taking landscapes and dramatic nature surround us on all sides. We make overnight stays by anchor and visit smaller towns on our way.
On Coastal Explorations we sail along beautiful coastlines seeing natural wonders and famous local sites. Some days we sail through the nights and some nights are spent at anchor in a beautiful calm bay. You will be involved in most aspects of navigating and servicing the ship as well as exploring inlets and fjords in our rowing gigs.
Islands are by their nature historically part of traditional sail routes. Filled with history and stories and fascinating nature. Cruising from island to island we will go ashore to learn more about the local history. Sailing between them is hands-on and you will be part of the watch teams helping to navigate from island to island.
You will not get closer than this to experiencing the life of traditional sailing. You will be part of an eco-cargo delivery of wine, beer, clothes or other dry merchandise. We load and unload the ship by hand. This is full, hands-on sailing as we go from one port to another. You need to be physically fit and in good health. If we deliver beer or wine you will of course have a chance to taste the goods!
These voyages are usually even more physically demanding. We sail for at least a week across larger open seas (Atlantic, North Sea, Bay of Biscay and more). You will be part of a watch team and involved in every aspect of handling, maintaining and navigating a tall ship. Hands-on and challenging.
On board your 18th Century Privateer the experience feels quite smuggler like in spirit and connects you with the local community. Often the whole village turns out to help you unload the cargo (small boxes). Grayhound does have an engine, but she also has a lean, fast hull shape and 3500 square feet of sail to take full advantage of mother nature. Beginners and sailing enthusiasts alike can immerse themselves in ‘hands on’ sailing skills, whether it be ghosting along with the tide in the moonlight, or blasting along with topsails and t’gallants set.
A holiday should refresh you and fill you with energy and enthusiasm for the future. Classic Sailing believe the Grayhound crew and this incredible three masted lugger will be that tonic, refresh the way you think, and possibly change the way you live your life. You don’t have to sign up for 6 months on a Greenpeace ship to meet eco-warriors. The Sail Cargo movement is a growing fleet, with great opportunities for GAP year students or career break professionals to meet passionate supporters around the world.
If you doubt us, read the customer comments from her cargo and holiday voyages.
Grayhound has a huge bowsprit and outrigger so her total sparred length is 108 feet. Her 3500 square foot of sail can drive her fast hull at speeds up to 14 knots. The main and foremast carry large lug sails and above topsails and t’gallants can be hoisted. Unlike a square rigger this lugger is no slouch to windward. She is a thrill to race and frequently steals the show at festivals from Looe to Antigua.
The beauty of this lug rig is its versatility. There are no booms at deck level. Her lug sails can be reefed. Her sail balance allows her to sail without a jib on the bowsprit. Grayhound has high bulwarks (ships sides) and the deck has room for two ships boats and still loads of space to stride about or tuck into a sheltered spot. Some seasons she carries a barrel of rum on deck to ‘age’.
There is a good staff to guest crew ratio on Grayhound so you will get plenty of individual attention. As an introduction to sailing she would be great choice for complete beginners. There are plenty of day sails in the West Country and there is nothing to stop an adventurous family, or mum and daughter, grandfather and grandson combinations coming on a charter voyage with no sailing experience. Cargo voyages are offshore, so you need to be up for a bit of bouncing around and living life on the angle, but beginners are welcome on these too…and the sense of achievement is great.
There is a spacious pilot house with big windows so you can dip out of the rough weather or sun and not miss the scenery. On cargo voyages the saloon area becomes the cargo hold, so after the first night, meals are generally taken on deck or in the light and airy pilot house.
The sails are no heavier to hoist than our other gaffers but hoisting the topsail and t’gallant yards requires well co-ordinated teamwork. Grayhound has a big tiller but small block and tackles on each side make it easy to steer whilst standing a couple of feet from the tiller. This enables the helm to look down the deck and check the sail trim or get a better view ahead.
The deck has room for two ships boats and still loads of space to stride about or tuck into a sheltered spot.
Cargo carrying voyages are still a sailing holiday, but the emphasis is more on active and adventurous voyage crew who take part in all aspects of the sailing and delivering of cargo under sail. It is particularly popular with young professionals from a wide range of careers who want an active holiday, doing something worthwhile. Its also a great way of touching base with other people who care about the planet. The central cabin becomes the cargo hold with boxes filling in the floor up to table level. The crew always try to have a full crew meal around this lovely wooden table of contorted oak before the cargo is taken on board (and a celebratory meal after the cargo has been unloaded, but during the delivery run, meals are taken in the light and sunny pilot house or on deck. The pilot house has enough seating for everybody …and you can still see the view.. For meals at anchor there is a table that can be hung down the centre of the doghouse.
On cargo voyages Grayhound only takes 8 guest crew as there is less room below. Charter voyages take up to 10 guest crew and day sails can take 12.
These voyages are an amazing experience and are deliberately a little bit cheaper than the usual seven day holiday voyages, with the intention of attracting the next generation of young sailors to get energetically involved the green transport movement.
All of us at Classic Sailing Office watched her being built, and helped with the launch event. Adam and Debbie sailed on her maiden charter voyage, Adam joined Grayhound as crew on the first Trans Atlantic Crossing from Cape Verde to Barbados.
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The interior of Grayhound is like a home that expects to have guests. Not cluttered, but relaxed and welcoming. It has featured in Coast Magazine so that is a good hint that the interior is a bit special. The internal spaces are very well thought out, with a great deal of flexibility to accommodate all sorts of guest crew mixes, family life and a professional crew.
“Below decks is a work of art in wood and reminds me of a fantasy tree house with curved wooden steps and giant sizes bunks.” Debbie’s first impressions
The Grayhound usually accommodates up to 10 people on a holiday voyage, 8 persons on a cargo run and up to twelve people for a day sail. If the Grayhound is hosting an event alongside she can take many more people on board. Bunks are dormitory style with a shower and two toilets. There is a communal eating area down below with a wide opening hatch so we can star gaze while eating. In hot climates we will be eating alfresco. We have a pilot house at deck level which is a chill out area and where the crew navigate. Grayhound provides bed linen and heavy wet weather and safety gear. The ship has a solar powered ventilation system to keep the cabins fresh and airy in tropical climates, or when the hatches are shut for rough seas.
Matching the strength and swiftness of the Grayhound we have an international regular crew of dedicated and experienced sailors who are eager to make your voyage a memory for a lifetime. As the guest crew you will learn to sail, handle and maintain a privateer lugger from 1776, and you will always feel safe and most welcome. Every year we take on five full-time crew: a skipper, a cook, two watch-leaders and a deck-hand. We carefully select the team for each voyage to ensure we have the right mix to provide an amazing experience – both for our guests and our crew.
Owner and watch-leader
Wille has been sailing all his life and has been the driving force behind countless enormous projects. Wille is a circus artist, rigger, producer and writer. There is not much he cannot fix with his stubbornness and a bent screwdriver
Owner, deck-hand and guide
Oskar is a puppeteer and a performer. He is also a playwright and a published writer. On his travels he gathers forgotten myths, magical artefacts and new stories about strange sea creatures.
Guillaume is one of our skippers. He is a Grayhound veteran, and has a lot of love for the ship. Since he wasn’t very comfortable with job interviews, but had all the necessary diplomas, we hired him and hoped for the best.
Elias is one of our skippers. An experienced sailor with a Capitaine 500 Validé… He was on a three year round-the-world sail when we saved him from Corona boredom and made him skipper on Grayhound.
Noémie is one of our cooks. She specialises in vegetarian cooking. She is the kind of cook that can serve up home-made burgers with newly-baked bread, followed by a fantastic tiramisu, after almost two weeks at sea.
Nick is one of our watch-leaders. He has spent his entire life on the sea. Being a descendant of the Isle of Wight he is actually the only British citizen on this UK flagged ship.
Ewan is one of our watch-leaders and a veteran on board Grayhound. He is an experienced and devoted sailor who is willing to go anywhere in the world… As long as you tell him you’re going to Cape Verde.
Constanze is one of our deck-hands and a skilled and enthusiastic rigger. So far we haven’t found anything that could dampen her good mood. Except from making her wear shoes.
Jonne is one of our deck-hands. She has sailed some of the most respected tall ships in the business. She has a background as an elite sprinter, a skill she uses occasionally when it’s time to get out of her bunk for night watches.