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A celebration of Sail and Sound

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Thu 25-04-2024, 14:00Horta, on Ilha do Faial, Azores Wed 08-05-2024, 11:00Pasaia, Northern Spain Grayhound 13 NightsGR250424

Set sail from the Azores onboard Cornish Lugger Grayhound, for a voyage filled with ever-changing scenery. Expect wildlife encounters as you cross the open waters of the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay. All topped off with live music, dance, and the stunning sight of sailboats and traditional vessels converging in the harbour at Pasaia Itsas Festibala. Get ready for an unforgettable maritime adventure!

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


  • Hands-on sailing experience from the stunning Azores
  • Plenty of opportunity to see marine mammals
  • ‘Hands-on’ sailing using traditional ropes, blocks, and tackles
  • Conclude the voyage with a celebration of sail and sound at Pasaia Itsas Festibala


Vessel type / Rig Three Masted Lugger
Guest Berths 8-10
Beam 19ft
Draft 10.75ft
Deck Length 64ft
Overall Length 108ft
Tonnage 56 tons
Year Built 2012
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description


An Introduction to Grayhound

GRAYHOUND is one of the largest sailing luggers in the world today. She was built in Cornwall in 2012 and has a 20m long hull, is 33m overall and a canvas area of 470 square meters. The original plans were those of a three masted lugger from 1776. Luggers from that time were built for speed and swiftness ideal for privateering, smuggling…or for hunting the latter! “Pirate hand-break turns” and cannon firing is always on the menu on Grayhound!


Setting off from the Azores

Sailing aboard the traditional sailing Lugger ‘Grayhound’ from the Azores to Pasaia Itsas Festibala in Northern Spain in April is quite the adventure. Begin the adventure on the Island of Faial, where you’ll join Grayhound in the beautiful port of Horta – known as the “most colourful marina in the world!” As you depart from the Azores, you’ll be treated to the mesmerizing beauty of this volcanic archipelago. soak in the lush, green landscapes, rugged coastlines, and the azure waters of the Atlantic stretching out before you. The Azores are a hidden gem of natural wonders, with dramatic cliffs, rolling hills, and charming towns. It’s a bit like sailing through a painting, with ever-changing backdrops that will leave you in awe.

Along the Way

As you make your way towards Northern Spain, the scenery evolves. The Bay of Biscay is known for its breath-taking seascapes. You’ll be surrounded by vast expanses of water, and depending on your route, you may pass by Brittany in France or the coast of Portugal. Expect to see rugged cliffs, picturesque coastal towns, and perhaps even the distant outline of the Pyrenees as you approach Spain. Your journey will take you to picturesque coastal towns and hidden coves. Immerse yourself in local culture, savour delicious regional cuisine, sip on fine Spanish wines, and explore colourful streets.

Grayhound sailing

The Natural World

Spring is a great time of year for wildlife enthusiasts. In the Bay of Biscay you’ll find yourself in the heart of one of Europe’s most spectacular seascapes, teeming with marine life. The azure waters and gentle breeze create a mesmerizing, immersive experience. Keep your binoculars handy because you might spot playful dolphins riding the bow wave, and if you’re lucky, majestic whales breaching the surface. It’s also a prime time for birdwatching, with seabirds like gannets and shearwaters soaring overhead. If you’re keen-eyed, you might even catch a glimpse of a school of flying fish darting across the water – a truly enchanting sight.

Party Time

The pinnacle of your adventure awaits as you arrive at Pasaia Itsas Festibala, a vibrant maritime festival that celebrates the rich seafaring heritage of the region. You’ll be welcomed with open arms by locals who are passionate about their maritime traditions. Enjoy live music, dance performances, and, of course, the stunning sight of dozens of sailboats and traditional vessels like yours converging in the harbour.

Learn as You Go

While no prior experience needed for this journey, please be advised that this is an open-water crossing, with a night watch system in place and be aware that the Bay of Biscay can at times be challenging – while we don’t want that to put you off, please take some time to consider if this voyage is right for you. Rest assured that Grayhound’s seasoned crew will act as your maritime mentors, schooling you in the art of sailing this iconic vessel so that even the most novice guest will have a safe and fun crossing. Whether it’s hoisting the canvas or plotting a course across open waters, you’ll be invited to take the tiller, read the charts, and keep watch as you navigate through the twilight. It’s a tactile experience that not only connects you with the Lugger but also deepens your relationship with the open sea.

The above 3 images are curtesy of – The festival’s official website


Spring can be a bit unpredictable in terms of weather, so be prepared for a mix of conditions. You might encounter some brisk winds, especially as you get closer to the Bay of Biscay. While the weather might be a bit on the cooler side, it’s also a refreshing time to sail, and you’ll appreciate the salty breeze in your face.

The sea state can vary, but generally, the Bay of Biscay is known for its lively waters. Expect some swells and waves, particularly as you move away from the sheltered Azores. ‘Grayhound’ is a sturdy vessel, well-equipped for these conditions, and the experienced crew will ensure your safety and comfort throughout the journey.


On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best and safest sailing routes for the forecast. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described above, but when it comes to sailing, you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description provided is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or prior experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage. As such, the scheduled joining ports, routes, activities and/or destinations may be altered. Due to the complexities of weather systems, this may be at very short notice. 


Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail. Handling cargo adds an extra dimension – building teamwork and communication skills and leaving you with a great sense of achievement.


We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.

Start & End Port

Horta, on Ilha do Faial, Azores


Travel Guide: Horta, Azores

How to Get There

Getting to Horta, Azores depends on your starting point. Here’s a general guide:

From the UK and Europe: Flying is the most direct option. Usually, you’ll find a flight to Lisbon and from there catch a connecting flight to Horta Airport.

From North America: Flights often transit through Lisbon. Some major U.S. cities offer direct flights to Lisbon, from where you can get a connecting flight to Horta.

From Australia: Be prepared for at least one layover, typically in a major European city like London or Lisbon. Then continue with a smaller flight to Horta.

Since Horta is an island, there are no trains or buses going there directly. However, if you’re already in the Azores, you can take a ferry to Horta. On the island itself, coaches and buses are more for tours rather than transit from other places.

What to Do in Horta

History: Visit the Horta Museum to delve into the island’s rich maritime past. Peter Café Sport is also worth a visit; it has been serving sailors for more than 100 years.

Culture: Experience local festivals like the Semana do Mar, which celebrates the region’s maritime heritage.

Sites of Interest to a Sailor: The marina in Horta is a key stopping point for transatlantic yachts. You’ll also find a variety of sailing tours that offer a different perspective of the island.

Entertainment: For a small place, Horta has a lively nightlife scene. Expect a relaxed atmosphere, local music, and friendly bars.

Eating Out: Seafood is king in Horta. Restaurants by the marina offer not only fresh catch but also incredible views.

Nature: Horta offers stunning natural beauty. From hiking trails to volcanic landscapes and whale watching, there’s plenty for outdoor enthusiasts to explore.

Unique Features: One unique feature is the sailor’s tradition of painting a mural on the marina wall before setting sail again. It gives Horta a communal feel that’s quite special.

Special Interests

If you have a special interest that you would like to find out about for this port or to tell us about, we would love to hear from you.


Sustainable Travel Carbon Offset Schemes

Horta Azores

By selecting sustainable travel options and actively participating in carbon offset initiatives, you can make a positive impact while journeying to or from your voyage.

Here are some suggestions for carbon offset websites.


UK: One popular carbon offset website in the UK is “Clear” who offer a range of carbon offset projects and solutions for individuals, businesses, and organisations. They provide detailed information about their projects and allow users to calculate and offset their carbon footprint online.

North America: In North America, “Terrapass” is a well-known carbon offset website. Terrapass offers carbon offset projects across the United States and Canada. They provide options for individuals, businesses, and events to calculate and offset their carbon emissions. Terrapass also offers additional resources and information on sustainable living.


Europe: A popular carbon offset website in Europe is “MyClimate.” MyClimate provides carbon offset projects and solutions for individuals, businesses, and travel. They offer a carbon footprint calculator and allow users to support various sustainable projects worldwide. MyClimate focuses on promoting climate protection and sustainability.


Australia:Greenfleet” is a prominent carbon offset website in Australia. Greenfleet focuses on planting native forests to offset carbon emissions. They offer individuals and businesses the opportunity to calculate and offset their carbon footprint by contributing to tree planting projects across Australia. Greenfleet provides detailed information about their projects and the positive environmental impacts they create.


Please note that these carbon offset websites may vary over time, so it is recommended to research and explore multiple options to find the most suitable one for your needs. 


If any of these links do not work it would be kind of you to inform us, many thanks.


Pasaia, Northern Spain


Kit List

What to pack for a sailing holiday on Grayhound

What is included

  • Duvets, linen, pillows
  • Sailing instruction
  • All meals on board (professional chef)
  • Tea, coffee, biscuits, fruit and day time snacks.
  • Night watch snacks (if applicable)
  • You don't have to do the cleaning, but help with the washing up is always appreciated.
  • Waterproof and insulated jackets and trousers
  • Life Jacket and safety equipment, we also have child automatic life jackets.
  • Charging facilities for phones, cameras and tablets etc.

What is not included

  • Towels
  • Travel to joining port
  • Tours, shore expeditions with any hire vehicle or local guide (optional & shared costs)
  • Personal travel insurance See Topsail Insurance LINK
  • There is no bar on board so you might like to bring a bottle or two of wine to enjoy with meals. You can also buy organic sailed cargo wine, red, white and rose onboard.

What to Bring

Don't forget, Grayhound is 108ft overall so she will not always fit into small yacht marinas and she will often have to anchor off in the bay or port. Be prepared to get into a small boat with your luggage and pack sensibly protecting any vulnerable items like cameras. Grayhound has waterproof and insulated flotation jackets and trousers on board which are very warm. In summer or hot locations you may wish to bring some lightweight waterproofs. Even in the Caribbean you can get tropical downpours or spray on deck when sailing in strong winds. A mobile phone so you can ring the ship in an emergency or if you are running late on joining day. Also it means we can contact you if we have to change the joining port for any reason. Grayhound's phone number will always be supplied with your balance confirmation e-mail. Shoes with a good grip for deck & aloft Rubber Boots or second pair of shoes for wet weather or getting in/out of dinghies Swim suit & beach towel. You are welcome to bring snorkel and mask - especially worth it in the Caribbean or Cape Verde. Suntan lotion & sunglasses - consider sunblock and lip salve protection in Canaries, Cape Verde, Trans Altantic, Caribbean. Sun hat / warm hat, scarves, gloves Clothes that dry quickly. Mix of warm, waterproof & windproof layers Small rucksack for going ashore Travel insurance documents/tickets Personal medicines/ spectacles Spending money/passport Camera/binoculars etc Phone chargers. 240 generator on board UK three pin sockets. We welcome musical instruments and you can plug in ipods or CDs into ships stereo. There are storage areas for each bunk . Please pack in a soft rucksack or bag. A torch is useful as a few baggage spaces are at the foot of bunks with reading light at other end. There is no alcohol to buy on board, so you are welcome to bring a bottle or two to drink with meals. If you decide to buy some on arrival You can also buy Grayhound t shirts, mugs and Breton tops from our ship's shop we accept pounds or euros.



Sailing on Grayhound in the Caribbean, March 2024

James recently shared his feedback from his voyage on Grayhound, sailing from St. Lucia to Guadeloupe from 6th to 12th March. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, rating it as amazing, but he felt the need to share some insights.

The crew comprised 11 people, including a professional skipper, a young mate, a cook, and the boat's Swedish owners, Willie and Oscar. The passengers included two Americans, Connor and Leah, along with James and Nigel Sharp, who was there to write an article about the trip. A young couple joined as volunteer crew but lacked experience, which somewhat impacted the dynamics.

James appreciated the diverse age range and found the mixed sleeping arrangements manageable, though he noted the challenges of sleeping in tropical heat. His prior experience on classic boats like Pilgrim and Johanna Lucretia helped him enjoy working on the boat, though he advises that physical fitness is essential for activities like using the hand winch and rowing in the Caribbean heat.

A significant aspect of the trip was the administrative process of checking into each Caribbean island, which James found somewhat tedious. He also highlighted that Grayhound is a vegetarian boat, which, while not a major issue for him, did limit the culinary experience of the Caribbean.

Despite some minor issues, James emphasises that future passengers should be prepared for a more casual and less professional experience on Grayhound, compared to other vessels. He always felt safe and enjoyed the boat's beauty, describing the atmosphere at times as akin to a 'happy hippy expedition'. The owners' approach to running Grayhound as a business seemed more focused on enjoyment, including evenings with drinks and beach BBQ’s.

Overall, James is grateful for the experience and open to future sailing adventures. He also stayed on in the Caribbean for an extra week, offering to share his discoveries with others. He's curious about Nigel Sharp's upcoming article in Classic Boat, noting Nigel's mixed impressions during the trip.

This is a summary of the comments by James March 2024

Thank you so much to all the Grayhound crew for an unforgettable adventure. I cannot imagine a kinder and better crew with which to sail.


Thanks all for a great time, I really enjoyed it. Fastest Channel crossing I have managed!


An unforgettable experience


We've had two idyllic sailing trips. One particularly fantastic day scrambling over big volcanic rocks down a deep craggy valley to a black sand beach with dramatically high cliffs. Grayhound was waiting, attracting attention because she's so beautiful and unique. Swimming out to her in the clear waters o the Atlantic rates as one of life's highlights.

Grayhound Guest

Fantastic, exhilarating and an honour to be on such a ship.


Excellent company of genuine all round sailors. The wind in my face and the swell beneath. 5 stars for welcome, accommodation on board, safety, quality of sailing, food, skipper and crew.


Outstanding and unforgettable experience. Loved learning the lug rig, meeting the crew and other guests, playing an active role on board.


Brilliant sail on an interesting boat with friendly and knowledgeable people.

learning to steer at a young age on Grayhound
learning to steer at a young age on Grayhound

Vessel Gallery

Three masted lugger Grayhound is a unique sight and a joy to take photos of. Not only does she look very unusual as it is a rig not seen much now, she has a mission to deliver cargoes under sail, so she is the darling of the press. Photos from Classic Sailing customers, ships crew and professional photographers. We hope it gives a flavour of her sailing, life on board, the people that come, her beautiful sailing grounds and what it is like to live below decks.

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