|Thu 25-04-2024, 14:00Horta, on Ilha do Faial, Azores||Wed 08-05-2024, 11:00Pasaia, Northern Spain||Grayhound||13 Nights||GR250424|
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.pasaiaitsasfestibala.org – 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.
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.
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
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.
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.Caroline
Thanks all for a great time, I really enjoyed it. Fastest Channel crossing I have managed!Barney
An unforgettable experienceJonathon
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.Des
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.Barry
Outstanding and unforgettable experience. Loved learning the lug rig, meeting the crew and other guests, playing an active role on board.Charlie
Brilliant sail on an interesting boat with friendly and knowledgeable people.Steve
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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