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Fri 13-09-2024, 14:00Belfast, Northern Ireland Fri 20-09-2024, 11:00Douarnenez, Brittany Grayhound 7 NightsGR130924

Join a seven-day sailing adventure from Belfast to Douarnenez on Grayhound. This journey takes you through the Irish Sea and the English Channel, past historic landmarks and natural wonders like the Isle of Man and Snowdonia. Engage fully with shipboard life, taking turns at the helm, setting sails, and standing watch. Conclude your voyage in the charming town of Douarnenez, a hub of maritime culture.

This voyage is perfect for adventurers at heart, whether seasoned sailors or novices eager to learn the ropes. It’s perfect for those who relish hands-on experiences and enjoy being part of a team. If you’re looking for a blend of adventure, natural beauty, and proper sailing!, this sailing trip is your call to the sea!

  • Voyage
  • Vessel

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Navigate the Irish sea
  • Great practice for those working towards sailing qualifications
  • Action packed voyage with plenty to see and do
  • Possibility to stand night watch with the professional crew
  • Fantastic varied sailing in great company

Grayhound

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!

As voyage crew, you do not have to have any prior sailing experience or knowledge to join on Grayhound. A positive attitude and a wish for adventure is all! Our experienced crew will make sure that you comfortably and eagerly hoist the sails, make fast the ropes, participate in the manoeuvres, steer the ship and ready the anchor. It is all hands-on and you will be a crucial part of getting to our desired destination. You will learn fast while enjoying the feeling of freedom the ship offers as you get humbled by the sea. 

Some of the trips are more demanding than others. Make sure to read the voyage descriptions properly before you book your adventure. If you feel unsure please contact us and ask for further information. Classic Sailing +44 1326 53 1234

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

Departing from Belfast

Begin your adventure in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The city, rich with maritime heritage, serves as the perfect backdrop to the start of your journey aboard Grayhound. As you prepare to set sail, take in the historic charm of Belfast’s docks and the friendly buzz of its vibrant waterfront. Before you leave, take a moment to explore the Titanic Quarter, where the famous ship was constructed, adding a touch of historical intrigue to your departure.

Along the Way

You’ll navigate the busy Stranraer-Belfast shipping route, with Scotland’s rugged coast on the horizon. This is a really interesting stretch of water to sail, pretty scenery, wind farms, varied wildlife and big shipping trafic – there will be something to see in every direction! Sailing day and night, you’ll see the Isle of Man, Wicklow Mountains of Ireland. Watch for dolphins playing in the wake and seabirds soaring overhead. As you skirt the dramatic Snowdonia mountains and round the iconic Land’s End, the panorama of the English Channel will unfold in spectacular fashion.

Arriving in Douarnenez

Your voyage concludes in the picturesque town of Douarnenez, Brittany. With its deep maritime roots, Douarnenez welcomes you with open arms. Spend an extra day here to discover the Port-Musée, a museum dedicated to maritime life, or stroll along the historic quays, tasting fresh seafood along the way. For a leisurely end to your journey, wander the town’s narrow streets, lined with quaint houses and artisanal shops, providing a peaceful retreat from your exhilarating adventure at sea.

Ready for a real adventure?

A voyage across the sometimes challenging waters of the Irish Sea, the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay aboard Grayhound is a thrilling adventure and a profound learning experience. With no prior sailing knowledge required, this voyage is perfect for adventurers of all skill levels but do be aware that conditions in these areas are sometimes rough – sometimes it’s a millpond! Under the guidance of your expert crew, you’ll engage directly in sailing, learning how to harness the wind and waves while fostering teamwork and resilience. As you navigate through dynamic environments, you’ll not only encounter awe-inspiring natural beauty and wildlife but also discover new strengths within yourself. This journey promises not just to teach you the art of traditional sailing but to transform challenges into cherished memories and personal triumphs.

Some of our trips are more demanding than others. If you feel unsure whether this voyage is right for you, please contact us and ask for further information. Classic Sailing +44 1326 53 1234

WINDS, WAVES & WEATHER

Expect a variety of sea conditions as you travel from the Irish Sea into the English Channel. September usually brings mild to moderate winds, ideal for sailing. However, be prepared for occasional rough patches, especially as you navigate around Land’s End. The weather will be typically autumnal; crisp, with a mix of sunny spells and potential rain showers, adding an invigorating freshness to your journey. Our experienced crew will ensure your safety and comfort, no matter the weather.

A NOTE ON VOYAGE DESCRIPTIONS

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. 

HANDS ON HOLIDAYS

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.

Douarnenez at Sunset

Start & End Port

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast

Travel options.

Getting to Belfast from England is relatively easy, with several options available for travelers.

One of the most popular ways to reach Belfast is by air. There are many daily flights available from major airports in England such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool to Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport. These flights are operated by airlines such as British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, and Flybe, among others.

Another option is to travel by sea. There are regular ferry services from Liverpool and Cairnryan in Scotland to Belfast. These services are operated by companies such as Stena Line and P&O Ferries.

Finally, travelers can also opt to drive from England to Belfast. This can be done by taking a ferry from Liverpool to Belfast or by driving to Holyhead in Wales and taking a ferry to Dublin, followed by a drive to Belfast. The drive from Dublin to Belfast takes approximately 2 hours.

The official Belfast Visitor web site.

Belfast Harbour is Northern Ireland’s principal maritime gateway and logistics hub, serving the Northern Ireland economy and increasingly that of the Republic of Ireland. Around 60% of Northern Ireland’s seabourne trade and 20% of the entire island’s is handled at the harbour, handling around 16 million tonnes of cargo per annum and receiving around 5,500 vessels each year.

Established in 1847, Belfast Harbour is Belfast’s port authority and operates the principal maritime gateway on the island of Ireland. The harbour estate covers an area of 2,000 acres representing 20% of Belfast City area and is also Northern Ireland’s logistics and distribution hub and home to major businesses including Microsoft, Harland & Wolff, Capita, CitiGroup and Bombardier.

Douarnenez, Brittany

Grayhound has her own berth at Port Rhu and the port is small enough for you to be able to easily spot her distinctive wooden masts.

 Douarnenez, Brittany

How to Get There

For those eager to experience the charm of Douarnenez, Brittany, myriad transport options can usher you to its doorstep.

From the UK:

One of the most straightforward routes is by taking a ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff, which is just a short drive away from Douarnenez. Those keen on travelling by rail can catch the Eurostar to Paris and then take a TGV to Quimper. Once at Quimper, Douarnenez is easily accessible via bus or car.

From Europe:

Travelling by TGV train to Quimper is advisable, with connections available from major European cities like Brussels, Amsterdam, or Geneva.

From North America:

Your journey will likely begin with a flight into Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. From there, a domestic flight to either Quimper or Brest airports can be taken. Upon reaching either of these airports, Douarnenez can be reached by renting a car or hopping on a coach/bus.

From Australia:

Flights will typically land in Paris or other significant European hubs. Subsequent domestic flights or trains will get travellers to Quimper, after which they can proceed to Douarnenez.

Should you choose to drive to Douarnenez, be assured that parking facilities are in place. For finding or reserving parking spaces, it’s advised to check out JustPark.

What to Do in Douarnenez, Brittany

History:

Douarnenez is rich in maritime history. A standout attraction is the Port-Musée (Port Museum), where visitors can immerse themselves in centuries of naval tradition through ancient boats and exhibits.

Culture:

The town is a cultural beacon, with festivals such as the Fête des Bateaux (Boat Festival) showcasing traditional boat parades. Furthermore, the locale offers a mix of Celtic-inspired music and contemporary arts for visitors to enjoy.

Sites of Interest to a Sailor:

With its twin harbours, Port Rhu and Port du Rosmeur, Douarnenez is a sight to behold for sailors. Those with a passion for sailing can also embark on tours to explore the Bay of Douarnenez in all its glory.

Entertainment:

Nighttime in Douarnenez is lively, thanks to its pubs and clubs that echo with traditional Breton tunes. On special occasions, visitors might even catch a performance of the traditional ‘Fest Noz’ dance in the town’s squares.

Eating Out:

A gastronomic delight awaits food lovers. From the renowned ‘kouign-amann’, a caramelised pastry, to fresh seafood dishes like mussels and oysters, there’s much to relish. And, of course, one can’t leave without sampling the local cider.

Nature:

The town is surrounded by natural beauty. Take a walk on the Plomarc’h trails, explore ancient ruins, or relax on the Sables Blancs beach. Those looking for scenic views won’t be disappointed with the coastal paths on offer.

Unique Features:

Douarnenez boasts of a legend that sets it apart: the tale of the sunken city of Ys. According to lore, this city lies submerged beneath the town’s bay waters. The story of King Gradlon and his daughter Dahut adds a layer of mystique to this already captivating destination.

 

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.

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.

Review

 

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.

Caroline

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

Barney

An unforgettable experience

Jonathon

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
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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