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Canary to Cape Verde adventure sail

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Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Wed 27-12-2023, 14:00Santa Cruz de la Palma, Las Palmas Sat 06-01-2024, 11:00Mindelo, Cape Verde Grayhound 10 NightsGR271223

Imagine kicking off your adventure in the Canary Islands, an archipelago with stunning landscapes and vibrant culture. Then, hop aboard Grayhound for a 300 Nautical Mile passage across the Atlantic. The crew will teach you everything you need to know about sailing, offering a fantastic digital detox and hands-on experience. After 4-5 days sailing, you should find yourself in the diverse and pristine Cape Verde Islands, home to an abundance of marine life and unique landscapes. A true adventure from start to finish—no prior sailing experience needed!

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


  • Kick off your journey in the Canary Islands, a place of volcanic beauty and vibrant culture.
  • Step aboard Grayhound for a 300 Nautical Mile trip across the Atlantic.
  • The crew teaches you all you need to know about sailing a Cornish Lugger.
  • Embrace a digital detox and become one with the elements.
  • Reach the Cape Verde Islands, a pristine archipelago rich in natural beauty and marine life.
  • No prior sailing experience needed, making it the perfect adventure for everyone.
  • Celebrate Christmas and the New Year on Grayhound. Adam has!


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 are 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. 


Fancy a sail that’s more than just a jolly on the water? This is your chance to hit three birds with one stone! Start by arriving early in the Canary Islands—perhaps you might even consider spending your Christmas there. This archipelago is a feast for the senses with its vibrant street markets, otherworldly volcanic landscapes, and unique architecture. You could hike up Mount Teide, the third tallest volcanic structure in the world, or simply sip sangria in the sun.

Then, step aboard Grayhound, a mighty Cornish Lugger, and prepare for an unforgettable sail of 300 Nautical Miles across the Atlantic Ocean. This isn’t just any sail; it’s a proper passage adventure in the deep blue. Imagine stepping away from the screens and daily grind. Feel the wind in your hair and taste the salt on your lips as you become one with nature.

Don’t worry if you’re a newcomer to sailing. The seasoned crew on board Grayhound will teach you everything you need to know. You’ll learn how to navigate, steer, hoist sails, and even take on the responsibility of night watches. Whether you’re tying knots or taking reefs, you’ll marvel at the grand scale of the ocean and its natural beauty.

After 4 to 5 days of sailing, we’ll land on the Cape Verde Islands. If the winds are in our favour, we might even ring in the New Year as we set foot on this pristine archipelago. Situated about 600 Nautical Miles due West from Senegal, Cape Verde offers an extraordinary range of experiences. From unspoilt beaches to banana plantations, from volcanic hillsides to deep blue ocean waters filled with coral reefs, this place is a sailor’s dream. The islands are a haven for marine life including sea turtles, humpback whales, fly-fish, and tuna.

So, whether you’re sipping a Caipirinha on a Cape Verdean beach or steering Grayhound through the Atlantic, this journey promises to be a lifetime memory. Come join us on this epic sail adventure!

You will learn how to sail a traditional Cornish Lugger. Whether you are an experienced sailor or not there is plenty to learn. Professional sailors are always surprised by Grayhound’s combination of sturdiness and sensitivity to the wind. She is nimble! There’s no limit to what you can learn about navigation and traditional sailing.

The Irish Sea is beautiful, mysterious and rich in history. We may find anchorages in Ireland or Wales, before setting a course for Land’s End. Grayhound was built in Cornwall from Cornish oak, so when she rounds Land’s End she’ll be giving a nod to her birthplace. Depending on the forecast, Grayhound might make a stop on the South Coast of Cornwall to restock and recharge before the final channel crossing to Douarnenez.


On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast. This is a passage-making voyage, however, so there will be a need to make up the miles, and that can mean sailing in slightly stiffer conditions than on a round trip. The Irish Sea and English Channel can both get a little punchy, but Grayhound is a solid seagoing ship and will take good care of you.


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.

Irish coast at sunset. Photo Pixabay

Start & End Port

Santa Cruz de la Palma, Las Palmas

Santa Cruz de la Palma, Las Palmas

How to Get There

Santa Cruz de la Palma in Las Palmas isn’t as tricky to get to as you might think, whether you’re jetting in from the UK, Europe, North America, or Australia. If you’re flying from the UK or Europe, you’ll find direct flights to La Palma Airport. From North America and Australia, you’ll likely need to catch a connecting flight via Madrid or another major European city. Once you’re at the airport, taxis and buses are available to get you into the town centre.

For those who fancy a bit of sea travel, ferries do run from other Canary Islands like Tenerife. Trains and coaches aren’t really an option here, given it’s an island. If you’re travelling by car, rental options are available at the airport and in the town.

What to Do in Santa Cruz de la Palma in Las Palmas

If you’ve got a soft spot for history, Santa Cruz de la Palma won’t disappoint. Make a point of visiting the Naval Museum, housed in a replica of Christopher Columbus’s ship. Then there’s the Insular Museum for a broader view of the island’s history.

As for culture, look out for local festivals. The Bajada de la Virgen is a must-see, taking place every five years. Traditional Canarian music and dance are always a part of local festivities, giving you a real taste of the culture.

Sites of Interest to a Sailor
It’s a great jumping-off point for sailing around the Canary Islands. The coastal views are spectacular, to say the least. It is a favourite Christmas meeting point for Tall Ships from Europe.

Nightlife here is more laid-back than rowdy. You’ll find a few bars with live music and traditional Canarian fare. If you fancy a dance, there are places for that too, but don’t expect large nightclubs.

Eating Out
You can’t visit Santa Cruz without trying the local cuisine. Fresh seafood is the name of the game here. Whether it’s a cosy tavern or a more upmarket restaurant, the grilled fish is usually a good shout. Also, try “papas arrugadas,” a local potato dish.

This island offers more than just beaches. There’s the Caldera de Taburiente National Park for starters, a must-visit for any nature enthusiast. Lush forests, hiking trails, and the occasional waterfall make this a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities.

Unique Features
Santa Cruz de la Palma is a blend of traditional Canarian architecture, cobblestone streets, and natural beauty that’s second to none. It’s less touristy than other Canary Islands, offering a more authentic experience. Take a walk down Calle Real, the city’s main street, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

In summary, Santa Cruz de la Palma offers something for everyone, whether you’re keen on history, looking to soak up some culture, or eager to get out on the water. It’s a place that doesn’t make you choose between land and sea; you get the best of both worlds.

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

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.

Mindelo, Cape Verde

Mindelo from the sea Free image

How to Get There

Flying is the most direct way to get to Mindelo on São Vicente Island. The island’s own Cesária Évora Airport is your destination if you can find a direct flight from some European cities. If you’re coming from the UK, Europe, North America, or Australia, you’ll probably have a stop in Lisbon or another European city. 

Another travel option is to fly into Sal Island’s Amílcar Cabral International Airport and then take an internal flight to Mindelo. Many European Holiday companies use Sal making very reasonably priced flights. 

Once you’re on the ground, you can easily get into town by taxi or local bus. 

If you’re the adventurous type, consider taking a ferry from another Cape Verdean island.

What to Do in Mindelo


Mindelo offers a glimpse into history with landmarks like the Torre de Belém, a scaled-down replica of the tower in Lisbon. There are also various old colonial buildings that provide a window into the island’s past.


The city is often called the cultural capital of Cape Verde and for good reason. Carnival in February is particularly colourful and lively, filled with music and dance.

Sites of Interest to a Sailor

If you’re into sailing, Mindelo has a deep-water port and marina that have served as a launching pad for tall ships bound for the Caribbean and North America. The port’s history dates back to when Cape Verde was an important coaling station, making it an intriguing place for anyone keen on maritime history. Today’s Marina Mindelo is well-equipped for modern sailors, and you’ll find stunning coastal views as you navigate the local waters.

Santo Antão. 

Well worth a day of your holiday.

This is a ferry from Mindelo to the island of Santo Antão that takes about an hour. 

Walking in Santo Antão is a real treat for nature lovers. The island is a paradise of rugged landscapes, steep cliffs, and lush valleys. The trails wind through terraced fields, past small villages, and into the heart of the island’s tropical forests. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just someone looking to soak up natural beauty, the trekking options here range from gentle walks to challenging hikes. 

The famous Ribeira da Torre and Paúl Valley walks are particularly worth your time. The dramatic scenery changes from arid flatlands to lush green hills, making every step an experience. All in all, it’s a hiker’s dream with views that you’ll remember long after you’ve returned home. 

Been there, done that and would do it again.


Market and Town Hall

The Town Hall has been converted for occasional exhibition space. An exhibition of African tribal artefacts from doors, to helmets, clothing and tools I saw was first class.

There is a large Municipal Market which is a great place to get a flavour of the island.



Mindelo offers a solid nightlife with plenty of bars and clubs, especially if you enjoy live music. Musical styles range from traditional morna to the more upbeat coladeira and funaná.

Eating Out

The local food scene is rich with options. Seafood is plentiful, and you shouldn’t leave without trying Cachupa, a hearty local stew that can include fish, meat, or both.



São Vicente isn’t the lushest of the Cape Verde islands, where you can find spots of natural beauty. Monte Verde offers hiking opportunities, and beaches like Praia da Laginha are perfect for relaxation.

Unique Features

What makes Mindelo special is its combination of cultural richness and maritime history. It’s not just a stopover but a place that offers both modern comforts and a sense of history that adds depth to your visit. Particularly for sailors, the mix of maritime legacy and modern facilities make Mindelo more than just another port—it’s a destination.

Mindelo is a gem of a destination, worth every effort to get there.

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.



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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