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Sail to Sunnier Climes this Winter!

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Single Berth Per Person



Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Tue 03-12-2024, 14:00Portimão, Portugal Mon 16-12-2024, 11:00Las Palmas, Gran Canaria Grayhound 13 NightsGR031224

Join Grayhound on a thrilling sailing adventure from Portimão to Las Palmas. This journey promises hands-on sailing experience, breathtaking scenery, and a unique way to spend your Christmas. You’ll learn the art of traditional sailing, encounter diverse wildlife, and explore captivating ports along the way.

This voyage is perfect for those seeking a winter getaway, ideal for adventurers interested in a long-distance sea crossing and island hopping. It’s perfect for anyone looking to escape the winter blues or celebrate the star of the festive season in a unique, sunlit setting. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a newcomer eager to learn the ropes, the diverse experiences from navigation to night watches will enrich your journey.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel


  • Long distance sea crossing!
  • 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


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 


Departing from Portimão

Portimão, a jewel of the Algarve, awaits with its sun-kissed beaches and bustling marina before you set sail. Arrive early to explore the charming old town where narrow streets lead to the lively riverfront, adorned with cafes and seafood restaurants. Consider a visit to the medieval Fort of Santa Catarina for panoramic views of the Atlantic, or enjoy a round of golf at one of the local championship courses.

When you’re ready to join the ship, Grayhound’s friendly international crew will welcome you aboard and help you get settled in. As you leave the harbour, the open sea beckons!

Along the Way

As Grayhound glides through the Atlantic, you’ll be treated to a ballet of marine life; dolphins might race the bow wave, while further off, whales could be seen breaching. The route includes passing the stunning Islas Desertas and possibly the remote Las Salvengas. These areas are rich in biodiversity, hosting everything from monk seals to exotic seabirds. The stargazing opportunities are splendid here, with clear skies offering a brilliant display of constellations.


Arriving in Las Palmas

In Las Palmas, take a day to wander the cobbled streets of Vegueta, the historic district where Christopher Columbus once walked. Don’t miss the Casa de Colón, a museum detailing the island’s history and its ties to the Americas. For a refreshing end to your journey, the city’s beaches, such as Playa de las Canteras, offer golden sands and clear waters, perfect for a relaxing swim.

Grayhound with Classic Sailing


December voyages generally enjoy milder temperatures and steadier winds, ideal for sailing. However, the Atlantic can be unpredictable, so expect some brisk breezes and possibly rough seas, particularly as you approach the Canaries. Evenings can be cool, so packing layers is advised for comfort during night watches.


Late October, weather in this region is generally mild, with average temperatures ranging from 15-23°C. Sea conditions are typically calm, but like any maritime adventure, be prepared for varying conditions. Winds are mostly favourable, making it a prime time for sailing enthusiasts to enjoy smooth sailing and occasional brisk breezes.


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.

Start & End Port

Portimão, Portugal

Portimão, Portugal

Worthwhile Journeys

You are going to be spending some time in the ports you embark and disembark from. These aren’t just logistical points; they’re opportunities for further enrichment. Take an extra day to discover what’s beyond the harbour. It’s not merely about filling time; it’s about making the entire journey worthwhile.

What to Do in Portimão

History Portimão has a storied past that dates back to the Roman era. The town is a medley of influences, and its history can be traced at the local museum, Museu de Portimão. Located in a restored cannery, the museum explores the history of the town, its fishing heritage, and its Roman past.

Culture The Algarve region, of which Portimão is a part, is known for its Fado music and local festivals like the Festival da Sardinha. While you’re ashore, take the opportunity to absorb the melodies and customs that make this place unique.

Sites of Interest to a Sailor For the sailor in you, Portimão doesn’t disappoint. Navigate around the coastline to view the impressive cliffs and caves, especially around the nearby Alvor estuary. While lighthouses might not guide you in as they once did, the Alfanzina Lighthouse still offers a vantage point worth a visit.

Entertainment Portimão’s nightlife has something for everyone—whether it’s the tranquil jazz bars or more lively spots where local DJs are at the helm, spinning some tunes. There’s a vibrant scene for both music and dance.

Eating Out For a culinary adventure, make your way to the older parts of town to find traditional Portuguese eateries. Seafood is, naturally, the catch of the day here. Don’t miss out on trying a Cataplana, a seafood dish that’s as fun to eat as it is to say.

Nature Beaches like Praia da Rocha offer more than just a chance to lay in the sun. Kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkelling are just a few of the activities you can engage in to appreciate the natural surroundings.

Unique Features What sets Portimão apart is its blend of traditional charm and modern amenities. There’s a certain authenticity here, thanks in part to its fishing heritage and the genuine warmth of its people.

Accommodation For lodgings, consider the Bela Vista Hotel & Spa for a more upscale experience or the Alvor Baia Resort Hotel for a family-friendly stay.

Official Tourist Website For more information, visit the Portimão tourist office website at Turismo de Portimão.

Weather in Portimão Winter is mild, Spring brings blooms and moderate warmth, Summer is hot and perfect for beachgoers, and Autumn is pleasantly cool—ideal for those who prefer to avoid the scorching sun.

Sea and Beyond: A Responsible Mariner’s Guide Since you’re already investing in a unique sailing adventure, why not extend that spirit to your travel choices? Opt for more sustainable methods of transport where possible like trains, coaches, or sharing a car. If you fly, and we realise this may well be the case, you could research some ways to offset the carbon created by the flight.

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.

How to Get There

From the UK Fly directly into Faro Airport and then take a coach or train to Portimão.

From Europe Several flights go to Faro from major European cities. You can then opt for a local train or bus to Portimão.

From North America Flights usually connect through Lisbon or another European hub. From Lisbon, there are direct trains and buses.

From Australia The journey may involve multiple layovers, commonly in Asian and European cities. Upon reaching Portugal, domestic travel options like trains and buses are available to Portimão.

Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

All joining locations should be used as a guide only. Detailed joining locations will be sent to you prior to your voyage start date, if in doubt call the ship’s phone using the information in your final confirmation email.

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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