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Mull, Fingal’s Cave and then Southwards

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€1245

Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Thu 05-09-2024, 14:00Oban, Scotland Tue 10-09-2024, 11:00Belfast, Northern Ireland Grayhound 5 NightsGR040924

Oban is a perfect gateway to sail North up the Sound of Mull to Tobermory and then around the Northern shores of Mull to Treshnish Isles and Staffa. Alternatively Grayhound could sail from Oban out West to Iona and the abbey or visit Fingals Cave from a different approach. Either way the landscape and mountains of Mull are dramatic and a great place to spot sea eagles. If the weather is right the NW corner of Mull is full of secluded bays and hidden inlets. A perfect place for Grayhound to anchor and explore with her rowing boat.

Southwards from here you have time to get all the sails up, bound for the island of Colonsay or her more mountainous neighbours of Islay and Jura. The Sound of Mull is the classic route, but if there is a chance to explore the wild west side of Islay, who could resist.

(Please note – the end port of this voyage has changed, previously Troon, now Belfast)

  • Voyage
  • Vessel

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Navigate between headlands and islands with a wonderfully varied adventure
  • Great mix of close coastal and channel sailing, along with wide open seas and island hopping
  • Get a taste for the Hebridean summer with its golden evenings
  • Endless options for exploration
  • Learn to sail a three masted lugger
  • Watch out for Minke whales, white tailed eagles, dolphins and sea otters

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 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. 

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

Please note – the end port of this voyage has changed, previously Troon, now Belfast

From Oban, you’ll sail up the Sound of Mull past Duart Castle, perched like an eagle above the Sound. Your first stop will likely be the 19th Century fishing capital, Tobermory. From here, there is plenty to explore along the Northwest coast of Mull. Numerous inlets and secluded bays make for magical sailing and beautiful anchorages. The perfect sailing grounds to get to grips with Grayhound.

Then you’re off, past the Treshnish Isles, on course for the remote island of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. Named after Finn, the 3rd Century Irish hero, this extraordinary cave of basalt columns was rediscovered in 1772 (just four years before the original Grayhound was built). In 1829 the German composer Mendelssohn joined a group of wealthy tourists and visited the cave. Despite being seasick, he was inspired to write his famous overture ‘Fingal’s Cave’. The basalt columns create a beautiful acoustic, and if conditions allow a row ashore you can discover why it’s known as the ‘Singing Cave’.

From Staffa you’ll head South past Colonsay towards Jura. If you’ve never visited before be prepared to fall in love! Jura is a jewel of the sea, and a night at anchor there will hopefully offer the chance to explore ashore and bask in the scenery.

Depending on the wind, you’ll either pass down the Sound of Islay, or sail round Islay to the West. Either way, the goal is to reach Port Ellen for a shore run in the most famous whisky harbour in the world, home to Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

Rounding the 1788 Mull of Kintyre lighthouse marks the start of the Firth of Clyde. On your final day’s sailing you’ll pass the Isle of Arran (‘Scotland in Miniature’) before finally setting ashore in Troon, with its magnificent views.

This is an expedition of the friendliest kind. You will take part in every way, amid camaraderie that is second to none. The hearty food will fuel your exertions and the scenery will feed your soul!

Please Note: This voyage will now disembark in Belfast, Northern Ireland

WINDS, WAVES & WEATHER

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 West Coast of Scotland can get a little punchy, but this is less so in the summer months, and there are lots of nooks and crannies around the islands in which to shelter!

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, if yours is a cargo voyage – building teamwork and communication skills and leaving you with a great sense of achievement.

SAILING STYLE & LIFE ON BOARD

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.

Islyy in Scotland

Start & End Port

Oban, Scotland

For joining your vessel in Oban, the North Pier in the map shown below will be the best place to meet the crew. Your vessel will either be tied up alongside the wall, or out at anchor. Make sure you take a note of the ship’s number found in your confirmation in case of any problems on the day.

Oban: Gateway to the Highlands and Isles

 

Situated on the west coast of Scotland, Oban is a vibrant seaside town known as the “Gateway to the Highlands and Isles.” With its stunning landscapes, rich history, and renowned seafood, Oban offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage that attracts visitors from all over the world.

 

As you arrive in Oban, you’ll be greeted by the town’s iconic landmark, McCaig’s Tower, perched on a hilltop and offering panoramic views of the surrounding islands and mountains. Explore the charming streets lined with colourful buildings, browse the local shops for unique crafts and souvenirs, and indulge in the freshest seafood at one of the many excellent restaurants.

 

Oban is the perfect base for exploring the breathtaking Scottish Highlands. Take a scenic drive along the stunning coastal roads, visit the historic castles such as Dunollie Castle and Dunstaffnage Castle, or embark on a hiking adventure in Glen Coe, one of Scotland’s most dramatic and awe-inspiring glens.

 

Getting to Oban is convenient, with various transportation options available. From Scotland, you can travel by train on the West Highland Line, which offers a picturesque journey from Glasgow to Oban. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the stunning views of lochs, mountains, and charming villages along the way.

 

If you’re coming from southern England, you can reach Oban by car via the A82 and A85 roads. The drive takes you through breathtaking landscapes, including the enchanting Loch Lomond and the majestic Rannoch Moor.

 

For those preferring to fly, the nearest airports to Oban are Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a train to complete your journey to Oban.

 

By selecting sustainable travel options and actively participating in carbon offset initiatives, you can make a positive impact while journeying to your voyage, where an unforgettable adventure awaits you.

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.

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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