Grayhound is not operating Commercially in 2020. Marcus and Freya have sold her to new Swedish owners. We hope to be working with her new owners who have lots of exciting plans. Marcus will still be involved as an occasional guest skipper and is helping them plan a first season in 2021. Watch this space.
In 2012 Grayhound was launched by her proud owners and creators Marcus and Freya Rowden. She was the first three masted lugger to have been built in Britain for 200 years and based on a revenue vessel that became a fast privateer. Grayhound quickly became known as a ground breaking vessel at the forefront of green transport and a sail cargo revolution. She set up regular cargo runs with guest crew helping transport organic wine and beer between Britain and France, as well as adventure voyages.
- Length overall: 108 ft
- Length on deck: 64 ft
- Year built: 2012
- Vessel type/rig: Three masted lugger
- Guest berths: 8-10
- Crew berths: 6
Our Expert View: What Grayhound Does Best
Ocean Sailing & Island Adventures
Before her fame in carrying cargoes under sail, Grayhound was built to go ocean sailing. Her first season in 2013-14 boldly took charter guests around a classic Atlantic Circuit. This summer 2019 Grayhound is spending part of her summer season on a mini Atlantic Circuit, taking in Northern Spain, Portugal, Madeira and the Azores. The Grayhound crew manages to mix ocean sailing with island hopping for the best of both worlds. These ocean style voyages would suit intrepid sailors who like to explore, trek in the mountains and live a simpler life for a week or two.
A Mission to Carry Cargoes Under Sail
If you sign up to be crew on a 'Sail Cargo' voyage then the main aim is to deliver a cargo of organic wine or ale under sail between France and the UK, without resorting to fossil fuels. Each bottle carries a Grayhound label with a code number, which enables the purchaser to view the route their wine took, with statistics on how much was achieved under sail, and how much carbon was saved.
Grayhound's Cargo voyages are longer than the typical time needed to sail the route. There are two reasons for this: Firstly Grayhound aims to sail the whole route without resorting to her engine. She frequently makes a fast passage across the Channel, but if the winds are light then the crew will make best use of every wind shift and it may take days rather than hours. The crew pride is in enjoying every sunset and sunrise, reveling in the sail changes making it without fossil fuels. If you just happen to anchor is a beautiful bay to wait for the tidal stream to turn, then an opportunistic swim off the boat is a bonus. The second reason for giving a cargo voyage plenty of time to reach the final destination is to allow opportunities to pop into a small port on route to hand deliver a specific cargo order or pick up goods. It's legitimate trading, a great opportunity to create a sailing spectacle, and part of a growing movement towards green transport.
On board your 18th Century Privateer the experience feels quite smuggler like in spirit and connects you with the local community. Often the whole village turns out to help you unload the cargo (small boxes). Grayhound does have an engine, but she also has a lean, fast hull shape and 3500 square feet of sail to take full advantage of mother nature. Beginners and sailing enthusiasts alike can immerse themselves in 'hands on' sailing skills, whether it be ghosting along with the tide in the moonlight, or blasting along with topsails and t'gallants set.
Healthy Family Holidays and Day Sails for Your Inner Pirate
Grayhound also offers family friendly sailing holidays without any set itinerary in the Isles of Scilly. he building of Grayhound was part of the vision of Marcus and Freya. Both ocean sailors, they wanted to share their love of places like the Azores and the Caribbean with charter guests and their young son Malachi. They created a wooden live-a-board vessel large enough to be their family home, business and eye catching flagship. Grayhound completed an Trans Atlantic Circuit in her first commercial season, but now her 'Robinson Crusoe' style charter holidays are based closer to home. Malachi was 2 when he crossed the Atlantic and is now 7 years old (2018), so Marcus and Freya are not phased by having any age of child on board these voyages or day sails.
Grayhound can also be seen with cannons blasting at festivals or day sails in West Country and French Ports. Below decks would charm any young child, and fit two families in two large living spaces, or a mix of groups and individuals. Blackberry picking, foraging for mussels, beach BBQ's and 'decompressing' from modern life are part of a Grayhound non cargo voyage. The lugger has two rowing gigs as ships boats so even going ashore is low carbon footprint.
Sailing Retreats - Creating Chill-Time for Adults
We cant think of a more perfect boat to create Sailing Retreats in Galicia. Bringing together everything that is pleasurable about living on board a wooden sailing ship, based on coastline famed for seafood, tapas, beautiful beaches and pine covered islands. Grayhound is introducing some June voyages outside school holidays that they are calling sailing retreats. Not that far removed from her beach combing Scillies voyages but this time aiming for maximum chill time for adults. Indulge in a bit of yoga on the beach, read books on deck, swim in the sea and hoist sails when it is time to move on. Marcus and Freya count this part of Spain and the nature reserve islands just offshore as one of their favourite places and certainly where they like to go to recharge their batteries. Join them and make these voyages legendary.
Inspires you to Tread Lightly on the Planet
Marcus and Freya care deeply about the world and its dwindling resources. Instead of ranting, they have found a practical and uplifting way to make a difference, and inspire the crews that sail with them.
A holiday should refresh you and fill you with energy and enthusiasm for the future. Classic Sailing believe the Grayhound crew and this incredible three masted lugger will be that tonic, refresh the way you think, and possibly change the way you live your life. You don't have to sign up for 6 months on a Greenpeace ship to meet eco-warriors. The Sail Cargo movement is a growing fleet, with great opportunities for GAP year students or career break professionals to meet passionate supporters around the world.
If you doubt us, read the customer comments from her cargo and holiday voyages.
What to Expect on Grayhound
Grayhound has a huge bowsprit and outrigger so her total sparred length is 108 feet. Her 3500 square foot of sail can drive her fast hull at speeds up to 14 knots. The main and foremast carry large lug sails and above topsails and t’gallants can be hoisted. Unlike a square rigger this lugger is no slouch to windward. She is a thrill to race and frequently steals the show at festivals from Looe to Antigua.
The beauty of this lug rig is its versatility. There are no booms at deck level. Her lug sails can be reefed. Her sail balance allows her to sail without a jib on the bowsprit. Grayhound has high bulwarks (ships sides) and the deck has room for two ships boats and still loads of space to stride about or tuck into a sheltered spot. Some seasons she carries a barrel of rum on deck to 'age'.
Grayhound Crew love to Teach Novice Sailors
There is a good staff to guest crew ratio on Grayhound so you will get plenty of individual attention. As an introduction to sailing she would be great choice for complete beginners. There are plenty of day sails in the West Country and there is nothing to stop an adventurous family, or mum and daughter, grandfather and grandson combinations coming on a charter voyage with no sailing experience. Cargo voyages are offshore, so you need to be up for a bit of bouncing around and living life on the angle, but beginners are welcome on these too...and the sense of achievement is great.
There is a spacious pilot house with big windows so you can dip out of the rough weather or sun and not miss the scenery. On cargo voyages the saloon area becomes the cargo hold, so after the first night, meals are generally taken on deck or in the light and airy pilot house.
The sails are no heavier to hoist than our other gaffers but hoisting the topsail and t’gallant yards requires well co-ordinated teamwork. Grayhound has a big tiller but small block and tackles on each side make it easy to steer whilst standing a couple of feet from the tiller. This enables the helm to look down the deck and check the sail trim or get a better view ahead.
The deck has room for two ships boats and still loads of space to stride about or tuck into a sheltered spot.
Life on Board
Marcus is the skipper and his wife and business partner Freya is a qualified skipper too, Freya is responsible for creating Grayhound's reputation for beautifully presented healthy meals, frequently using fair trade and local produce. In the beginning Freya was on board on all the voyages as mate, cook and to look after their young son Malachi. Now Freya is ashore more during term time, running the cargo and charter business whilst Malachi is at school. Everyone's favourite chef is back on Grayhound with Malachi in the summer holidays, but in between times the colourful and wholesome cooking tradition continues on Grayhound, with well trained deckhands and Marcus working the magic with Freya's meal plans and menus.
Over the last few years Grayhound has introduced a professional crew training scheme which always insures they have a mix of experienced watch leaders who have already spent a year on Grayhound and carefully selected trainee deckhands who are committed to the two year training scheme. With a career progression and qualifications to earn on a unique vessel that is pioneering regular cargo runs, these crew posts are popular. Even the trainees often come with significant sailing experience already. With Marcus and Freya carefully selecting their ships crew you will find well rounded young people that are comfortable and fun working with young children and patient instructors with novice and experienced sailors. See our skippers and crew section (tab above) to find out about the latest recruits.
On anything longer than a short coastal hop, guest and professional crews will be organised into watches, so everyone has a chance to be 'on duty' sailing the ship or relaxing or sleeping off watch. Scillies trips often involve a long day and/ or night sailing to catch tides. Once in the Scillies it is only sailing in short hops for part of a day and anchoring at night.
The Difference between Cargo Runs and Holiday Voyages
Cargo carrying voyages are still a sailing holiday, but the emphasis is more on active and adventurous voyage crew who take part in all aspects of the sailing and delivering of cargo under sail. It is particularly popular with young professionals from a wide range of careers who want an active holiday, doing something worthwhile. Its also a great way of touching base with other people who care about the planet. The central cabin becomes the cargo hold with boxes filling in the floor up to table level. The crew always try to have a full crew meal around this lovely wooden table of contorted oak before the cargo is taken on board (and a celebratory meal after the cargo has been unloaded, but during the delivery run, meals are taken in the light and sunny pilot house or on deck. The pilot house has enough seating for everybody ...and you can still see the view.. For meals at anchor there is a table that can be hung down the centre of the doghouse.
On cargo voyages Grayhound only takes 8 guest crew as there is less room below. Charter voyages take up to 10 guest crew and day sails can take 12.
The English Channel is 95 miles wide in the far West so on cargo voyages there will be night sailing and you will be in a continuous watch rota system (two or three groups of guest crew with a professional watch leader). Typical of most sail training vessels that sail through the day and night, there will be involvement in the navigation and log keeping, rotas to share the food preparation, cooking and tasks like deck washing to helping keep everything ship shape. Any involvement in the cooking on cargo voyages is fully supervised and to a menu plan. You wont be on your own so don't panic. It will come out delicious.
These voyages are an amazing experience and are deliberately a little bit cheaper than the usual seven day holiday voyages, with the intention of attracting the next generation of young sailors to get energetically involved the green transport movement.
These are great voyages for anyone who loves to be involved in every aspect of life on board a working sailing ship. The route between the West Country and Douarnenez is a lot more than a Channel Crossing. There is the North Western corner of Brittany to navigate with shipping lanes, strong tides and an inshore route down through the reefs and islands of the Chanel de Four. From the Rade Du Brest to Douarnenez Bay there are many anchorages and the famous gap to sail through at the Tais du Pois if conditions are suitable. Sail handling, trimming, hoisting, lowering, steering and laying anchor/coming alongside will all keep you busy. A small but significant part of the physical effort is the loading and unloading of cargo....but it feels more of a triumph and celebration than a chore.
A wine tasting and a visit to the Douarnenez Maritime Museum is also included in the price of a cargo voyage.
All meals and snacks are included, as well as all waterproof clothing, safety equipment and bed linen.
Ask Us About the Ship
All of us at Classic Sailing Office watched her being built, and helped with the launch event. Adam and Debbie sailed on her maiden charter voyage, Melissa helped crew her from Canaries to Cape Verde. Adam joined Marcus and Freya as crew on the first Trans Atlantic Crossing from Cape Verde to Barbados. Debbie and Becky have sailed as crew on recent cargo voyages.
call us on 01872 580022
Accommodation on Grayhound
The interior of Grayhound is like a home that expects to have guests. Not cluttered, but relaxed and welcoming. It has featured in Coast Magazine so that is a good hint that the interior is a bit special. The internal spaces are very well thought out, with a great deal of flexibility to accommodate all sorts of guest crew mixes, family life and a professional crew.
"Below decks is a work of art in wood and reminds me of a fantasy tree house with curved wooden steps and giant sizes bunks." Debbie's first impressions
The Grayhound usually accommodates up to 10 people on a holiday voyage, 8 persons on a cargo run and up to twelve people for a day sail. If the Grayhound is hosting an event alongside she can take many more people on board. Bunks are dormitory style with a shower and two toilets. There is a communal eating area down below with a wide opening hatch so we can star gaze while eating. In hot climates we will be eating alfresco. We have a pilot house at deck level which is a chill out area and where the crew navigate. Grayhound provides bed linen and heavy wet weather and safety gear. The ship has a solar powered ventilation system to keep the cabins fresh and airy in tropical climates, or when the hatches are shut for rough seas.
The Pilot House
Not on deck and not quite below, the deck-house on Grayhound is huge and serves many purposes. The main route to down below, but also a chart-room for navigating, day time shelter with huge windows, somewhere to change and find your night vision before a night watch, and most importantly a sociable gathering spot for meals or a drink before supper. If you carry on down through the pilot house there a few steps down into the galley.
The Galley & Food
The galley is the heart of the ship and Freya loves it. Despite being the most qualified sailor on the ship, Ocean Yachtmaster Freya, loves cooking and has many years experience as a cook on charter boats. Meals are a highlight of the voyage, and a surprising amount of people gravitate towards the galley during the day to see what is cooking....If Freya is not on board the tradition of food foraging, fresh produce and great salads and wholesome meals continues with Freya's menu plan suggestions and recipes.
Why Grayhound is Great for Families
We think Grayhound would be one of the best vessels in our fleet for family holidays and Marcus and Freya are keen to encourage adventurous families. The ship's accommodation is designed with flexibility in mind and there are two separate living areas which could take family groups of 4-5 members.
The forward area has a shower cubicle and WC and beautifully carved wooden steps to deck via the forehatch, or you can exit via a door into the main saloon and out to the deck via the pilot house steps. The saloon area is between two watertight bulkheads and stretches the full 19 feet width of the ship. There is another WC and washbasin as you exit the saloon into the galley. Two families could sail together with a living space each, or one family could have the privacy of their own sleeping and living area whilst sailing with 4-5 individuals in the other space.
The saloon has a bunk which can be a double bed, and the single berths have loads of space and a wooden edge to each bunk plus 'lee cloths' to stop the occupants falling out !
There is a lot of clambering and climbing to do on grayhound with wooden stairs and steps everywhere.
Safety for Families
The open deck is all one level and has high wooden walls around the whole deck so it feels a lot more secure than a small yacht. The lug sails are 6ft above the deck and there is no boom to sweep the deck. Like on any of our traditional boats and tall ships, when sails are being set or lowered (handed) the heavy spars are potentially dangerous, so all sail handling will be carefully supervised. Likewise there maybe be a lot of small boat trips to get ashore from Grayhound, which are great fun but everyone needs to take great care getting in or out of small boats. There will be lifejackets for a range of ages.
As parents you have your own responsibilities so you need to give some thought to how your family will adapt to the environment and other adults.
Food foraging and beach BBQ are part of the Grayhound experience in the summer.
Coast Magazine - All in the Same Boat
Grayhound interior featured in a great article in Coast Magazine. As this magazine tends to focus on boutique hotels, seaside art and design and alternative lifestyles, we are chuffed they decided to take a peek into Marcus and Freya wooden home.....a home they regularly share with 9 guests.
Grayhound - Ship Specification
|Three masted lug rig. Sail area||3500 sq ft|
|Length on deck||63ft 6”||19.4m|
|Beam||19 ft 5”||6m|
|Draught||10 ft ’9”||3.3m|
|Guest crew (more for day sails)||8-10|
Commercial Charter Safety Coding
Grayhound has an ocean going stability rating, and whilst she is on ocean passages and extended trips she carries equipment and is coded for worldwide charter. In Europe coastal and offshore waters she is safety coded and equipped to Cat 2 operating area (60 miles from a safe haven), which is the same as the majority of our British Fleet.
Grayhound - Skippers & Crew
The Sailing Crew on Grayhound
The regular professional crew on Grayhound are Skipper Marcus, and usually Freya as cook if her son Malachi is on board (Freya is also a fully qualified skipper and a RYA Ocean Yachtmaster). Now Malachi is older he goes to school in Brittany and is only on board in the school holidays. (he has already done an Atlantic Circuit aged 3), If Freya is ashore with Malachi managing the sail cargo business, Marcus, guest cook and the deckhands keep up the standards of fresh plentiful food. Grayhound has a crew training programme that employs staff for a minimum of two years. The deckhand combination it creates is usually an experienced deckhand who has spent a season on Grayhound already and come back as a watch leader, and two trainee deckhands in their first year on Grayhound. All are working towards qualifications.
The other important part of the crew is YOU - Grayhound has berths for up to 10 guest crew and full training will be given. No experience is needed but if you are an experienced sailor and want to learn more about lugger sailing, ocean passage making or traditional seamanship and maintainence then you couldn't come to a better place.
Visionaries Behind the Project
Marcus and Freya Rowden are the visionaries behind the project, and Classic Sailing team are extremely proud to have the chance to promote their incredibly bold project to build and sail a replica of the 1776 three masted Cornish Lugger "Grayhound."
Grayhound is also now their home and they chose to bring up their young son Malachi on this amazing wooden sailing ship as they explore the planet with you. Malachi was born (2011) during the build project and the noise of power tools, strangers walking through his 'living room' and rides on fork lift trucks instead of people carriers seems quite normal to him.
The interior of Grayhound has been designed to be a flexible as possible for individual charter guests or one or two families, plus Marcus, Freya and Malachi have their own seperate accommodation. The rest of the crew have been very carefully selected to ensure they can cope with the mix of young children, charter guests and teaching novice crews to sail one of the most exciting sailing rigs in Europe. They also have wide interests are excited about taking guests on expeditions ashore if Marcus or Freja are unable to join the shore party.
Skipper Marcus Pomeroy-Rowden
Marcus grew up on the River Dart and has been sailing and surfing all his life. Marcus has been a yacht delivery skipper for many years, a marine engineer and boat builder. He has built and sailed his smaller dipping lugger single handed across the Atlantic. If you visited the build project back in the early days, it was hard not to be impressed how Marcus and Freya managed to build a great team of professionals around them. They managed to draw in boatbuilders, apprentices, volunteers and sponsors .....and some how control it all, and launch the first 3 masted lugger built in the UK for over 200 years. A RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Marcus has thousands of ocean miles under his belt, but equally loves his home waters of the West Country and Brittany. Marcus and Freya are a rare breed amongst skippers now in that they regularly use sextants and are happy to teach astro navigation to the curious novice or a would be RYA Ocean Yachtmaster who needs some practical training at sea.
“We felt absolute safety with you in charge, no mean feat with us rabble aboard, you seemed completely relaxed with oldies and youngsters alike, introducing us to the basic skills of sailing Grayhound (2-6 heave!), the canons, the gig rowing, the night sail, Scavenger Diving Service and the beautiful beaches and islands of the Scillies. Not to mention your endless enthusiasm for another sailing tale (or interesting tale on any subject) and tolerance in answering the never ending stream of questions from us and watching us do it wrong…. again, whilst clearly simply having huge fun sailing your boat. It was a joy to share your passion for your ‘home’ and the sea.”
We view Freya as the 'anchor' in this venture. She is the determined calm in the storm...
Freya is a RYA Ocean Yachtmaster and has now sailed around the North Atlantic twice on her own yacht and Grayhound. Before ocean sailing she worked in the sail training industry as mate and cook on Brixham trawlers Leader & Provident. This big historic sailing ships take upto 12 guest crew - both adults, school groups, disabled and disavantaged young people, so Freya is well used to managing a small team of deckhands and instructing novice crews to hoist large sails with big wooden spars.
Her role has changed more than Marcus since Grayhound was launched. When Malachi was young enough to be on board all season Freya relinquished the mate role to be the most nautically qualified cook in the traditional boat world, and keep an eye on Malachi. Freya is stiil the cook on board on many of the summer trips and she is passionate about seasonal and local food and making the boat feel like home.
Today she has a pivotal business role ashore in Douarnenez whilst Malachi is at school learning Breton and other things French:-Promoting Grayhound's main mission to deliver cargoes under sail, find new small businesses for the ethical and organic produce, keeping in touch with past sailing guests and a whole host of other business responsibilities for Grayhound Lugger Sailing. If you don't sail with her on a cargo trip you will probably meet Freya on the wharf in Douarnenez.
Freya is also very interested in attempting to run a business that treads as lightly on the earth's resources as possible, especially reducing single use plastic. Her strong environmental ethos and catering flair shines through on the boat, even when Freya is not on board, through well trained deckhands who share the Grayhound Ethos.
Watch Leader - Jasper
Jasper is back for another season in 2018
Jasper is working towards doing his Yacht master this autumn. He was deck hand on Grayhound last year and now will be watch leading throughout the summer. He is a photographer and lives in Cornwall when he is not working at sea. Jasper grew up in the Caribbean on a boat and has sailed all his life as well as crossing the atlantic at an early age.
Xeva - Deckhand
Newest recruits, but not new to sailing, are Pierre and Xeva. They are both from France.....which could be handy.
Xeva is currently studying her basic training at the maritime school in Enkhuizen, the Netherlands. She will combine her shorebased studies with the summers working on Grayhound as deck hand. She also was crew with the travelling theatre flotilla Festina Lente, who sail around Europe providing pop up circus, music and art festivals .
Pierre - Watch Leader
Pierre was crew on the sail cargo ship Lun 2 which is also based in Douarnenez. He sailed with them from Mexico to France in 2016 delivering rum and coffee. He recently has been working in Norway crewing on Whale watching voyages. Before starting a career in sailing he studied law. Pierre will be a watch leader.