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Grayhound - Three masted lugger & privateer

ocean blue on GrayhoundThree Masted Lugger Grayhound

Come sailing on the first three masted lugger to be built in Britain for 200 years. The building of Grayhound was a bold project and thousands of people followed the 2 years of Herculean effort that created an ocean going lugger in a Cornish boatshed. The aim was to create a unique wooden vessel that could be family home, training ship and exciting charter vessel. With a design inspired by a Cornish privateer from 1776, the wooden replica Grayhound was launched in August 2012 in front of a huge crowd. She is now up and running with her first charter guests, and completed an Atlantic circuit over 2013 and 2014.

At 108ft total sparred length and a very distinctive sail plan, it won’t be long before all the ports in the West Country and France can recognise this strikingly different wooden ship. 

Grayhound Vessel Brochure - Share this with your friends

The Proving of Grayhound Sailing Across the Atlantic to the Caribbean Part 1 and Part 2

Trade Wind Circuit and Ocean Cruising

Grayhound completed her first Atlantic Ocean circuit this summer, which was phenomenonly successful. She competed in Antigua Classics and gave hundreds of sailors a wonderful voyage of a lifetime. In 2015 she will be offering a mix of 7 night voyages based primarily in and around Devon and Cornwall. There are two 7 day voyages from which to choose, and a daysail.

Voyages from Dartmouth will concentrate on coastal hopping along the Devon and Cornish coastline, with the ever present opportunity to hop across the channel.

Voyages from Falmouth will primarily aim to reach the Isles of Scilly and island hop amongst the granite isles. If this is not possible, due to the weather, then she will cruise in Cornish waters, or hop across to Brittany. 

Finally, there are 2 day sails from Dartmouth, aimed at those who are not quite sure if sailing, or lugger sailing is for them. These taster voyages are a great introduction, and make for excellent gifts.

If you have always hankered after that dream to sell up and sail, then we can bring you the feel of ocean wandering and island hopping on a wooden boat, without having to sell your house or give up the day job. With only 8 guest crew, 4 professional crew and young Malachi this is a totally different ship board community and vibe to a large tall ship. A truly shared experience.

Grayhound Sailing Programme - voyage descriptions, dates & prices

The Vision - Marcus, Freya and Malachi

Marcus Rowdefamily run business Malachi, Freya and Marcusn and Freya Hart 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." They are looking forward to showing you their favourite sailing destinations and they are keen on exploring ashore with you too.

Read more about Marcus, Freya and the youngest sailor on board - Malachi and why they want you to join them exploring the planet aboard their home of wooden walls.


“Traditional seafaring reveals people to themselves in a way today’s technically orientated sailing never can. Grayhound seems to me the epitome of looking life full in the face. She represents an enterprise of shocking boldness. The nation should be proud of young people with a vision on this scale and the fortitude to see it through.”  Tom Cunliffe

Sailing a Lugger - What to Expect

GrayhGrayhound Sailing Lugger for ocean passages and island hoppingound has a huge bowsprit and outrigger so her total sparred length is 108ft. 3500 square foot of sail can drive her fast hull at speeds over 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 will be a thrill to race at festivals from Looe to Antigua, but 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. Her topmasts can be brought down for ocean crossings.

The deck has room for two ships boats and still loads of space to stride about or tuck into a sheltered spot. There is a spacious ’doghouse’ with big windows so you can dip out of the rough weather or tropical sun and not miss the scenery. The sails are no heavier to hoist than our other gaffers but hoisting the topsail and t’gallant yards requires well co-ordinated teamwork.

The has a big tiller but small block and tackles on each side of the tiller make it easy to steer whilst standing a couple of feet from the tiller, so you can look down the deck and check the sail trim or get a better view ahead.

Working Language is English

This was a one day trip that was a fantastic experience. My previous sailing has been in yachts and it was awesome to sail with wood and canvas. A truely fantastic and privileged experience to sail as they did 200 years and more ago."

Dartmouth day sailor Stephen June 2013

Virgin Lugger Sailors - Read Adam and Debbies blog about their first trip on Grayhound Lugger.

Ideal for Families and Solo Travellers

We think Grayhound would be one of the best vessels in our fleet for family holidays. Her accommodation is designed with flexibility in mind and there are two seperate cabins which could take family groups of 4-5 members.  Two families could sail together with a cabin each, or one family could have the privacy of their own cabin whilst sailing with 4-5 individuals in the other cabin. Without a family on board she can take 8 individuals in two cabins.

On all overnight Grayhound voyages there will be 2 berths available for 5 - 15 year olds at a reduced price. There is also the possibility for 2 under 5's to share with a parent, in extra large bunks, for no extra fee.

Why Sail or Build a Lugger ?

As a sailing rig it is beautiful, efficient, fast, simple and it works.  It was the choice rig of both the revenue and smuggling vessels of the 18th Century. Yachtsman Pete Goss proved a 37ft lugger could still hold its head high in the modern sailing world by sailing 'Spirit of Mystery' from Newlyn to Australia in 2008. The shipwright for 'Spirit of Mystery' was Chris Rees and he is now the chief shipwright for the much larger lugger 'Grayhound.'

The lugsail is an evolved version of the classical square sail. As you can see in the photo opposite of the French Lugger, the sails have a tiered appearance, a stunning spectacle in any port. In both rigs, the upper side of the sail is attached to a spar, the yard .The great advantage of the Lug rig is that when the sails are up there are no spars at deck level, just sail cloth. The lugsail was the earliest of the fore and aft rigs. There are different types of Lug Rig. The Grayhound will use the standing lug, in which the yard remains on one side of the mast and the tack is set close to the mast. On long tacks we will use the dipping lug on the fore mast.


History of Grayhound 1776 - Revenue Cutter & Privateer

The lugger Grayhound was built by the celebrated builder of fast coastal craft - John Parkin.  He build cutters and luggers for both the revenue authorities and for the smugglers. It seems likely that the original Grayhound was built in Cawsand in Cornwall.  She seems to have been built to the order of John Knill, Collector of Customs in St Ives. He hired her to act as an anti smuggling customs vessel.

Her terms of duty as a revenue cruiser was quite short due to the Declaration of Independance by our North American colonists. The ensuing war with America and France, gave attractive opportunities for privateers.  John Krill bought the vessel out of customs service and had her fitted out as a privateer. In 1778 she recieved her letters of marque allowing her to take enemy ships as prizes for profit.

She carried 14 carrige guns, 3 pounders and 8 swivel guns.  Under the command of Richard John she was manned by a crew of 47 !

Read more about the history of the original Grayhound

The Big Build

Grayhound was built in a village boat yard in an obscure Cornish Creek, yet people of all ages and nationalities were drawn magnetically to the project. Almost everyone that came down for a look was bowled over by the ship and the frenetic pace of the building. The BBC and radio prgrammes came down to cover the family angle of a young couple bringing up a baby amongst the powertools, apprentice shipwrights and sawdusponsor a trenailst.

Over 68 000 have watched the time lapse movie of Grayhound being built on You Tube.

2000 of the 4000 wooden trenails made to build the ship were sponsored by members of the public. These wooden 'nails' will outlast any metal fastening, but they all have to be made by hand.  Thank you to everybody who sponsored a trenail for £5 with a message on your nail. The personal messages have now been built into the ship from as far afield as the Falklands and South Georgia.

Read about the building of Grayhound.  Grayhound Build Project

The Laungrayhound launch garlandch of Grayhound

Grayhound was launched on 'Super Saturday' 4th August 2012, on the day that Britain won 6 gold medals.

About 2000 people ignored the Olympics and came to Grayhound's launch. The day was filled with sunshine, drama, sword fighting, singing and friendship. If you missed the UK wooden boat building event of the summer, then read Debbie's account of the Grayhound Launch Party and see the photos. 

The Big Launch Party and photos

Ship Specification

  • Three masted lug rig sailing vessel
  • length on deck will be 63’6”
  • length overall 108 ‘
  • Beam 19’5”
  • Draught 10’9”
  • 56 tonnes
  • SQ feet canvas 3500
  • Crew 5
  • Engine Beta 90 HP

The Crew

On board there will be Marcus , Freya and Malachi and three crew. Marcus 43, 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. Freya , 29 is the cook on board. She is an Ocean Yacht Master and has sailed on her own boat around the Atlantic. She is also into her art and makes canvas bags as well as maintaining the sails. She has worked in youth sail training on the South Coast.


The Grayhound will be able to accommodate up to eight people on a voyage and up to twelve people for a day sail. If we are hosting an event alongside we can take many more people on board. Bunks are dormitory style with a shower and toilet. There is a communal eating aGrayhounds sunny doghouse with Quba sponsored seatingrea 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 deck house which is a chill out area and where the crew navigate.  We will provide bed linen and heavy wet weather and safety gear. Being a new build, Grayhound has that amazing brand new feel to her. She smells of dry wood and pine forests.  The ship will have a solar powered ventilation system to keep the cabins fresh and airy in tropical climates, or when the hatches are shut for rough seas.

photo: Grayhound's sunny doghouse can seat the whole crew.




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