Learn to Sail a Lugger
Always Superb Value for Money on a Classic Sailing Holiday
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photo: La Cancallaise flying lug sails, topsails, t'gallants and royals. Grayhound has 3 yards and 3500 sq ft of sail.
How many people in the street know what a sailing lugger is ?
How many yachtsmen know what a lug rig looks like ?
How many traditional boat sailors can explain how to tack a lugger ?
How many Classic Sailing staff know how to sail a lugger ?
Actually none of us yet....but we know a very nice couple who can teach us.
This lack of knowledge about sailing luggers is ridiculous for a maritime nation like Britain. Luggers are such an integral part of our working boat history and have so many links with working craft throughout the world. With Grayhound's help we want to make the term as well recognised as tea clipper, tall ship, or dare we say it....pilot cutter.
In 1997 about the only pilot cutters known to the average classic boat lover was Jolie Brise, and from books Tilman's Mischief and Tom Cunliffe's Hirta. Today there are over 30 restored originals or replica pilot cutters out on the water sailing (see Our Pilot Cutter Directory).
In 2012 we know there are luggers out there, but most are in private ownership, trusts or clubs. This will be the first lugger with a worldwide sailing licence that you can sail on as charter crew.
In 2013 Grayhound will be offering 'Sail a Lugger' taster courses, as well as longer voyages. If you are looking for more advanced skills then the Grayhound crew have years of racing experience to pass on.
We have a few 3-4 day Cornish Voyages on Grayhound in the summer. This is your last chance for a short introduction to lugger sailing. In the Autumn Grayhound will , before she goes off on a year long Atlantic Circuit with some amazing adventures for charter guest crew in Northern Spain, Portugal, Madiera, Canaries, Cape Verde Islands and accross the Atlantic to the Caribbean.
If you really want to learn to sail and get to grips with sailing a lugger like Grayhound then she has a few 7-10 day voyages which combine a decent few days sailing along the Devon, Brittany or Cornish coast and a traditional boat festival. You can use your new found knowledge to watch how other luggers sail, and start to use a whole new language like 'dipping lug' or 'standing lug.'
Marcus has already built a 30ft dipping lugger 'Veracity' back in 2003 and has since sailed her 22 000 miles including an Atlantic circumnavigation. He particularly loves taking part in friendly racing and surprising other sailors by showing the sheer pace of luggers. Marcus, and his purple lugger Veracity, are well known characters at classic boat festivals in Britain, France, and as far afield as Antigua Classics in the Caribbean. Boat builder, welder, sailing instructor, and experienced skipper, Marcus is now ready to take the tiller of this new, larger vessel.
Marcus's partner Freya is a bespoke canvas and sail maker. She is also a passionate cook and boat mum to their young son Malachi. After some years working on traditional sail training vessels she is an Ocean Yachtmaster and has recently completed an Atlantic circumnavigation.
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.'
There are many ways to gain experience, but racing is good for intensive boat handing and great fun.
La Cancalaise and La Granvillaise are stunning historic replicas built with EU money in the early 1990s by the French. They steal the show at every major festival. They are about to get a rival. Whilst there is a revival of interest in luggers in Mounts Bay, Britain does not have any three masted luggers surviving or any replicas currently sailing , despite historic evidence that they were characteristic working craft of Britain.
Grayhound will also be taking on the classic yacht fleet in the Caribbean at St Maarten Classic Yacht Regatta and Antigua Classics if you like to race hard and party hard in the sun.
You can learn sailing and navigation skills on a 34ft yacht in the Solent, but just think how much more exciting it would be to do something a bit more, well Midshipman Hornblower mixed with Jack Sparrow. On Grayhound you can explore the rias of Northern Spain, learn about remote Atlantic islands like Madeira or Cape Verde Archipelago, have a go at Astro navigation, compare lug sails with Caribbean fishermen and get involved (if you wish) in the maintenance that keeps this wooden boat safe and self sufficent.... and learn much more than the seamanship and lugger sailing skills that you are absorbing.
photo by Kathy Mansfield. La Grandvillaise
Grayhound will carry an 18 ft gig boat as a stylish means of getting ashore. Shorter than a pilot gig boat, this traditional ships boat has been designed and built by Grayhound's shipwright Chris Rees - specifically for her charter voyages. Four people can row plus a cox, so wherever you anchor you will be able to mess around in small boats, explore up rivers or impress the locals on the way to the pub.
We are looking for two trainees to join us for 12 months aboard the Grayhound, learning, practising, and finding your confidence as a professional sea farer. Starting in July 2013, you will complete an Atlantic circuit, cover 15 000 sea miles, qualify as a Yachtmaster and become an integral part of a 5 strong crew. Grayhound sails with Skipper, Mate, Cook and two trainees, and as such will function as a hard working tight knit crew.
There is a fee for this year long apprenticeship and a high level of committment required. See our career pages for more details about the Grayhound Training Project.
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"A rare privillege to be able to share a few days another time and world in which I felt totally at ease and safe in...
"Brilliant sail on an interesting boat with friendly and knowledgable people. Best bits - sailing in the sunshine to...
"Enjoyed every minute of it, especially when at the tiller. Worst bit ? "There was nothing I didnt enjoy". Summing u...