Set sail with Grayhound on the first Leg of her Atlantic crossing from Portugal to the Canary Islands via Madeira.
An adventure sailing holiday across an ocean is certainly one that leaves life-long memories. Using the northeasterly trade winds above the equator to fill the sails with thousands of miles to cover, this sailing adventure is not for the faint hearted but perfect for the avid adventurer!
Leaving from Portimão to La Palma in the Canary islands with traditional lugger Grayhound, there will be some 700 nautical miles to cross as you leave land in the distant horizon. The voyage has 12 days to cross the open ocean and there are buffer days included in this to make best use of the wind.
- Full Crew included
- Hands-on sailing
- Bucket list experience
- All-inclusive meals
- OPEN ocean SAILING
- Star gazing
- Visit Madeira
Your Sailing Area
Ocean passages can bring conditions fit for only the boldest adventurers seeking the ultimate challenge. This hands-on sailing adventure is perfect for those wanting to experience life on a traditionally rigged tall ship and tuck some sea miles under their belt. The soft, steady up and down of the ship’s hull in the waves, the expanse of the sea, and the gentle creaking of the rigging are the perfect ingredients for a relaxing and at the same time, adventurous holiday experience. We recommend some previous experience of time on the water and some time spent on a boat. Whether that’s a taster sailing weekend, dinghy sailing club or weekends on your grandparents boat, once we have left port, there is no turning back!
Cast off from Portimão in Portugal mid-December and arrive into Santa Cruz on the island of Las palmas in the Canary Islands. If the winds allow, visit Madeira and the island of Porto Santo along the way. We might drop anchor and enjoy a night rest in a calm bay on the south of the island. As we make our way towards the Canary Islands we will try to pass (and maybe even visit) the uninhabited natural reserve of Islas Desertas. It is full of birdlife and has a small colony of Mediterranean monk seals.
After this we will change course and head due south, spending five to six days under the sun and stars before we reach the Canaries. If we arrive with some days to spare, we can explore the varied landscapes of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Tenerife before we head to our final port of Santa Cruz on Las Palmas.
Feel the stress of normal life slip away and be replaced by the immensity of nature and the friendly atmosphere onboard. Our aim is to cross by Celestial Navigation, using only the sun, stars and the sextant (don’t worry, we do have all the modern GPS equipment required of charter vessels!). We will be surrounded by endless ocean for at least two weeks watching the winds fill our sails and the stars and the moon light up the waves.
Grayhound’s experienced crew will teach you everything you need to know as you will sail with and become part of the crew, hoisting sails, taking the helm and getting involved with all aspects of sailing a tall ship. Grayhound will run a watch system throughout the voyage with all guests and crew. You’ll never be without a crew member and the watch system will be worked out once everyone has boarded to gauge guest abilities.
From plotting our route on the chart to cooking together, some celestial navigation skills, hoisting and trimming sails, and rope work and repairs, there is always something for everyone to do while on watch. The rest of the time is free to enjoy the inky black of the night sky, reading a book or three or playing cards together; the ocean gives guests the chance to switch off from the demands of the modern world and fill their souls with vitamin-Sea.
Sailing by the stars
Far from land, miles into the open ocean, you’ll see the night sky as you have never seen it before. The stars light the sky as we sail away from any man-made light pollution creating a truly spectacular sight. Although each boat certainly has all the modern GPS equipment, there will likely be the chance to try your hand at celestial navigation, using the stars to plot your position and guide your route! An age old skill used by sailing ancestors of years gone-by.
Part of the beauty of an ocean-going adventure is experiencing all the elements. From wind, rain and sun, we will certainly see them all. Whatever comes our way, the crew will use weather radar technology to plan our route as best they can to ensure we cover the most miles as safely as possible. Expect strong winds and big waves, perfect sailing to glassy seas with not a breath of wind and everything in-between.
All voyages for Grayhound
Guest berths: 12 Rig: Lugger
Grayhound is a three-masted, wooden tall ship Lugger who was first launched in 2012. She is a a 5/6th scale replica of the original “Grayhound” who was built in Cornwall in 1776 and used as a Customs Lugger. Under new ownership, she nows resides primarily in Douarnenez, France but certainly still loves to explore the seven seas.
True to her original ancestors, Grayhound has been traditionally built with her rigging the same as you’d find it back in 1776. Her owners relish the opportunity to give guests a true and exhilarating sailing experience, taking them back in time for a truly fascinating sailing holiday adventure. Sailing with Grayhound is a hands-on experience and guests are invited to get involved with all aspects of sailing this unique 18th century style Lugger.
The traditional fit out and use of timber continues but with considered spaces and a few more mod-cons! A communal saloon area sleeps 5 guests centred around an impressive oak table with a further five berths in the shared fore cabin. Each bunk has a privacy curtain. There is an eco toilet onboard and a shower for emergencies but guest showers are taken ashore as much as possible. Life on board is predominantly vegetarian unless meat and fish is caught sustainably whilst sailing!
The owners and crew of Grayhound are passionate about sustainable sailing and their impact on the natural world. By harnessing the power of wind, Grayhound reduces engine time, minimising carbon emissions and pollution. Sailing encourages a slower pace, allowing guests to appreciate the journey and the destinations without rushing. Grayhound believes in a promoting a deeper connection with nature, as the rhythmic movement of the boat and the sound of the wind create a sense of serenity with the landscapes around us.
Deck planMore about Grayhound
LIFE ON BOARD
One of traditional hands-on sailing and sustainable adventure travel. Sailing with Cornish Lugger Grayhound is perfect for those looking to get to grips with sailing a traditionally rigged, classic wooden vessel.
Grayhound is run and sailed as sustainably as possible, with a care for the environment and the natural marine world at the forefront of everything she does. From an adopted vegetarian menu (unless of course, it can be sustainably fished or hunted), to traditional tender gigs rowed by the crew, it’s clear to see that sustainable travel and adventure is an important part of sailing with Grayhound.
Sailed with a full time crew, Grayhound mixes her sailing season with sheltered coastal sailing, open water sailing and some aptly named “smugglers runs”. Although she has a permanent crew, guests are encouraged to get involved to hoist the sails by hand and to feel the power of the wind in the tiller. Learn basic rope and knot work or even learn to row in the gig tenders – another nod to the ship’s ancestral history!
SLEEPING AND RELAXATION
A pilot house at deck level gives a versatile space from chart navigation, daytime shelter if needed and the perfect place for a cosy night watch.
Below decks there is a collection of various berths tucked into the hull, with four bunks situated off the main saloon and a further six berth bunks in the fore. The spaces are generous and there are two toilets on board for guests. There is a shower for emergencies but guests are encouraged to use marina showers or even consider jumping in the sea – an invigorating, free bath!
There is a communal eating area with a wide hatch so guests can star-gaze while eating deliciously cooked food. In warmer climates, guests and crew can eat alfresco up on the generous deck.
The galley is at the heart of both Grayhound itself and her owners.
Designed to be an efficient and inspiring workspace for the chef making meals a highlight of the voyage. Grayhound has a great tradition of using fresh produce and of foraging, producing wholesome meals inspired by local cuisine and maritime traditions. She serves only healthy, organic, vegetarian food. For many good reasons the meals on the ship are mostly vegetarian (unless it is caught by line from the boat!). Everything is cooked onboard by our excellent chef using regional and organic produce wherever possible.
- All inclusive (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and soft/hot drinks)
- All bedding (pillow, sheets & duvet) and a wash towel
- Full crew plus tuition
- Marina and fuel fees
- All tender trips to and fro the boat
What’s not included
- Wash and/or swim towel
- Any flights
- Transit hotels
- Travel to and from the boat on the day of joining/leaving
- Travel insurance
- Sailing Insurance (Please read our Sailing Insurance page for more information)
- Crew tips
- Personal expenses
Travel insurance notes
As this is an active adventure holiday, we advise that everyone has the appropriate personal accident travel insurance whilst onboard in addition to standard travel insurance which would cover you in the time between making your booking and departing for your adventure. These policies can sometimes be combined so please check with your travel insurance provider.
This voyage will be more than 12miles offshore.
Are all meals included?
Yes, all meals on board are included in the price. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and hot drinks) Alcohol is not included.
Can you cater for dietary needs?
We are primarily a vegetarian (not vegan) ship. Everything is cooked onboard by our excellent chef using regional and organic produce wherever possible. We have a well-equipped galley where we cook healthy, tasty and sustainable food.
What language is spoken onboard?
What are the sleeping arrangements?
10x single berths in the saloon and the fore cabin. (some can be made into "doubles")
Do I need to tip the crew?
Tips are not mandatory but are welcomed by the crew!
How many toilet/showers does she have?
2 toilets. There is a shower on board but we use it as little as possible because we have a limited water supply. We tend to use the showers ashore in the marinas that we visit. There is plenty of seawater for bucket-showers on deck or for a nice morning swim around the ship. Bring biodegradable wet wipes to keep clean. You will be amazed on how fresh you feel at sea!
Is there WIFI?
No, but you should easily be able to reach 3G/4G from the shore.
Can I charge my phone/Camera?
Are there life jackets provided?
Are Waterproofs provided?
Do I need sailing experience?
No, absolutely not! Just a lust for adventure.
Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently but we recommend if you are at all worried to take some medication 24 hours before departure.
From: Portimão, Portugal
To: Santa Cruz, Las Palma
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
How to get there…
Faro Airport requires taking a 45-50 minute taxi ride to [Doca Pesca] Parchal. This could cost in the region of £60-£75. This is much easier than multiple changes on public transport. You can fly direct to Faro from a number of airports in England.
STAY IN Portimão:
There are plenty of places to stay in Portimão. Try Colina Da Lapa & Villas, Flor da Rocha or Quinta Aida Cottages and B&B Suites.