Hands on adventure sailing
April 11, 2014 by Freya

Our voyage by guest crew Sharon Jarvis

P1070724”Imagine leaving Devon early on a Wednesday morning and landing in Antigua Thursday afternoon. Arriving at English Harbour to see The Grayhound anchored. What a wonderful sight.P1070880P1070751 Two weeks full of discovery and new experiences. We sailed to the volcanic isle of Montserrat, and being the intrepid explorers we are, taking full P1070788 P1070787 P1070783P1070797P1070820 P1070811P1070887P1070890P1070895P1070911advantage of Joe’s ( taxi driver) local knowledge we viewed the pyro clastic flow that enveloped Plymouth. Sarah , Grayhound crew managed to get herself a little part time job at Moose’s Bar. And didn’t she serve the rum with flair. The Blackwood Allen nature trail saw us the next day climbing through the undergrowth and trying to break into coconuts, unsuccessfully I might add. Lovely sightings of Humming birds. Ruth (crew), working her charm on the taxi man Rueben,  ace Goat water maker of renown on Montserrat, managed to secure enough of the mixture for supper later in the week. But that is another story! As if that wasn’t enough for one day Mark (guest crew) walked along the bow sprit to the end and managed a magnificent dive. Along with Ruth who nearly got to the end, before jumping in but did climb up the anchor chain after. Tuesday, Sarah’s birthday- mission Redonda to land and conquer! Four fearless swimmers managed to secure the small uninhabited island for the Cornish, Welsh and not forgetting Essex! With a specially made flag. Our first overnight watches sailing from Redonda past Nevis to Saba. Actually the experience of three hours sleep before getting up again was not as bad as I imagined. Sarah enjoyed long distance swimming being escorted by Terry the Tarpin. Now back to the goat water story. We enjoyed a tasty supper of Goat water and afterwards threw the left overs to the one shark off Saba. A good hour of entertainment. But it worried Sarah to reflect on her swim in the shark infested waters earlier that day. The waters being a bit choppy did not allow us to visit Bottom and the Lace making ladies of Saba , so we sailed on to St Maartin. Just as we were leaving we sighted two Humpback Whales at very close quarters, what a sight. A visit to Philipsburg and Marigot the next day allowed us to catch up with the sights of the Island of St Maatin. We walked up to St Louis Fort in Marigot. We continued our journey back to Antigua taking in the Dolphins feeding along the way. We anchored in Jolly Harbour on Antigua and were able to visit along the coast in a motor boat owned by a friend of Grayhounds’. Lots of time to snorkel and enjoy the day. Nowhere else can you celebrate Christmas in March except on the Grayhound. Some of the crew being poorly at Christmas they could not celebrate it in the traditional way, so we enjoyed a late celebration with the crew. We even had a Christmas card, and hats to create the atmosphere. Plus a few bottles of wine and plenty of party games. A superb 2 weeks of many many great memories. We enjoyed excellent food on the boat and good company. Freya and Marcus could not be better hosts with Ruth and Sarah supporting. Malachi is a bundle of energy and full of joy”

 

By Sharon Jarvis

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April 8, 2014 by Freya

Rainforests and waterfalls in Dominica

Dominica other wise known as paradiseP1070534

P1070544Green, vibrant, genuine, bananas, flowers, thermal water, rainforest, fruits, spices, essences, rum, history, plantations, Carib Indians, local food,P1070558P1070559 big smiles, passionate people, dirty, rugged, battered, faithful, invested in, changing, markets, medical centres, lemon grass, mountains, views, beaches, twisted vines, P1070594spooky trees, inventive locals, striving people. Determined to succeed, rivers, rain, roots, boiling lakes,P1070605 gorges, fresh water , water falls, deep damp forest, giant butterflies, parrots, dragon flies, bay leaf tea, smoked coconuts. Old sugar factories, remnants of the past. New roads , new construction, new ideas. More tourism , will it change ? Did we visit it at the right time ? We had conflicting feelings of this island being a rare jewel a rich natural land and it been swallowed up by the future the investments the desire for more European ways.P1070589

The boiling lake hike walked by Marcus, Steve, Jen, Xander and their guide Frances.1890987_878386728854048_1668898998_n 1907573_878386332187421_1754686030_n 1920168_878386778854043_1012736220_n 1970536_878386868854034_250065916_n 1979717_878387055520682_1468294493_nP1070588P1070574

Our island tour with Winston. Portsmouth to the north east coast, Woodford hill, Wesley, Marigot, Bataka, The Carib Indian territory, Salybia. Through the Central forest reserve, Spanny falls, Wotton Waven, to Roseau and down the west coast to Soufriere then back to Portsmouth.P1070569P1070581P1070622P1070524

High lights of the day Winstons’ knowledge and thorough guide around all the old plantation factory’s, his own home village. Hiking in the rainforest to waterfalls with a 2 and a half year old on our shoulders. Well done Marcus for climbing with him so we could all experience swimming in the cool fresh pool under the waterfall.  P1070598

walk to a rain forest waterfall Rum testing in a local bar in the middle of no where when visiting the native Carib territory. Trying local produce picked from tress and bush seeing the progress in infrastructure colourful streets of Roseau ending the day sitting in a thermal pool on the oceans edge as the sun went down on the horizon. At anchor in Portsmouth. Green green green forest in every direction , efficient and supportive yacht service , beach bbq for the PAYS team ( Portsmouth association for yacht security) a great group of guys who look after all your needs at anchor , organise laundry, food, tours and in return earn a living and they take such pride in their work. Thank you Jeffery who was our guy.

Rowing up the Indian River with Jeffrey . P1070530P1070528A water nature trail, in silence , listening to the birds and insects, creeping through tree roots and vines, palms rustle above you and fish swimming around. A quiet time to be rowed around ( a real treat for us lot ). collected beads in the forest to make jewellery, saw hummingbirds dig for nectar while sipping on a bay leaf tea in the forest cafe.P1070508P1070507

 

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March 21, 2014 by Freya

Eating local, healthy home cooking on Grayhound.

P1070080P1070475P1070546Freya is a busy mum and is always cooking for her family aboard. P1070470We offer our customers good home cooked food using as much locally sourced produce where ever we are. We like to eat healthily with lots of salads, soups, stews and pasta. This Caribbean seasons favourites have been stewed chicken with pumpkin P1060891 P1070574and ginger, rum bananas, goat and chick pea curry. Avocado salads, quiches, home made pizzas, plantain curry, pork and eggplant slow cooked. Freya also loves to cook big bowls of seafood pasta with fresh Tuna. We have been eating Freya’s home made ginger and banana cakes daily. What makes Grayhound a little different is that she is a home and people feel that and love her for it !

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March 3, 2014 by Freya

Guest blog written by Joe & Sue Graham

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Freya & Marcus

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Sue

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Crew Sarah

Having witnessed Grayhound take shape from trees arriving by lorry at our boatyard, it was with excited anticipation that Sue and I flew to Grenada to join her for a Caribbean cruise through the Grenadines to St Lucia.Marcus and Freya run the boat with 2 year old Malachi adding entertainment. P1060722P1070165After a relaxed but thorough briefing we are straight into hauling ropes and winding up the anchor.On day one I am seriously worried as to whether I will cope. After a spell on the windlass my lungs are aching and a pain in my left chest makes me wonder if I am suffering a heart attack. P1070360Freya is unsympathetic telling me cardiac exercise will do me good. However, less than two weeks later I work so hard on the windlass that Marcus opposite laughs that he’s not doing anything. Then we run aft to the tackles and the mighty main yard seemingly flies into the air. The feeling of fitness and achievement is immense.We have a short sail to start with to learn the ropes and then an anchorage where friends of the vessel immediately appear and there is diving and swimming before pizza’s ashore.The next morning we are off on an overnight romp to We have good sailing through the day and gradually beat up towards the island. The lugger rig does not point high but we regularly make 8 knots.As the night closes in we start watches and Sue and I enjoy a spectacular scene, powering along through the darkness, the seas surging out to leeward, dry decks, steering with the tiller lines, gradually picking up the lights of Carriacou.

The following day we motor to Sandy Island and have our first taste of snorkelling in the warm clear waterP1070417. Then after clearing customs out of Hillsborough we have a perfect beat across the channel to Union Island.Half way across it transpires that Sue and Freya have both bought new dresses in Hillsborough so naturally a fashion show is called for as we sail along.P1070344We creep around the edge of the reefs into Clifton, Union Island as the sun sets to leeward and are soon anchored within a crowd of cruising and charter boats. Grayhound is so distinctive that as soon as the anchor is down friends will appear in dinghies and be welcomed aboard. An impromptu party soon began, including guitars and singing and Malachi dancing.P1070022

Life on board was taking on a relaxed routine.P1070080 At 7 Malachi would wake with good natured chirruping from his cabin, the squeak of the galley foot pump would be followed by the low purr of the generator starting up. When the generator stopped you knew the kettle had boiled and if you pretended to be asleep somebody would bring tea to the forepeak. Breakfast would start with muesli and fruit but would then be followed with toast and occasionally eggs too. A planned early start would regularly turn into a relaxed late start because we were too busy eating and chatting.Freya’s cooking never ceased to amaze us. While the tiller was being repaired she produced a delicious quiche. In the middle of a long sail she would produce a freshly baked cake. Going to windward in a metre swell we would get a hot lunch. The galley was spacious by small boat standardsP1070326 but it still pitched and rolled as anybody who has tried cooking at sea will know.We motored up intoP1070416 P1070414 the Tobago Cays through eye watering colours to anchor before diving in to swim with turtles and rays.The next morning we set off to locate the treasure on Malachi’s treasure map which had mysteriously been found in the chart draw. He was rather bemused by us all being in pirate fancy dress but he could see that we were enjoying ourselves so he played along.Once the treasure had been dug up (Lego!) we swam, made a sand car for Malachi and turned Ruth into a mermaid.P1070402 P1070401 P1070400 P1070399 P1070398 P1070397 P1070395 P1070394P1070432

After a day in the Cays we navigated out through the northern reefs and headed for Bequai. Another classic Tradewind sail brought us to the beautiful Admiralty Bay in early afternoon. We all go out for a splendid meal in the evening followed by rum punches and dancing to a steel band. Malachi takes his parents home early and the rest of us follow at intervals

P1070412Once clear of the P1070371island the wind hit us hard as it accelerates around the high volcano, what surprised us however was a heavy tidal overfall that reminded us of Portland Bill. For a while the bowsprit was digging into the steep seas and we had wet decks for a change. However, we were soon through this and sailing across much calmer water as the current set us fast to the west.DSCF2218 DSCF2210

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Joe & Sue

We arrived about 5 miles to leeward of the Pitons in late afternoon so decided to motor up to the anchorage before dark.A boat boy came out in a tiny dinghy and said we could not anchor between the Pitons where we were heading and all the moorings P1060891were taken.He directed us to the shore north of Petit Piton where we were meant to drop the anchor close to the shore and he would take a line ashore to a palm tree.However, it was so deep close to the steep shore that with the manual windlass we could not anchor far enough out to be safe. We had to call for the shore line to be released as it was by then too dark to safely experiment so close to the shore.We headed up the coast to Marigot Bay where we felt our way in and found a mooring buoy.After a rest day spent on the beach, on board making wind scoops and doing the books, P1070446and for Marcus repairing another boat, an expedition set out to climb Gros Piton. At over 2700 feet in the tropical heat this was a daunting prospect but it turned out that just getting there and back was the biggest challenge.

At dawn Marcus, Ruth, Sarah and myself set out, leaving Freya, Sue and Malachi to a more leisurely day. The taxi seemed too extravagant so we started hiking out of Marigot Bay up a steep climb. Then a bus caught us up so off we went with high hopes, only to notice that the next bit of coast that we saw was north of Marigot and therefore the wrong direction. Once in Castries we quickly found a bus back to Soufriere, passing a sign saying 1km to Marigot Bay, so at least we thought we knew where to get off on the way back.P1070335P1120434

Then after some bartering, a taxi took us to the village at the base of the mountain where a friendly guide led us off into the thick jungle.

The path was steep but well made with useful branches as hand rails and while sweating profusely we found it reasonably easy to make it to the top. Marcus of course insisted on doing the climb in bare feet to the amazement of guides and walkers coming down.

On top the view was spectacular and a platoon of French soldiers arrived complete with two St Lucian soldiers with automatic weapons and side arms which was a surprise.

Going back down was worse on the knees than going up and the mosquitoes were appearing en mass. However, soon we were back in Soufriere and seeking juices at a tiny bar. When I returned with a second round the entire crew had fallen asleep on the table with exhaustion.WeP1070441 then found that to get back we had to get a bus to the very southern tip of the island, then one to Castries in the north then after an hour’s search around the dark dubious streets a bus back to Marigot Bay where a relieved Sue and Freya picked us up in the gig.And so ended a very memorable holiday with great people on a great vessel.P1070428 Before we knew it we were saying a sad farewell. We flew back the following day after an air conditioned taxi ride to the airport, I couldn’t take another day on the buses! Strange to be back in long trousers ready for the chill at Gatwick.

Written by Joe & Sue Graham 

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January 31, 2014 by Freya

Family & Group booking discounts

Ask for the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ Family Package

Aimed at families of 4 or 5.  As long as there are a minimum of TWO full fare paying adults, two children (of school age and still agirl powerttending school ages 5-18) can sail for HALF PRICE.

Children under 5 as part of a ‘Swallows and Amazons’ family package can come sailing on Grayhound for FREE.

Ask for the ‘Dolphin Pod’ Mini Family Package

We recognise it can be difficult to take the whole family on holiday for a multitude of reasons. It is not unusual for one child and parent to be mad keen on a sailing adventure whilst other siblings or partners are really not into it.

We have a ‘mini family’ price package for any mother and daughter, father and daughter, grandfather and grandson type combination…..as long as the child’s legal guardian approves.

One full priced adult and oneschool age child at 75% of full price.

 Ask for the  ‘Wahoo and Flying Fish’ Adult Package

Never fear, we can do sophisticated travel experiences for groups of adults too….and you can still benefit by booking as a group of 5.

With 4 full paying adults, a 5th adult can come FREE

‘Divvie out’ the discount between you.

- See more at: http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk/grayhound-family-and-group-booking-packages#overlay-context=vessels/grayhound-lugger

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January 31, 2014 by Freya

The Atlantic blog written by crew member Chris

Grayhound is run by a young family. As Grandpa in that family, I used my Christmas holiday this year to sail with them across the Atlantic from Cape Verde to Barbados. A chance to share the benefits of all Marcus and Freya’s hard work over the last three years. What a trip it turned out to be!P1060726P1030529

 

Uncharacteristically light weather – a strong bond in the group – the unique three-masted lugger Grayhound – plus the unexpected. It was a safe, well managed passage but fair weather does not mean without incident. I will try to convey the experience of an ocean passage on Grayhound – and how problems get dealt with.P1060724

 

27th December. Day 4 out of Praia, I’m on 8-11 pm watch with Tobi – Grayhound P1060722rolling along at six and a half knots in the long swell. Standing bare-foot, left hand on the tiller, right holding tiller line. Warm NE wind, force 4, wind on the quarter. Exhilarating sense of channelling balanced forces in a powerful forward surge. Dark timeless outline of a traditional vessel, rakish rig, blocks and heavy tackle. Steady rumble of the bow wave, the creak of blocks and thrum of sails. Another sound too, a child is crying. It’s P1030512coming from Malachi. In the subdued light of the pilot house I can see the forms of my grandson and Marcus snuggled together on the leeward seat. Both running high temperatures – My daughter kneeling beside them squirting water into Malachi’s mouth to keep him hydrated. Everyone else is sleeping.

 Marcus needed nerves and leadership skills akin to a 18th century privateer captain to build Grayhound to Cat Zero so they could trade worldwide. All these qualities were apparent at the briefing when guests arrived, he let everyone know how his ship would be run. But on the second day out he had taken to his bunk with a high fever, unable to stand. It’s a one way trip for the 2000 miles from Cape Verde to Barbados, no turning back. Sickness at sea is a serious matter.

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 Grayhound is a small ship, an informal but tight command structure. Freya being responsible for the ship, as well as cook and caring for Malachi, who had become ill on Day 3, with a temperature of 39.6. Spontaneously crew and guests collaborated to support her and the watch leaders. Watches were adjusted – Adam, a director of Classic Sailing, had the experience to offer to lead a watch and set about researching the medical books with Freya. Careful logs were kept for both patients. The only outside medical aid could be by satellite phone – a detailed medical history was also prepared. Meanwhile we would have to wait and see.P1060741

Ocean sailing suits self-reliant characters but also requires everyone pulls together. Fear is not out of place, so long as it doesn’t become immobilising, it ensures survival. The Atlantic swell was often large and uneven, the motion of the boat relentless, sounds below can make it P1060816difficult to sleep, while coming on deck in the dark can be challenging and disorientating. Self-confidence helps to master fear and a symbol of this for me is standing your watch. The dramas and emotional currents on board are regulated by the rhythm of the watch. Standing steady, keeping the boat going steadily, you do your spell and hand over to the next watch, in doing so you resource yourself against immobilising fear.P1060721

 At night, 3 hours on, 6 hours off, longer intervals during the day so no one gets stuck with the ‘graveyard watches’. We settle into a rhythm. Night vision, no moon, Tobi steering, I’m lying on the bean-bag gazing up in awe at the depth of the Universe, when a flying fish slaps Tobi in the face, a thoughtful pause, then “I think tomorrow I start fishing again!” (he never caught anything, final score 1-0 to the fish!)P1060714P1060729

The ‘girls’ follow us. Ruth, on board since August, knows her way around Grayhound and her playful personality makes her a connector in the group as a whole. Liz, experienced in larger traditional boats on the eastern US seaboard, is impressive with her deck skills. Watches create their own bonds. Two and half weeks of the highs and lows of night watches shared with a partner make for special P1060727connections.

 

No one is sure when to celebrate New Year, (or how, as we are a ‘dry ship’ at sea). Freya makes dinner (moussaka and mixed berry flan) just as it is about to be served a loud distress signal on the SSB radio requires her full attention as Radio Operator. It was an error, appears to have emanated from Istanbul, but it has taken an hour. The moment has passed – watches want to get their heads down – so prematurely we toast the New Year with champagne, sing Olde Lang Sine and I read ‘Christmas At Sea’ by Masefield, sent by Liz’ father.

 Adam and Grisha make up the third watch, they wake us gently with cups of tea and reports of conditions on deck. 2nd January and it’s Grisha’s birthday. P1060756Started with dolphins and a rainbow, scrambled eggs and ham and went on to card and cake (let’s hear it for the cook), ended with a call to “All hands on deck” in the middle of the night in rain and lightening to attend to the fore lug yard which had snapped. Gear damage is a theme in ocean sailing on a traditional boat. The skipper says this is a ‘proving passage’ – no one knows the last time a three-masted lugger crossed an ocean.

 

The lugger rig demonstrated its flexibility, at sea stuff happens and you deal with it. In the morning under Marcus’ instruction the mizzen, which is not used running down wind, was hoisted on the fore mast. In combination with the jib it provided enough power in the rising wind to drive the boat at 7 knots a bit north of our westward track. P1060790Satisfying after frustratingly light winds, much of it going in the wrong direction in order to stop the sails and spars from flogging. Some days later we gybed to work south again. Following damage to the mizzen yard (again impact damage from flogging, not enough wind and too much swell),Marcus and the crew set to setting the main topsail in its place as a square sail (with the main staysail), for the last week and the run in to Barbados as the wind finally did what the Trades are supposed to do, and blew force 4-6 from the NE through to E.P1060722

 

And what of Marcus and the cabin boy’s health? Malachi’s fever dropped quite quickly but he was not his normal self for another week until suddenly his exuberance and energy returned, and we knew it! Marcus took longer to recover, his energy was depleted for ten days, he had to conserve it and had to rest after attending on deck – it didn’t stop him going up the mast to recover a loose block! Likely cause of the illness? Maybe a virus picked up from kids in a playground in Praia, where the two of them hung out while Freya was shopping?

 9th January. P1060802Final night, Southern Cross to port, Plough and Pole star to starboard. Started seeing fishing boats in the morning (1 ship and 2 planes is the tally for two weeks). Barbados showed up about 9am local time, bluer sea, and P1060826planes flying in and out all the time. Tied-up under the bows of a gigantic cruise ship in commercial dock in order to clear immigration, later to anchor off the beach in Carlisle Bay. Meanwhile everyone disappeared to get currency or clear with officialdom, leaving me to guard the boat before going to investigate wifi in a grotesque cruise terminal full of ‘lost’ tourists. It was a brutal re-entry from wilderness to civilisation and the dissipation of our group’s energy. Later that energy came to a satisfying conclusion as we swam and then celebrated with rum punch (plural) at the Boatyard beach bar, young P1060827Malachi running and running on the sand to the sound of a steel drum, while our good ship lay to anchor silhouetted against the tropical night sky. Two and a half years since Grayhound’s keel was laid and Malachi was born. Take a bow Marcus and Freya!  Written by Chris HartP1060732

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January 18, 2014 by Freya

Grayhound in the Cape Verde Islands

Grayhound arrived in Palmeira on the island of Sal. Palmeira is a small fishing village with a new break water. Small cruise ships are starting to come,P1060594 tourism is in its infancy but feels like it’s growing quickly. With no hotels there one of our voyage crew stayed in a local fisherman’s house in the village prior to coming on board. Locals are keen to make money from the visitors but with a friendly approach . Here in this tiny village life goes on around you and its a pleasure to witness it.P1060598 Fisherman sell their fish on the quay, peoples homes are basic and open to see. Little tiny front rooms sell basic dry goods, the odd tin of this or that. The bakery is a tiny concrete room with a bed in the corner and a few loafs under some tea towels.P1060608

We took a bus ride to the bigger town a short bus ride away to try and find fresh fruit and veg. The buses are all Toyota Hias and they are every where. They hover around touting for trade until the bus is full and off they go. Locals seemed pretty non fussed about us white Europeans getting in their bus, they were more intrigued by little Malachi and his mop of blond hair.P1060606P1060661

The bigger town has bizarre Christmas decorations up ( feels strange to be nearly Christmas in this hot dry climate) women selling bananas line the streets so I get one for Malachi…and fresh herbs coriander and parsley yummmm green fresh things !

The super markets are better stocked than I remember from five years ago but still very sparse compared to what we are used to. A few yams and sweet potatoes, shrivelled up apples and cabbage. How do I make dinner from this I wonder. Meal times are going to have to change , rice and beans is the local staple so it will be for us too. My freezer is full of garden peas and meat from Tenerife but it is to last us six weeks so I will have to be canny.

Quite pleased with my purchases I find frozen broccoli in the freezer , fresh papaya and some natural yoghurt so we can start to make our own.

Cape Verde Escudos very pretty notes.

Cape Verde Escudos very pretty notes.

Marcus’ brother Guy arrived to spend a week with us and the rest of our crew arrived Ali and Phil both ex policemen, unknowingly from the same division. Button stays on from the previous voyage.

We bought some food for supper and made a banana cake for pudding every one settles in…Marcus helped a cruising boat diagnose a problem with their engine and sent them ashore to ask for a welder. Sure enough they found one who not only fixed it but made them a spare. These islands still have a strong sense of fix it culture . Next morning we still ask , where is the wind ? We start off early for Sao Nicolau West of Sal about 93 miles away but still no wind and it’s hot. Sao Nicolau is a island I had previously visited five years ago and lots had changed. Lots of building along the fore shore for one,P1060637 tourism is arriving here in a serious way. A French cruise ship in the anchorage shows another change, before you saw just a scattering of yachts. Once anchored we all jumped in and had sea showers and sat on deck eating fresh papaya and oranges . Later a gig row ashore where we were met by a group of kids wanting to be boat watchman while we are away. Always a bit of a shock to know how to handle all these eyes wanting your coins that are in your wallet. We set off up the beach our crew set off to the other side of the island on aP1060654 Toyota bus while Marcus and myself set about trying .P1060657 Once all where back on board that evening we all started to feel the effects of a slight virus that stayed with us for about five days effecting most people on board which was a bit miserable. But every one rallied around and kept the boat a happy place. Mindelo on the Island of Sao Vicente was the next stop for fuel and water and a trip around Santo Antao. There is now a big marina in Mindelo which this year hosted the ARC plus rally again another sign of change in these islands. The marina was chaotic with no one seemingly to be in charge. P1060624We nestled our way in and filled our empty fuel tanks with diesel. Then for the sake of ease getting ashore and for getting water we found ourselves a fore and aft mooring in the marina for a couple of nights.P1060650 This meant the guys who were feeling well enough could enjoy the evening bars and live music in the city and a shore party could explore the neighbouring island Santo Antao the next day.

What a great day that was. The guys got the foot ferry to Santo Antao and hired a Aluguer ( a open back pick up with bench seats in the back) They drove across the old cobbled roads through the pine forests and across the top of the mountains and ravines to the other side of the island. They took the driver out to a local cafe for a bite of lunch. Visited the old fishing towns and drove home arriving back just in time for one of Freya’ much loved pizza nights and fresh salad from the market. Every one seemed to be well again and ready for the major sail of the trip to Santiago 150 miles away.P1060669

After a exciting sail south of Santiago through the acceleration zones we sailed through the night and arrived late morning in Baia do Tarrafal on the island Santiago.

P1060693On our way to Praia we stopped for a swim in a anchorage off the small fishing village of Cidade Belha on the Western coast.

We ended the voyage in Praia, the capital of the Cape Verde

 

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January 17, 2014 by Freya

Tenerife to Sal heading South

Heading south for the Cape Verde Islands back in December.

In late November we were involved in film work in La Gomera which we managed to fit in between voyages. It did mean a change in start port for our new voyage crew joining us for the voyage to the Cape Verde islands. We booked them all ferries to travel to Tenerife instead of Las Palmas and we met the three travellers in San Miguel marina on the 27th of November. P1060195Grayhound was fully stocked with stores dry and fresh ready for the passage, travelling through out the Cape Verdes and the Atlantic Crossing. Provisions are expensive and seldom in the Cape Verdes so it was important to stock the ship to its full capacity. This meant bringing the ship along side and using the halyards to bring the bags aboard.

P1060481We were all excited about the passage south, leaving the Canaries and Europe for a taste of Africa.

The forecast looked favourable but light for the first week. This passage is renowned for its steady N / NE trade winds so we expected the winds to carry us quickly South. But…….sailing is of course unpredictable , we were certainly not expecting the complete lack of wind that we got for the whole 700 miles. The result of sailing to a time table we had to push on !P1060516P1060492 P1060532 (2)

Our beautiful shiny red Beta 90 proved its worth and it motored us to Sal in 8 nights. Our voyage crew had therefore a different ocean sailing experience to the one expected. I feel it is true to say they loved it. We had a awesome group of young professionals on board. A lovely lass from the Scillies who ran her own cafe on St Mary’s ( sounds amazing go in the summer if you can it’s called Dibble & Grub we will be taking our crew later in the summer)P1060551

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Arturs was from Latvia and was working in the music industry and Ben worked in engineering and was very keen and good at Lego construction ( always plenty aboard seems to be enjoyed by all !!!)

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The three voyage crew stood their watches with watch leaders Melissa , Laura and Marcus. The up side to having no wind is you get to see more wild life and the most incredible skies, sunsets and sunrises. It also gave Astro navigators Marcus, Freya and Laura plenty of time and flat seas to scrub up on the sight taking and reduction making, we got some very accurate plots which was most satisfying. The crew all enjoyed learning about the subject too. The phosphorescent dolphins were the best we had ever seen , sparkling torpedoes through the water , blowing air bubbles that flashed under water. Amazing!P1060545P1060546

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Freya had time and energy to bake the Christmas cakes for the Atlantic passage and gave every one a real variety of dishes every day to keep it different. Every one kept cool and clean chucking buckets of sea water over them, lathering up with soap and rinsing off with their ration of fresh water

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We arrived in Sal a close team and we had made new friends. We were all blown away to be in a far off land after travelling by sea for 8 days. Palmeira was a great welcoming port, we took a bus to the local time to get a few fresh supplies and the locals took us into their houses to fill up our water cans.

P1060581 Customer feed back from this voyage

I have had such a fantastic time on the Grayhound and I just want to thank you both for making it possible in the first place with your vision and moreover for making it so very special.”

Skipper! Did I ever luck in when you drew me as watch mate! Thank you so much for your patient instruction, explanations, demonstrations and generally for the massive amount of knowledge I have accrued on this trip. I thoroughly enjoyed every watch no matter what time and it was a pleasure to talk with you on so many topics!”

“………thank you for sharing so much with me and allowing me to have such a fantastic new experience, and thank you for being the individuals that you are that made it so special!”

 

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November 26, 2013 by Freya

This week the blog is written by voyage crew Mary

This is my second trip and very different from the first when I came with my two children. We sailed from Falmouth to Plymouth DSCF1898 IMG_5403 IMG_5406 IMG_5407 P1050983 P1050984 P1050992 P1050996 P1060003where my children learnt to row, swim in deep water and we all learnt as much as we wanted to about sailing. It was an idyllic Swallows and Amazons-type holiday, anchored by the warm, welcoming personalities of Marcus at the helm, ever ready to share his love of luggers and Freya in the kitchen, whipping up meal after meal (apparently her secret for making something taste extraordinary is to add a bit of apricot jam). Malachi with his cheery cry of “Let’s Go” was (and still is) an adorable bonus.

This trip in the Canaries is very different; not least because I’m child-free. While they’re at school I decided to come back because I loved this boat so much. Why you might wonder? Because it has such a special atmosphere; reflective, calming, quirky, fun. The first full day when we sailed up the coast to Los Gigantes, after helming and some sailing, I slept cocooned in the wet weather gear on the beanbag, being handed cups of tea and food at appropriate intervals to stop the seasickness that threatened; no pressure to get up and doing. Any stressed-out parent will recognise how special that is; for someone else to make decisions, make lunch and leave you to a whole day’s peace. But on top of that, thanks to the kind of other guests this boat seems to attract, the days and evenings have been full P1060007 P1060011 P1060015of interesting chat and laughter. We’ve had two idyllic sailing trips, so far and one fantastic day scrambling over big volcanic rocks down a deep, craggy valley to a black sand beach with dramatically-high cliffs where Grayhound was waiting, attracting attention because she’s so beautiful and unique. Swimming out to her in the clear waters of the Atlantic rates as one of life’s highlights.P1060025 P1060027

The trip’s already halfway through and I’m plotting how I can come back – perhaps to the Azores, if I can get the children out of school for a few days, perhaps on the Falmouth – Greenwich tall-ships race. Because much as I have loved this week alone to recharge my batteries, I want to bring the kids back; this boat is for sharing – that’s what Marcus and Freya do, they share their life with us. And what a special kind of life it is.

Written by Mary Bowes onboard the Grayhound in La Gomera

 

 

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November 20, 2013 by Freya

Lanzarote to Tenerife sailing, swimming and beaches

Our first Canary voyage started in Arrecife, Lanzarote, we covered 300 miles to get to our destination, San Miguel in Tenerife. P1050710With quite a few milesP1050802 to sail, fully packed sailing days were on the cards but we combined these with beach anchorage stops, snorkelling and swimming time. Also one stop into Las Palmas for an evening in the sailor bar – a  busy haunt for passing sailors.P1050729P1050928

Lanzarote’s South coast boasts some beautifully clean beaches. Once our crew had arrived and briefings were complete we had a breezy but bright sail down the coast where we dropped the hook in a anchorage just around the point de Papagayo. We settled down to a Freya curry and the first night around the table. We woke to beautifully clear and warm water.  Most

DSCF1907 of the group swam to the shore while we rowed with Malachi by their side. On the beach we all played volley ball to a fashion and buried Laura 1st Mate in the sand.DSCF1894

Back on board for bread,cheese and Jamon and up sails for a afternoon sail to the South coast of Fuerteventura . P1050961Amazing lunar landscapes impressed us all and the accelerationP1050903 zone gave us a stiff but even breeze south. We arrived in another anchorage at dusk , tucked in around a head land and enjoyed our supper around the table with the hatch off and stars shining in on us. Just as we also dreamed when building the Grayhound ! We woke up in  Morro Jable a small town and went ashore for coffee, an exciting row in quite turbulent water but handled well by the crew and our guest rowers. Evening took us for a sunset sail to the mostP1050894 western end of the south coast and a afternoon on the black sand beach. We enjoyed a movie night. Next morning we filled the water tanks and headed across to Las Palmas a fantastic day sail fast and free. Las Palmas was super busy as the ARC yachts were all in and getting prepared for the Atlantic rally. The anchorage was full but we managed to find a spot. P1050858Laura stayed on board and the rest of us all headed in to find a meal ashore and pick up some shopping. We got a table in the Sailor Bar which was bustlingP1050805 with sailors and good smells. While waiting for the last row home ( the girl crew ) were given a yoga lesson on the pontoon by one of our voyage crew Duncan P1050786which was very appreciated after a long day sailing.The next morning we upped anchor and headed south for Puerto de Mogan on the South West side of Gran Canaria. P1050753This was super sailing day 12 knots , with Grayhound’s fore P1050847and mizzen reefed down, she skimmed( all 60 tonnes) across the water . See the video on face book for a glimpse of this day. Puerto de Mogan we all decided wasP1050955 our favourite stop. Quite Mediterranean in feel, we swam and wandered DSCF1907 DSCF1922P1050954around the village, sand castled on the beach and rowed around the caves.P1050881 After a relaxed afternoon chilling on deck we set sail for a night sail to

P1050817Tenerife. Our voyage crew really were up for it and wanted to experience sailing through the night in a watch system. Stary skies accompanied us there. In the morning after a lie in Freya cooked up breakfastP1050858 and we said good bye to a great group. Some of the best sailing to date for Grayhound.P1050920P1050912 The mostly female crew are becoming a good solid team in quite challenging wind acceleration zones. Freya’s carrot cake went down well on passage. What a  great week . Next week is focused on La Gomera and Tenerife, hill walking and exploring. Blog written by Freya P1050877

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