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 where 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 of interesting chat and laughter. We’ve had two idyllic sailing trips,...

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. With quite a few miles 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. 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 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. Back on board for bread,cheese and Jamon and up sails for a afternoon sail to the South coast of Fuerteventura . Amazing lunar landscapes impressed us all and the acceleration 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...

Heading South for the sun

Since our last blog from Spain we sailed south to Lisbon, and then onwards from main land Portugal to the Canary Islands. We welcomed aboard our new first mate Laura Aldrich Blake who has recently completed two years working in the Classic super yacht industry and most recently as Bosun on Gaff Schooner Germania Nova. She has been a a great friend and massive support to us over the years and we always hoped that she would join us for a stint on the Grayhound before she hangs up her oilies and heads for a new life ashore. We are so lucky to have Laura on board for a while, she is a very competent and experienced sailor and she will be sailing to the Caribbean with us. In fact we are quite a majority female crew now, Marcus and Malachi are becoming out numbered. Laura, Freya and Ruth now main stays. Michelle is just on for a passage ( as a extra pair of hands needing a lift south) and soon new deck hand Melissa joins us. Grayhound set sail from Portimao at the end of October after some alterations to rig and improvements down below. The 500 mile passage started with a windless 6 hours. We had a lovely dinner and watched Portugal disappear slowly, settling us all in. 4 am and the wind picked up and it didn’t stop the whole way there. It was quite a fast and furious passage. The good old ocean roll set in and life adjusted to life at sea. The crew set into their watches and Grayhound flew south. We...

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