The Grayhound sails two cross-channel cargo routes. The ‘Muscadet’ Route and the ‘Johnny Route’. The Muscadet route refers to the wine region in Nantes, where we annually load locally grown wine. This route starts from Falmouth during the annual Falmouth Classic regatta, where we load Cornish organic ale aboard. After a sail south via Douarnenez we sail up the river Loire to collect the Muscadet cargo. The ‘Johnny’ route refers to the Onion Johnnies, who were Breton farmers and agricultural laborers on bicycles who sold distinctive pink onions door to door in Great Britain. The Johnny route starts in Brixham or Falmouth and sails to Douarnenez to unload the ale and pick up organic wine from the Bordeaux and Muscadet regions which are stored in the warehouse in Douarnenez. We return to deliver the wines to restaurants and shops in Devon & Cornwall via Dartmouth, Plymouth and Falmouth. We proudly work with a Breton company called Trans Oceanic Wind Transport ( TOWT). Together TOWT and Grayhound run a regular and credible cargo service seven months of the year between the South West of the UK and France. TOWT organizes all aspects of the cargo itself and then we deliver it under sail using as minimal engine hours as possible. Each product we carry has a coded label which one can track to see where, how and who sailed it. The cargo voyages are available for 7 nights onboard , with a full- time cook and professional crew. Cargo crew can get off or join in Douarnenez , the Brittany ferry service is a useful way to connect your trip either way or why not sail back with us and do the whole 14 night round trip. Prices range between £525 and £750 for a week sailing with a discount if you sail the round trip. A wine tasting and a visit to the Douarnenez maritime museum is also included in the price of a cargo voyage.
Since 2014 we have shipped over 15 tonnes of cargo. One delivery fully laden saves five tons of CO2
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
A Greener Way Of Transporting Cargo
The current line up of goods for us to carry are organic wine, ale, tea, gin, vodka, sardines, salted caramel and honey. We are licensed to carry 4.5 tonnes of Cargo in the saloon and 750kg in barrels on deck. All the cargo is hand loadable. We can take up to 8 paying cargo crew , we have 5 permanent crew consisting of Skipper, cook, two watch leaders and 1 deckhand. We supply wet weather gear, life jackets and harnesses. We are a MCA coded vessel and licensed to carry 16 persons.
Clara was about to embark on her gap year and I was keen for some mother/daughter quality time doing something I love but have never really shared with my kids. I thought Grayhound with her family atmosphere and cosy interior would be a perfect introduction to traditional sailing, and transporting cargo by sail would open her eyes to a different way of trading, kinder to the environment. I wasn’t sure though how much she would enjoy it and I was worried she would get seasick. I shouldn’t have…..She loved her early morning watch and enjoyed the transition from starry night to sunrise and the ever-changing colours of the sea and sky…..That’s what Grayhound does to you. It brings you back down to Mother Earth and the bare essentials. We are now sailing close-hauled to Falmouth. The wind is dictating our progress. Clara’s had to shelve plans of meeting up with friends for drinks on Friday night yet she doesn’t mind. She’s happily reading her book waiting for her turn on the helm. We are sitting side by side in the pilot house, the sun is shining outside, Dave is helming, Marcus is resting, Freya will soon cook us one of her delicious meals and we are enjoying just being together on our little self-contained floating world. The trip has definitely brought us closer and has provided Clara with a wonderful insight of what has been a very important part of my life when I was her age. Not many sailing boats are as welcoming to parents and children as Grayhound is. We never felt we were paying guests, we felt part of the family.Feedback from Virginia, cross Channel cargo crew Sep 2015
What To Expect
During your voyage we will ask you to muck in with maintenance jobs like tarring the rigging, splicing ropes, painting, storing cargo, cleaning, veg prep and washing up. Crew will be divided into three watches.You will be able to sample the wine and ale that you will be loading.
Food will be good, wholesome and tasty and organically sourced where possible. It will be food for eating at sea, so big pots of stew, soup, pasta and baked potatoes. Homemade cakes and when in France we always enjoy local bread, pastries and cheese. You will be able to sample the wine and ale that you will be loading.
A reasonable level of fitness is needed for these voyages in order to participate. Once in France the time will be spent off loading and loading more cargo, looking around, storing the ship and some sightseeing. Sailing passages will definitely include over night sails.
You will be much involved, these voyages suit people who are keen to learn and pitch in. We will be naturally teaching navigation as we go along during watches. You do not need any prior sailing experience but you do have to be of an adventurous nature and up for working as part of a watch system and part of a team.
We are the 1st British registered vessel to provide a regular cross channel cargo delivery service under sail. An exciting movement towards a greener way of transporting cargo. We are a member of the Sailing Cargo Alliance.