The Build

996180_10151770612767525_1449877833_nWe love the Lug Rig , it is fast, efficient and simple. The lugsail is an evolved version of the classical square sail. As you can see in the photo opposite of  Grayhound the sails have a tiered appearance, a stunning spectacle in any port. In both rigs, the upper side of the sail is attached to a spar, the yard .The great advantage of the Lug rig is that when the sails are up there are no spars at deck level, just sail cloth. The lugsail was the earliest of the fore and aft rigs. There are different types of Lug Rig. The Grayhound  uses the standing lug, in which the yard remains on one side of the mast and the tack is set close to the mast. On long tacks we will use the dipping lug on the fore mast.

Mug sketch
Sketch of a Lugger by Toni Knights

Our Story

Grayhound on launch day

Lugger man, Paul Greenwood of Looe had suggested that Marcus should build the Grayhound many years before when he was building his 32 ft dipping lugger Veracity see below.

‘Veracity’ Marcus’ first build. A West Country fishing Lugger

Marcus went sailing instead! But many years later with his new partner Freya, the idea of building a new larger lugger was a reality.

Marcus and Freya met in 2004 in Dartmouth when they were working with the Trinity Sailing Trust. Years later they were both sailing back from the West Indies and hooked up in a bar in the Azores. It was here that they fell in love and dreamed of sailing a large vessel which could work commercially, taking paying passengers with them while they continued to sail the globe. Both having worked in the industry for many years, as skipper, mate and cook felt they had the ability and passion to put their stamp on  their own traditional sailing business. When returning to the UK in the summer of 2010 they decided to do it.P1040485

But which type of vessel to choose? To restore or build new? These were the questions. Answers came when they were sailing back from Brittany that summer and passed La Cancalaise sailing by with all her sails up. It was a windless afternoon and a saxaphone was playing on deck, the music drifting across the channel. At that moment they were struck with inspiration to find and build an English version of a three masted lugger and get sailing. Something that has not been done in the UK for over 200 years.

On their return from France, they dropped anchor in Cawsand Bay, friends Chris and Marsha Rees rowed out to greet them. Chris a well respected boat builder in the South West, who works out of Millbrook was instantly interested in their plan. In 2008 Chris built the Spirit of Mystery for Pete Goss , who then sailed her to the Southern Ocean. Like history repeating it self but this time by Chris not Paul, the Grayhound plans were brought to the table and toasted with Caribbean Rum and a good meal that night in Cawsand Bay.

The plans that started the whole idea

From that day on Freya and Marcus started work in earnest.Chris agreed to take on the design and head the build. Late December 2010 saw Marcus start to fell oak trees from his mum’s fields. Fairlie Restorations  fed Chris’ plans into the computer to give us our structural assesments, stability information and framing patterns.

April 2011 saw tonnes of wood delivered and processed in Chris Rees’ yard in Millbrook. The lovely sunny days aided the framing and treenail drying. By August the boat was in piles, like a massive jigsaw ready to be constructed in Voyager’s Shed 1. With new baby boy Malachi now on the scene the team was complete.

Six full time shipwrights gathered including Marcus and an apprentice from the village. Freya and Malachi ran the office and launched the business Grayhound Lugger Sailing. A venture that they hoped would provide a good life for them as a family, while treading as lightly as possible on the earth’s resources and still earn them a living.

Click on the link below to watch us featured on BBC spotlight news

Grayhound after framing was completed

The Grayhound quickly took shape, she had a keel laying party where a lot of people came to celebrate her conception and toast our newly laid keel and frames. Planking started in September 2011 and ended in February 2012. There was no steam involved in the planking.


We fastened the planking with treenails, also known as a trenails or trunnels, they are wooden pegs that were traditionally used to fasten timbers in shipbuilding.deck views

For generations shipbuilding used treenails as a standard way to

bind the boat together, now it seems a method that

By Rosanna Shakerley

is long out of fashion but in using them they have huge open evening They do

Build Gallerynot give rise to “nail-sickness” which is a term for decay accelerated and concentrated around metal fastenings. The life expectancy for treenail

096 fastenings is about 80 – 100 years if the vessel is cared for, as opposed to metal fastenings lasting 25 years. Having plenty of oak to work with we wanted to 012


replicate this age old process in such a traditional vessel, and keep the skill alive.

Our Sponsorship scheme involved  over 4000 people, their names and messages written on Treenails inside the Grayhound.


August the 4th


By Adam Purser
By Adam Purser

Saturday 4th August 2012:  History being Written

When your grandchildren ask “Where where you on Super Saturday when Jesse Ennis won the Heptathlon and Mo Farrah triumphed in the 10 000 metres ?”

The cool answer is “At Grayhound Sailing Lugger Launch Party” 582114_10151284226787525_985571717_n

I am incredibly proud and full of emotion to have witnessedBy Freya Hart a momentous day for Marcus Rowden and Freya Hart in real life, but it was icing on the cake to discover the next morning that huge human endeavor in the Olympic stadium had brought success to other young Brits realizing their dreams on the same day.

By Classic Sailing
By Classic Sailing

A weekend for pride, tears and joy….. to read the whole review by Debbie Purser click here



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