Frequently Asked Questions

What time shall I arrive?

For voyages longer than one day please arrive at 2.00pm unless we send you a different arrival time. For day sails please arrive at the meeting place at 9.00am.

Can I bring a suitcase or bag?

Suitcases are not suitable. Any bag you bring must be soft, so that we can store it away.

What kind of clothes do I need to bring?

For day sails in colder weather please bring warm clothes, coat, hat, and gloves. For voyages longer than one day please bring thermals, warm clothes, coat, hat (cold and warm weather) and gloves.

What kind of shoes should I wear?

You need to bring sturdy, flat-soled shoes for sailing.
Wellington/waterproof boots are useful, especially for sails longer than one day. No open-toed shoes or sandals when sailing, please. No heels (they damage the deck). 

Do I need to bring wet-weather gear?

No. We can supply wet-weather gear if necessary.

Do you supply life jackets?

Yes, for all our voyages we provide you with a lifejacket. We have life jackets for all ages.

Will I need sunscreen?

Yes! It’s essential to bring sunscreen for all our trips in the summer.

What else shall I bring?

We suggest bringing a small day-pack, sunglasses, swimming costume, torch, earplugs, towel, sea-sickness tablets (if required). Biodegradable wet-wipes are a good idea too.

Can I bring children?

Babies and children are welcome on board, accompanied by an adult, for our day sails only. We have life jackets for all ages. Babies and children are not permitted on longer journeys.

How accessible is the ship? 

Access throughout the ship (including the stairs to the toilets) requires a good level of flexibility. Unfortunately Grayhound is not wheelchair-accessible. We are happy to recommend wheelchair-accessible ships. 

What kind of food do we eat onboard?

For many good reasons the meals on board Grayhound are mostly vegetarian. Therefore vegetarians are always catered for. Everything is cooked onboard by our excellent chef, using regional and organic produce whenever possible.
We have a well-equipped galley (kitchen).

The meals on Grayhound are famously good! But please note: what our chef can cook will depend on the sea conditions. In strong weather on a big sea there is a limit to what one can do. When we are at anchor in a Norwegian fjord we eat more extravagantly.

What if I have specific dietary requirements?

We do our best to meet the dietary needs of our guests; but if you have dietary requirements, or a food allergy, you must please contact us before booking.

Do you have a toilet?

Yes. We have two toilets on board. They are a marvel of modern engineering! 

Can I shower on board?

There is a shower on board but we use it as little as possible, because we have a limited freshwater supply. Also this is a replica 18th century ship not a cruise ship! There is plenty of seawater for taking bucket showers on deck; or you can take a swim around the ship. Please also bring biodegradable wet-wipes to help keep yourself clean. You will be amazed at how fresh you feel at sea! 

Where will I sleep?

All the bunks on Grayhound are dormitory style. They have curtains to give you privacy, and ‘lee cloths’ to keep you safe in rougher seas. The bunks are spacious and cozy, with a good amount of headroom and a reading light. Living aboard ship is part of the adventure. 

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?

No. We supply fresh bed linen for your bunk.

What time do we wake up?

The cook rises and puts the kettle on at 7.00 am and we have breakfast at 8.00 am. On longer sails, when you are part of the ‘watch system’, you will wake up at the strangest hours. On those occasions, ‘morning’ will be a vague concept!

What will I learn and what tasks will I do?

You will be fully immersed in life on board Grayhound. You will hoist sails, steer the ship, help the chef in the galley, and assist with general maintenance. You will have opportunities to learn about navigation, weather and sailing in general.  

You will be put into one of two or three teams called ‘watches’. These teams take turns to do all the tasks, in four-hour shifts, including (please note) at night on longer passages. 

How physically fit do I need to be?

If you sail with us for more than one day, you will need to have a good level of physical fitness. When we leave the boat we row ashore in wooden gigs (small, rigid dinghies). You have to climb over the side of the ship and lower yourself into a rigid dinghy; if there is a sea-swell this isn’t easy!
If you jump off the side for a morning swim you will need to climb back up a rope-ladder which can also be an unexpected challenge. You will often find yourself in exciting, challenging situations like these. 
Each voyage has its own challenge rating to indicate how physically challenging it can be. You’ll find more details in About Voyages. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Can our route and schedule change?

Yes. There is always a route plan; but this is a sailing ship, so we are dependent on the wind and weather. Our departure and arrival ports may have to change, and that is part of the adventure. Please see our Terms and Conditions for more details.

During a longer voyage do we lower the anchor or go ashore?

Yes. Though we try to avoid marinas. We prefer to anchor somewhere peaceful and be at one with nature. Occasionally we visit a marina to refuel, fill up our freshwater supply, and take a shower.
There is sometimes the opportunity to go ashore by rowing from the ship to the shore. We enjoy BBQs on beaches, hikes, and visits to interesting local sights.

How do I prepare for longer voyages?

Come relaxed, knowing that we will do everything we can to make your voyage the best experience possible.

The best thing you can do is ask every question you might have, and tell us immediately if there is anything you need or might have a problem with. We keep our eyes and ears open but sometimes we miss something or give information in an unclear way.

Everyone feels nervous at the start, but then relaxes. Come with a good, enthusiastic, open-minded attitude and be ready for an adventure.

Can I join a voyage if I have never sailed before?

All voyages on Grayhound – including day sails – are hands-on sailing, but many people who sail with us have never sailed before. Our crew will explain, teach and guide you through everything you need to know to be able to sail on Grayhound. On longer journeys you will learn lots of new skills, such as splicing, mending, seizing and much more.

Can I build up my sailing qualifications?

You can build up your sailing qualifications, especially if you bring your Royal Yachting Association logbook, seaman’s book or equivalent. Our skipper will sign it for you. 

Do I need a passport and/or visa?

If your voyage is sailing to another (or more than one other) country, you will require a full passport that is valid for six months after the end of the voyage, or an identity card. You will be responsible for obtaining any necessary visas.

What kind of travel/medical insurance do I need?

Make sure your travel insurance covers sailing trips, including travel beyond 12 nautical miles from shore.

European citizens can obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC is a replacement for the old E111 and is free. Application forms are available online. For Swedish nationals, that’s through Försäkringskassan. For everything you need to know about EHIC, including how it works, coverage, cost, status after Brexit, the application process, validity, and more, delve into website.” 

Will I get seasick?

Seasickness is common for some. For most it goes away within 24 hours. If you have had trouble with seasickness before please ask your pharmacist for seasickness pills and bring them along.    

What if I have a medical condition and/or medication?

Please bring any other medication that you need, including inhalers (and spares). 

If you have a serious medical condition, please tell us about it before you book, and about your medication.  

What speeds do we sail at?

Our average sailing speed is about 5 knots; that’s almost 7 land-miles per hour. The maximum speed can be over 12 knots. When we use the engine the maximum is actually less: only 4-5 knots. Since sailing is more ecological we prefer to sail, even in light winds. Grayhound is amazingly receptive to the lightest wind. Experienced sailors are always impressed by this characteristic of hers! 

How do you respond to accidents and emergencies?

We are prepared for accidents and emergencies. At any time, at least one of the crew is trained in first aid and will deal with illness or small injuries at sea. If necessary we will get you ashore to a doctor as quickly as possible.

In the case of a serious accident or illness we have a top-of-the-range onboard satellite communication system to contact emergency services (it also operates as a GPS tracking system for them to know where Grayhound is). 

Our crew will train you in safety drills and what to do in an emergency, including fire. We carry three high-tech life rafts which our permanent crew are trained to use. Our satellite communication system can issue SOS alerts.

How do you manage safety?

Every voyage starts with a safety briefing, and the crew regularly practices all the necessary safety manoeuvres. All personal safety equipment, such as life jackets, is checked regularly, and serviced professionally each year.  

Our ship complies with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Small Commercial and Pilot Boat Code of Practice. It has valid Certificates from MECAL (the International Consultancy & Certifying Authority for Workboats, Small Commercial Vessels and Large Yachts) and is authorised by the UK Dept for Transport (Maritime & Coastguard Agency).

Annual surveys by a MECAL representative, and regular maintenance, ensure that all the safety equipment and the entire ship meet all the legal requirements to operate as a commercial, category zero vessel. (Category zero is unusual in the sailing world.) 

The Captain and First Mate are qualified to Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster Level with Commercial Endorsement.

Can I drink alcohol?

We run a dry ship when sailing so you are not permitted to drink alcohol when we are at sea. When at anchor or in harbour we enjoy a drink or two. 

Can I smoke?

We do not allow smoking below deck. On longer journeys, smoking on deck is at the discretion of the captain, in designated areas. 

Let us answer your question

If you still have a question, we’re very happy to answer it directly. Please contact us using the form below.

    An amazing experience with the fantastic crew, skipper and owners. The food (the very best I’ve ever eaten as a veggie) and company were just superb!”

    Yvonne Smith, June 2022
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