In 2011 Freya and Marcus Pomeroy-Rowden decided to build an English version of a three-masted lugger – something that hadn’t been done in 200 years. The well-respected boat builder, Chris Rees, found the plans of a 1776 Revenue lugger, Grayhound, and agreed to lead the design and build the ship at his boatyard: Voyager Boatyard, Millbrook, Cornwall.

In December 2010 Marcus began felling oak trees on his mum’s fields in Cornwall. Fairlie Restorations fed Chris Rees’ plans into their computer and produced structural assessments, stability information and framing patterns. 

In April 2011 the oak wood was delivered to Voyager Boatyard where it was cut into shapes. By August these were in piles, like a massive jigsaw puzzle, ready to be constructed.

Six full-time shipwrights gathered, including Marcus and an apprentice from the village. Grayhound quickly took shape. There was a keel-laying party attended by many supporters. Planking started in September 2011 and ended in February 2012. The planks were fastened with wooden pegs known as ‘treenails’, ‘trenails’ or ‘trunnels’. These treenail fastenings were used in shipbuilding for thousands of years as a standard way of binding a boat. They are now long out of fashion, but they have huge advantages. The life expectancy of treenails is 80–100 years, compared to metal fastenings which last about 25 years. 

The work continued through 2012. Two early-19th-century cannon were found on the seabed nearby and installed.

Grayhound was launched at Voyager Boatyard on 4th August 2012, and was completed the following year.

A sponsorship scheme to support the construction of Grayhound involved over 4000 people. Their names and messages are written on treenails throughout the ship, so she is full of good wishes and friendship! The shipwrights were Demetri Wetzel, Marcus O’Dee, Peter Steele, Richard Burke, Russell Ferriday, Matthew Stevens and Sam Carne.

Time-lapse videos of the building of Grayhound

Build Part 1
Build Part 2

I very much enjoyed the jolly company of the GRAYHOUND crew, from learning to sail the lugger to relaxing on board. The owners, skipper and crew were very hospitable and kind, and generous in sharing their expertise. The food was delicious.

May the winds take you on your dream sail.

Jenifer White, June 2022

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