Frequently Asked Questions
Really useful things to bring are wellington/waterproof boots, sturdy footwear, thermals and warm clothes, sea-sickness tablets (if required), hats (cold and warm weather), sunscreen, swimmers, torch, sunglasses, small day-pack earplugs and towel. We provide you with wet-weather gear, life jacket, bed linen, good healthy food and an adventure. You must pack in a soft bag that can easily be stored away as there is no room on board for suitcases. For some of our longer, more physically challenging voyages you will receive a kit list.
You should be there at 1400 local time for most voyages, and at 0900 for a Day Sail. Once you are on board we have a safety briefing, domestic briefing, cups of coffee, and then we get you settled in your bunks, etc. Then we/you have to get the anchor up by hand, so you do not have to be there several hours before embarkation time.
You will be fully immersed in life on board a ship: hoisting sails, steering, general maintenance and helping the cook in the galley. You will also get the opportunity to learn about navigation, weather and sailing in general. This is the only way to fully experience life at sea.
You will be put into one of two or three teams, called ´watches´, which take turns being responsible for the daily tasks on board, even at night on longer passages. Our crew will distribute jobs to everyone so that no-one is left out.
For many good reasons the meals on the ship are mostly vegetarian. Everything is cooked onboard by our excellent chef using regional and organic produce wherever possible. We have a well-equipped galley where we cook healthy and tasty food. What is served also depends on the weather. In heavy weather we are limited by what we are able to cook; when we are at anchor in a quiet fjord in Norway we eat more extravagantly.
We do our best to meet any requests our guests might have, but our cooking and storage facilities are limited. If you have any dietary requirements or a food allergy you must contact us before booking. Since most of our food is vegetarian, vegetarians are always catered for on all our voyages.
There is a shower on board but we use it as little as possible because we have a limited water supply. Also this is a privateer not a cruise ship. We tend to use the showers ashore in the marinas that we visit. There is plenty of seawater for bucket-showers on deck or for a nice morning swim around the ship. Bring biodegradable wet wipes to keep clean. You will be amazed on how fresh you feel at sea!
All the bunks on Grayhound are dormitory style with curtains to give you privacy. The have lee cloths t0 keep you safe in rougher seas. The bunks are very spacious and cozy and have a good amount of headroom with a reading light. Living on a ship is part of the adventure and by the end of your voyage you will know the ship and your shipmates quite well.
We have two state-of-the-art water closets on board. They are a marvel of modern engineering so make sure you pay attention when the crew instructs you how to use them!
We run a dry ship when sailing. When at anchor or in harbour we enjoy a drink or two.
We do not allow smoking below deck. Smoking on deck may be permitted on longer passages at the discretion of the skipper and in designated areas.
The cook is up and puts the kettle on at 7 am and we tend to have breakfast at 8 pm to get the most out of the day. On longer sails when you are part of four hour watch system you will wake up at the strangest hours. On those occasions ´mornings´ will be a very vague concept.
We try to avoid it. We prefer to be anchored somewhere quiet, peaceful and at one with nature. We sometimes go in to fuel up, fill up on water or have showers, depending on where we are and what we need to do.
Come relaxed, knowingthat we will do everything we can to make your voyage the best experience possible. Since we are all different, with different skills and needs, the best thing you can do is ask every question you might have, and make sure to tell us immediately if there is anything you need or might have a problem with. We try to 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 it soon warms up. The best advice is probably that you can´t really prepare for a trip like this. Just come with a good, enthusiastic, open-minded attitude and be ready for an adventure.
People who have not been at sea might worry about being seasick. Seasickness is very normal and for most people it is gone after 24 hrs. If you are worried about seasickness bring your own seasickness tablets (ask your chemist which is the best brand for you, especially if you are taking other medication). Some varieties can make you drowsy. Read the instructions: when to take the pills, how many and how often. Please tell the staff on board what you are taking.
In order to sail on Grayhound it is necessary for you to be healthy, active and have a good fitness level. When we leave the boat to explore ashore we row in our gigs (small dinghies). You have to climb over the side of the ship and lower yourself down into a rigid dinghy in a swell. it is not as easy as it sounds. If you jump off the side for a swim you will have to climb back on board up a rope ladder which can be an unexpected challenge. Sailing Grayhound is physical and you might find yourself in many exciting but challenging situations. Our Day Sails are not as physically challenging as our Adventure Sails or Smuggler´s Runs (Cargo deliveries). Please see What’s in a voyage? page for more details and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have regarding this.
All voyages on Grayhound are hands-on sailing but the majority of 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. You will also learn lots of new skills as splicing, mending, seizing and much more.
We have a wide range of age groups, but normally our guests are between 30-60 years old. Some pretty awesome guys in their seventies have sailed Grayhound and oceans have been crossed with families and their 5-year-olds (accompanied by their parents).
Click the Voyage Calendar 2021 Plan to find a voyage that suits you. There is always a route plan, but we are sailing ship so we are very dependent on the wind and the weather. We might not always end up where we intended to but that is part of the adventure. We do promise to get you back on shore in time.
Our average sailing speed is about 6 knots, thats almost 7 land mph. The maximum speed can be over 12 knots. With the engine the maximum is actually less, only 4-5 knots. But since sailing is more fun and ecological we prefer to sail, even in light winds.
At least one of the crew will be trained in dealing with illness or injury at sea, and if necessary we will get you ashore and to a doctor as quickly as possible. Make sure to bring any medication, inhalers (and spares) that you need – and tell us in advance about your medical condition and medication. We need to know of any serious medical conditions before you book to ensure we provide you with the best experience possible.
There are normally opportunities to go ashore in some of the places we visit. Whenever possible we try to make opportunities for beach BBQs, hikes and visits to interesting local sights.
Grayhound is equipped with SOLAS life rafts and safety equipment. Our ship complies with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Small Commercial and Pilot Boat Code of Practice. It has valid Certificates by MECAL (the International Consultancy & Certifying Authority for Workboats, Small Commercial Vessels 6 Large Yachts) and is authorized 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 ship meet all the legal requirements to operate as a commercial, Category Zero vessel, which is quite unique in the sailing industry. The skipper and First Mate are qualified to Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster Level with Commercial Endorsement. All personal safety equipment, such as life jackets, is checked regularly, and professionally serviced annually. Every voyage starts with a safety briefing and the crew regularly practices all the necessary safety maneuvers.
Bring your RYA logbook, seaman´s book or equivalent if you have one. It allows you to keep track of all your sailing and qualifications. Our skipper will sign it at the end of your voyage.
If your voyage is sailing to foreign shores, 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.
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 via the internet. For Swedes, that’s through Försäkringskassan. Make sure to check that your Travel Insurance covers sailing trips.
Welcome on board!