A lugger uses lug sails on all of its masts

A lug sail is an asymmetrical four-cornered sail. It is suspended from a yard which crosses the mast at a jaunty angle. Lug sails are sensitive to the wind, and they make for fast and agile sailing. Every professional sailor who comes on board Grayhound comments on how easily she picks up the lightest wind, even though she’s so sturdy and strong.

What were luggers for?

Luggers were widely used as working vessels, particularly in France, England, Ireland and Scotland. They varied extensively in size and design. Many were un-decked, open boats; and some of these operated from beach landings. Others were fully decked craft like Grayhound. She was built in 1776 by the UK Revenue and Customs to chase smugglers… because luggers were fast!! She would have carried eight cannon and a crew of nearly 30, all carrying weapons – ready to do battle! Read more about Grayhound’s fascinating history.


The smugglers loved luggers too… because, yes, they were fast! Luggers were involved in smuggling from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Imagine… luggers chasing luggers around the Cornish coast. In the UK and France three-masted luggers also served as privateers: private vessels commissioned by the government to guard against pirates. Luggers were also general trading and fishing vessels. As smuggling declined around 1840, three-masted luggers were adapted for intensive fishing. The mainmast was discarded, and larger lug sails were set on the fore and mizzen masts. This created more space in between them for working the fishing nets. Read about how Grayhound the replica was built.

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