Vessel Type: Small Ship
Length: 72 feet / 21.9 meters
Passenger Capacity: 8
Built / refurbished: 1974 / 2020
The new mini cruise ship is a historic, converted cruising lifeboat that once roamed the Western Approaches and was involved in the storm of the ill-fated 1979 Fastnet Race. Gemini Explorer was built in 1974 in Bideford Shipyard as the City of Bristol (70-003), one of three, Clyde class, cruising lifeboats with an extended offshore range of 1700 miles. She is powered by two powerful Gardner diesel engines and she will achieve speeds of up to twelve knots. The Gemini Explorer entered service at the Clovelly Lifeboat Station on the North Devonshire coast and, after saving 44 lives, was finally retired in 1989.
Since then, after extensive re-fits and modifications (including a new galley, high bulwarks, viewing top deck, en-suite accommodation and a well lit saloon), she has been converted to a mini cruise ship and today sails as the Gemini Explorer. However, there are parts of the insides of the vessel that have been kept in their original state to give an exciting insight in to role she once played as a cruising lifeboat.
As a mini cruise ship she has voyaged as far away as Greenland and, for the last 10 years, sailed as a charter vessel on the east coast of Scotland. In 2020 after a further refit and upgrade she will be sailing the beautiful islands and sea lochs of Scotland’s west coast as part of St Hilda Sea Adventures little fleet.
Vessel Type: ex-Norwegian Rescue Ship
Length: 75 feet / 22.9 meters
Passenger Capacity: 8
Speideren – An ex-Norwegian Rescue Ship
Speideren, 75 feet long with a cruising range of 4,000 nautical mile, was built in Norway in 1969 as a Rescue Ship (one of 13 such vessels) for the NSSR - the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue. Sturdily built with two powerful, reliable engines, a mighty hull, deep keel and strong superstructure, Speideren (which is Norwegian for “Scout”) worked the unpredictable waters of the North and Arctic Seas, rescuing and towing many a crippled vessel.
Following decommissioning, in 1994 a conversion was carried out to create a fast, luxurious cruising vessel for a private owner and very recently further improvements have been made which include a viewing deck, en-suite accommodation, and a well-lit deck saloon. Today Speideren makes an ideal small cruising ship for taking guests of all ages comfortably, swiftly and safely on adventures to the remote inlets and lochs of Scotland’s Wild Isles, travelling as far away as St Kilda in the Atlantic Ocean.
The saloon is where everyone dines and socialises and where everyone enjoys a convivial atmosphere that is encouraged by shipboard life aboard this ex-Norwegian Recue Ship. Cabins are warm and comfortable, with eight berths in four cabins that are situated in the forward part of the vessel. The three double and one twin en-suite cabins, intimate and mellow, are fitted out in traditional varnished hardwood with soft antique light. Two of the cabins are especially spacious and luxurious with granite washbasins and polished brass taps! All the bunks are soft and comfortable and all cabin linen and towels are supplied.
The decks are spacious with comfortable seating on the sheltered after deck for comfortable wildlife observing. You also have plenty of deck space in which to bring your own equipment such as kayaks and paddleboards. There is an on board tender in which the crew takes you safely ashore to visit the villages and remote parts of Wild Scotland.
Your professional skipper is passionate about boats, sailing, and the natural environment of the islands and sea lochs of the Inner and Outer Hebrides. He is more than happy to share his knowledge of the area to those on board while ensuring his shipmates have as much fun as possible. You will have your own on board chef who provides wonderful meals, locally-sourced and freshly prepared from the galley and a bosun/crewmember who will be there to provide assistance whenever you will need it.