Our three unique small ships are berthed in Dunstaffnage Marina, a superb marina in an idyllic location, just three miles north of Oban.
Dunstaffnage Marina is perfectly located in beautiful surroundings with easy access to Scotland’s west coast. Nearby Oban is a bustling little ferry port and is the gateway to the Hebridean isles. You can visit local islands, take wildlife tours, sample the local whisky, explore beautiful sandy beaches, admire ancient castles, fly-fish for trout on the local lochs and play picturesque and challenging golf courses.
Our three quirky small ships are the ex-tall ship St Hilda (maximum 6 people), the ex-Norwegian ferry Seahorse II (maximum 11 people) and the ex-cruising lifeboat Gemini Explorer (maximum 8 people). All of our vessels have been converted to ensure that you will have a unique self-catering experience both in comfort and style in an authentic small ship environment.
Please note that with our self-catering option there is no crew aboard and the vessels are not setting sail. From April to October we also offer small ship cruising and wildlife holidays to the Inner and Outer Hebrides: https://www.sthildaseaadventures.co.uk/.
COVID19: We will only have new guests joining 72 hours after the previous guests. During the 72 hours the vessels will be deepcleaned and sanitised. You will find in your cabin a complimentary ‘pocket sized’ bottle of hand sanitizer (alcohol based).
The Three Unique Small Ships
St Hilda - an ex-Tall Ship
Our classic vessel, an ex-tall ship, St Hilda, is a traditional, beamy, 54ft wooden (larch on oak) ketch. St Hilda is a vessel with an incredible Scottish lineage. Built in 1973 to the highest standard (Lloyds 100A1) at St Monans, Fife, by the internationally famous Millers boatyard (a family run business with 200 years of wooden boat building) and designed by G.L Watson, the world famous Glasgow based naval architect, who created the world's first yacht design office in 1873 and designed early America's Cup challengers (such as Thistle, Shamrock II, Valkyrie I and II) as well as the famous racing yacht Britannia.
St Hilda was built specifically for sail training with a crew of 20. By 2007 St Hilda was converted for cruising with only eight people. St Hilda is one of the smallest of the “Tall Ships” and has competed in several Tall Ship Races.
Cabins are warm and comfortable with six berths for our guests: a double en-suite (with shower, toilet, washbasin and two pretty opening portholes), a twin semi en-suite (with toilet, washbasin and opening porthole) and a twin cabin (with washbasin). The twin cabins are both close to the toilet and shower rooms which are of a high standard for a yacht. All cabin linen and towels are supplied. The well-lit, roomy deck saloon is where everyone dines and socialises and where everyone enjoys a convivial atmosphere. The outdoor decks are perfect for relaxing and you also have some deck space to embark your own equipment such as kayaks and surfboards.
Seahorse II - an ex-Norwegian Ferry
Seahorse II (82 feet long and a beamy 23 feet) was built to the highest standard for the Norwegian fjords and life in the high northern latitudes. A 10mm Swedish steel hull, air conditioned and heated throughout, and winter sailing for the British Royal Navy for months at a time in the western approaches means that our wee ship is perfect for holidays on the west coast of Scotland.
On Seahorse II there is space for a maximum of eleven guests. There are two double/twin en-suites (with shower, toilet and washbasin), two twin semi en-suites (with toilet and washbasin), two single cabins (with washbasin) and one double/single cabin with a 105 cm wide bed (with washbasin). All cabin linen and towels are supplied. There is a wonderful deck saloon where you can dine. The spacious aft deck is ideal for alfresco dining. Here there is also plenty of room for your windsurf, kayaks and anything else you need for a great Scottish adventure.
Gemini Explorer (72 feet long) 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. She was built in 1974 in Bideford Shipyard as the City of Bristol (70-003), one of three, Clyde class, cruising lifeboats (see Wikipedia) with an extended offshore range of 1700 miles. 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.
Gemini Explorer has had extensive re-fits. 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 the role she once played as a cruising lifeboat.
Cabins are warm and comfortable with eight berths for our guests. In the forward part of the vessel there is a double en-suite, a twin en-suite and a single en-suite. In the aft part of the vessel there is a twin cabin and a double cabin (with a 125 cm wide bed). These aft cabins share a bathroom. All en-suites and the shared bathroom have a washbasin, toilet and shower. All cabin linen and towels are supplied. The deck saloon is where everyone dines and socialises and where everyone enjoys a convivial atmosphere. There is an upper viewing deck complete with teak benches and perfect for relaxing. You also have some deck space to embark your own equipment such as kayaks and paddleboards.
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