Gemini Explorer - an ex-Cruising Lifeboat

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. Gemini Explorer 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 she has had extensive re-fits and modifications including a new galley, high bulwarks, viewing top deck, en-suite accommodation and a well lit saloon. 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. 

Gemini Explorer has voyaged as far away as Greenland and, for the last 10 years, sailed as a charter vessel on the east coast of Scotland. After a further refit and upgrade in 2020, she is now sailing the beautiful islands and sea lochs of Scotland’s west coast as part of St Hilda Sea Adventures little fleet. 


The deck saloon is where everyone dines and socialises and where everyone enjoys a convivial atmosphere that is encouraged by shipboard life aboard this ex-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 single en-suite. In the aft part of the vessel there is a twin cabin (with washbasin) and a single cabin (with a 125 cm wide bed). These aft cabins shares the bathroom with the two crew. All en-suites and the shared bathroom have a washbasin, toilet and shower. 

There is an upper viewing deck complete with teak benches and perfect for spotting wildlife and relaxing. You also have some deck space to embark your own equipment such as kayaks and paddleboards. You will also be able to use the onboard two person sea kayak.

Accommodation Layout - Lower Deck 

Please note this drawing is not to scale and is a diagrammatic representation of the vessel's layout. 

Your Crew

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 also have your own on board chef who provides wonderful meals, locally-sourced and freshly prepared from the galley.