Gemini Explorer - an ex-Cruising Lifeboat

Our new mini cruise ship (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. Gemini Explorer 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. 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. 


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 and a double cabin (with a 120 cm wide bed). This aft cabin shares the bathroom with the two crew.

All en-suites and the bathroom have a washbasin, toilet and shower. All cabin linen and towels are supplied.

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.

Solo Traveller 

We are happy to offer the two aft cabins with no additional single supplement. 

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 Hebrides and Argyll. 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.