St Hilda Sea Adventures

Three unique small ships offering self-catering static stays in an idyllic marina location in the Inner Hebrides from mid October-March.

Key Points

  • Book one of 3 gorgeous boats - sleeping 6 - 11 guests for a moored adventure near Oban.
  • The boats come with comfy cabins and en-suite bathrooms.
  • Enjoy life up on the decks where you can take in the beautiful surroundings.


Gold Award winners for Green Tourism!

Three unique small ships, available for self-catered static stays, are berthed in Dunstaffnage Marina, a superb marina in an idyllic location, just three miles north of Oban. Whole boat rental. Choose a boat for your group size - St Hilda (6 guests) / Seahorse (11 guests / Gemini 8 guests. Reduced rates offered for less guests in Seahorse. See more details on each vessel below.

Static stays only offered from mid October until the end of March. Please note that with the self-catering option there is no crew aboard and the vessels are not setting sail. Small ship cruising and wildlife holidays to the Inner and Outer Hebrides are also offered from April to October. 

Dunstaffnage Marina is perfectly located in beautiful surrounds with easy access to Scotland’s west coast. Nearby Oban is the 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.

The 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 three 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. 

COVID19: The property will only have new guests joining 72 hours after the previous guests. During the 72 hours the vessels will be deep cleaned 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 (6 guests)

This 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 guests: a double en-suite (with shower, toilet, washbasin and two pretty opening portholes), a twin 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 (11 guests)

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 this 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 wasbashin), two twin semi-ensuites (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 - an ex-Cruising Lifeboat (8 guests)

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 role she once played as a cruising lifeboat. 


Cabins are warm and comfortable with eight berths for 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 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. 


·         Seahorse II: £396 per vessel per night for 6 to 11 people, £294 per vessel per night for 4 or 5 people, £250 for 3 people or less

·         Gemini Explorer: £294 per vessel per night. 

·         St Hilda: £204 per vessel per night. 

·        Included: Electricity, gas (St Hilda), bed linen, shower and hand towels (not beach towels), tea towels, cleaning and washing up materials (dish washer tablets supplied on Seahorse II and Gemini Explorer).

·         Minimum three nights stay.

Room Types

Double Ensuite
Whole property for 5 or more







 Dining area



 Dining area

Nearby (within 5 miles)


 Pub / Bar




 Family friendly site

On Arrival

 Included - Linen

 Included - Towels




Young Children

 Take care - Near water

 Welcome all ages


 Quiet location

Nearest Airport/s


Content updated on 18th May 2022 by Louise Catterall, Content Editor at QuirkyAccom in collaboration with Julie Dubois Marshall from St Hilda Sea Adventures