A question many of our guests ask is what we do in the 6 months we are not cruising – do we lock up the boats and go off to the Caribbean for the winter?! In fact, running a small-ship cruising company is a year round job – much of the really hard work takes place in the off season! As soon as the cruising season is over we start work on improving and maintaining our vessels for the following season for the continuing safety and comfort of our guests. But its really enjoyable planning and working to make things even better for our guests - and with winter views like this at Corpach on the Caledonian Canal, who's complaining!

After our first highly successful year with Proud Seahorse, we have identified how to enhance guest comfort and experience even more. On the exterior of the vessel, new handrails are being fitted right around the foredeck, along with new benches and tables. This will be a great asset for our guests allowing another ‘look out’ area, and great photo opportunities for wildlife and scenery in safety. Also, as it happens, this will be a great place for sundowners whilst watching the spectacular west coast sunsets. New railings are also being fitted on our fly bridge, allowing for greater safety and access to this area too. We have incorporated a new external heated boot storage bench and seating at the aft deck. The opportunity to walking ashore is a major feature of our cruises and our guests will be able to easily stow and air their walking gear, to be ready for the following day’s excursion. The adjacent lifejacket storage makes accessing safety gear for trips ashore on the tender easier too.

Internally, we have designed a new layout for the galley, dining room and bar area to make it even more comfortable and relaxing for communal dining and socialising.

A major engineering upgrade for Proud Seahorse is new stabilisers, requiring detailed liaising with the manufacturer regarding the best type for the boat. Skippers Rob and Chris will do the actual installation which they feel is very worthwhile for the safety and comfort of our guests.

Proud Seahorse will be getting a complete exterior paint job soon too.

Elizabeth G will be getting her major upgrade in the winter of 2018 when she converts to ensuite cabins. For 2018 the only cosmetic improvement is a new ‘Elizabeth G’ sign to be mounted on the front of the Wheelhouse.

However many other upgrades were identified which are essential for the smooth running of the ship. New benches and lockers were provided for the foredeck to allow easier access for lifejackets and provide better storage for ropes and safety equipment. There is new storage for dry goods under the wheelhouse and the engine room wiring is completely replaced. She will be fully painted internally including the steering compartment and the engine room.

And now for the really technical bit! Elizabeth G is being slipped at Mallaig boatyard where she is getting new seals on the stabilisers fins and greasers installed, new anti-fouling and a full external paint job. She will have her prop shafts checked, new anodes installed, and our surveyor will give her the annual certifying inspection. Whew!

So roll on the cruising season when work is more like play, entertaining our guests in the glorious setting of the Hebrides and the west coast of Scotland!