• The Boat is MCA coded 3 which allows us to take her out 20 miles from safe haven day or night.
  • We can carry 10 passengers plus 2 crew.
  • She has two life rafts with a combined capacity of fourteen people.
  • She is powered by a ford Mariner diesel engine giving 135 horse power.
  • She can achieve nine knots but is happy around seven.

The Beginning of a Very Long Journey

Kim and i decided way back in 2009 that we would like to move to the Isle of Skye and set up a photography and filming business. Part of that business was to involve taking people out to photograph and film from a boat, we thought well if we had our own boat then we would have more control over where and when we could operate. We knew that operating the boat commercially would require various qualifications and certifications. Boy how little did we know back then of what was to come. 

We bought the Girl Alison II down in Exmouth and knew it was a fixer upper. She is a traditionally built wooden clinker design with Larch planks on Oak ribs. She was built in 1987 by Swansea Maritime Services and is 37 foot long and 13ft wide. It was her size that appealed to me the most. Boats are rarely built this way toady as the cost is prohibitive. 
 

 

Converting the Girl Alison II Into  MV Wild Skye

Once the boat was secured on the boat yard we took the decision to rip everything out and start again. That was hard decision but clearly the only one that would offer us a best long term solution to her maintenance. Also, sailing the boat up from Exmouth allowed me the opportunity to get to know her and i was frustrated with a long list of things. 

Over the next couple of years we rebuilt her. She has been altered in many key areas to improve her responsiveness to the helm and basically make the skippers life easier sailing her. The wheelhouse was completely re-designed with much larger windows and the helm placed on the starboard side. A new engine was fitted giving me a complete knowledge of its maintenance history. 

The Broadford boatyard owner Alan Edmunds and his sons, were a great source of information and assistance, and we owe our thanks to them, their knowledge and skill made a hard job much easier. Also we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Brian and Angela Green whose help was invaluable. Last but not least, we owe a great deal of thanks to john my father who has been there from the off.

We're Off At Last

The decision was finally made to put her back in the water, the major work was completed and a sea trial was required. The boatyard uses a huge cradle system to retrieve and launch boats. The process is straightforward, simply suspend the boat on winched slings until the tide rises sufficiently to lift the boat clear. Once afloat the boat is pulled clear of the frame and off you go. It is of course a worrying time but far less  stressful than using a huge crane.

One of the worries is whether the planks are tight and that you don't take on water, fortunately they were. We motored her over to the moorings next to Broadford Pier and left her overnight. The following day i sailed her round to Loch Eynort where we took shelter for a couple of days whilst the weather improved, then round to her mooring in Loch Harport.