"High Winds" is the fourth episode of the television series "TUGS" in the UK & AU.


An evil gangster tramper, named Johnny Cuba, sailed into Bigg City Port. But, as Captain Star remembers all too well, no-one expects trouble that day, as they are too busy worrying about the forecast high winds.

In the heart of Bigg City Port, O.J. tells Ten Cents and Sunshine to bring in Scuttlebutt Pete, who is dredging in the bay. Ten Cents and Sunshine see Zebedee passing through with several barges. One of his barges comes loose. Ten Cents and Sunshine help him secure it against their inclinations. Zebedee equally grudgingly thanks them but he knows that if Captain Zero heard about it, he'd be furious.

Out in the estuary, Johnny Cuba sees the way is clear, and decides to slip into port, to meet his “business pals”- fellow gangsters, presumably trampers. The Coast Guard sees him and prepares to inspect him as he is suspected of smuggling, but Johnny Cuba deliberately runs him into some rocks. Nearby, Zebedee is looking for ships that may need a tow, and soon sees Johnny come into view from around the corner. Johnny orders Zebedee to bring him into the harbour. Zebedee tries to make excuses, for reasons which are explained later, but Johnny Cuba won't take no for an answer. Zebedee reluctantly tows him to the disused docks, where he will later meet his friends.

It is now revealed that years ago, something happened between Captain Zero and Johnny Cuba, so Zebedee can’t tell the Captain about him, as he has already helped him. As Zebedee tries to find a way out of his difficult situation, he sees Ten Cents and Sunshine struggling to secure Scuttlebutt Pete. He needs to get home before the storm breaks, but the wind’s too strong for the switchers to handle. Ten Cents calls to Zebedee for help. Zebedee is obliged to help as he owes them one. He kindly helps secure Scuttlebutt, but hopes Captain Zero does not find out.

Later, thinking no-one is about, Zebedee steals a coal barge, thinking himself unobserved, but Top Hat sees him, and goes to check with Captain Star.

Zebedee brings the coal to Johnny, and begs him to let him carry out his orders. Johnny Cuba finally agrees, but wants him back that night.

Further away, Warrior speaks to Big Mac about how Sally Seaplane told him that Hercules has the Princess Alice in tow, who has been damaged at sea. They go to tell O.J., so they can all help bring her in.

Out in the estuary, Zebedee finds the Coast Guard trapped on the rocks. The Coast Guard tells Zebedee about Johnny Cuba. Zebedee takes him to Lucky's Yard for repairs. From Zebedee's reaction at the mention of his name, the Coast Guard correctly guesses that Zebedee has helped Johnny Cuba, but decides to be lenient with him because he has helped him as well.

Zebedee sees Zorran, who says how he’s supposed to be out answering distress calls. Scuttlebutt Pete must have been gossiping, because Zorran knows Zebedee has been helping the Star tugs. Zebedee ignores Zorran, and steams away from him. Zorran eagerly anticipates the Stars docking Princess Alice. It’s very difficult and dangerous work, thanks to the high winds and furthermore her damaged rudder, which means she can’t assist. All seems lost when the Stars start to lose her, and any second will be crushed between her and the quayside. They desperately need another tug. The Fire Launch is unable to help, as he is on standby in case of fire. Reluctantly, Zebedee darts in, and saves the day, much to Zorran's shock and disgust.

Once again, Zebedee meets up with Johnny Cuba, as ordered. Just as Johnny is about to give more dirty work, Hercules shows up. He says Johnny shall be taken to the authorities. Johnny tries to escape, but Zebedee finally plucks up the courage to stand up to him, and stops him getting away by blocking him in. Johnny gets what he deserves, and is held by the authorities, who give official thanks to both Zebedee and Hercules.

It is soon dusk, and the weather is now lovely and calm. Ten Cents and Sunshine happen upon Zebedee. Zebedee tells them how happy Captain Zero is about how Johnny’s now locked up. While Ten Cents and Sunshine give him further thanks for helping out with Scuttlebutt Pete, Ten Cents hesitantly offers Zebedee a place among the Star Tugs. But Zebedee angrily declines and leaves. Captain Star gives the episode's moral, "Everyone must have a good streak in them somewhere, even Z-Stacks ".



  • This is the first and only episode to feature Johnny Cuba, although his model was later reused in different episodes.
  • This is the only time in the series when a Z-Stack is the focus character.
  • During the docking, the Princess Alice has one of her lifeboats lowered on the port side.
  • Stock footage from Jinked is used.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of the Princess Alice.
  • The ending shot of Zebedee chugging into the sunset is the one seen during the director's credit in the intro for 15 minute episodes.
  • This is the first episode not to feature Zip.
  • This is the second episode not to feature Zak.
  • There are several scenes only seen in the photo book:
    • Captain Zero giving his tugs salvage orders.
    • Ten Cents and Sunshine visiting Lillie Lightship. (from footage seen in 4th July).
    • Johnny telling Sunshine to scram.
    • Ten Cents and Sunshine talking to the Coast Guard about Johnny Cuba.
    • Sally Seaplane telling Warrior about the Princess Alice (only mentioned in the episode).
    • Towards the end, Captain Zero scolds Zebedee for helping the Star Tugs with the Princess Alice, as well as the rest of his tugs for not getting any salvage. The Coast Guard then appears, and explains to Captain Zero about Zebedee and Hercules with Johnny Cuba. He thanks Zebedee, and leaves.
    • When Johnny Cuba is in the old docks he appears to be lower in the water than at the port limits boundaries.
  • The Japanese title of this episode translates to "Zebedee and the Gangster".


  • The Fire Tug said that he couldn't help with Princess Alice because he was needed in case of fire but when Zebedee leaves, The Fire Tug is helping with Princess Alice.

More InfoEdit

High Winds


15 Min.


Chris Tulloch


Chris Tulloch

Music Composers

Junior Campbell & Mike O'Donnell






TUGS Episode 4 High Winds

TUGS Episode 4 High Winds