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"If you ever think of leaving the Z-Stacks..."
(cutting off) "What? Are you crazy, today was
today. Okay."
"Oh... yeah... well, just a thought."
"Yeah. Well you think too much...
— Ten Cents and Zebedee before parting ways.

High Winds is the eleventh episode of TUGS.


An evil tramp steamer, 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 for 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 cargo barges, and they greet him, even though he was worried about the high winds. 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, But a suspicious 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 meets up with Zorran, who says how he’s supposed to be out answering distress calls. Zeebedee tries to explain, but Zorran has found out he has been helping the Star Tugs. Zebedee not wanting Zorran to find out he was working with the Stars, steams away from him. Zorran eagerly anticipates the Stars docking the Princess Alice. It’s very difficult and dangerous work, due to the high winds and furthermore her damaged rudder, which means she cannot 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 ocean liner, 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 and upon meeting him, says Johnny shall be taken to the authorities. Johnny whistling, tries to escape, but Zebedee finally plucks up the courage to stand up to him, and prevents him from escaping 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, who tells them how happy Captain Zero is to have Johnny 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 declines, saying that "today was today" and leaves for the Zero Dock.



  • According to Chris Tulloch's biography page on his website, he recounts that this episode was written as a replacement for another episode of which the original script was deemed impossible to film, due to the scale and dimension of water tanks in the story. [1]
  • This is the first and only episode to feature Johnny Cuba, although his model was later reused in different episodes.
  • Zak does not appear in this episode.
  • 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 her port side.
  • Stock footage is used from Regatta and Munitions.
  • This episode marks the final appearances of the Princess Alice, Coast Guard, Scuttlebutt Pete, Big Mickey, Fultan Ferry and Captain Zero.
  • This episode marks Zebedee, Coast Guard and Scuttlebutt Pete's last speaking roles.
  • The ending shot of Zebedee chugging into the sunset is the one seen during the director's credit in the intro for fifteen minute episodes.
  • Top Hat is the only Star Fleet member who doesn't help the others with the Princess Alice.
  • There are several scenes only seen in the photo book adaption:
    • Captain Zero giving his tugs salvage orders.
    • Ten Cents and Sunshine bringing fuel to Lillie Lightship (from footage seen in "Regatta").
    • 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.
  • The Japanese title of this episode translates to "Zebedee and the Gangster".
  • According to Chris Tulloch, this was the third or fourth episode filmed. As Pirate was the third, this was the fourth.


  • At the beginning of the episode, the shot when Sunshine tells Ten Cents looks great is actually stock footage from Munitions, you can also tell due to the fact it is night-time in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • The Fire Tug said that he couldn't help the Princess Alice because he was needed in case of fire, but when Zebedee leaves, the Fire Tug is helping the Princess Alice.
  • When Zebedee is talking to Zorran, two of Zorran's side fenders can be seen wiggling.



External links

IMDb favicon High Winds at the Internet Movie Database


Season 1

Season 2 >>

#01 Sunshine #05 Munitions #10 Jinxed
#02 Pirate #06 Warrior #11 High Winds
#03 Trapped #07 High Tide #12 Up River
#04 Regatta #08 Quarantine #13 Bigg Freeze
#09 Ghosts
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