Life on a boat can be amazing. It is hard to get much closer to nature, which in the South Pacific, the Java Sea or the Caribbean is a good thing! The skies are huge and the horizons endless. Sailing along in a calm lagoon, lounging in the sun whilst dolphins jump at the bow or being anchored off a palm-fringed beach watching the sun sink into the sea are pretty awesome moments of immense beauty... if you like that kind of thing....
However, in higher latitudes or rougher weather, life can also be cramped, wet, cold, uncomfortable and grim; if you don't like camping, you're not going to like this! Lilly is no two-man dome tent but space is still at a premium. We live and sleep in close proximity and everyone must be considerate and aware of each other, tidiness is paramount and when it works it can be heaps of fun!
Your time on board is likely to be more rewarding the more involved you become in the life and running of the boat: raising the anchor, setting sails, steering, keeping watch, small jobs of repair and maintenance - these are part of the daily activity of life at sea - and we hope you will feel come to feel you are part of the crew.
And of course there is the endless fascination of arrival somewhere new, of exploration, of the simple pleasure of finding a local market, of sitting at a small beach bar and looking back at the sea that has become part of your life in a new way …
Lilly sleeps at least six, including me: in the main cabin the seats become a double and a single berth, and in the aft cabin there is also a double and a single and the skipper normally occupies the fore-peak.
The galley (kitchen) is small but perfectly formed; there is no fridge to date but a working oven, hob and sink. There is a fully functioning loo, no shower but plenty of buckets! We have basic 12v power from a single solar panel, and energy is therefore precious; entertainment comes from the world around us.
Lilly Bolero's design is based on a Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, built in Gweek, Cornwall about 12 years ago. She is 52' long on deck, 14' beam and 7' draft. Her rig is a gaff schooner and can fly up to six sails at one time, being gaff rig really defines the style of Lilly: this is what boats were like 100 years ago, she is old fashioned! Which means there’s not a lot of shiny chrome bits, but rather tarry rigging, oily wood and lots of ropes. All this takes hours and manpower to look after and sail, it is a labour of love, so there's no need to sit around bored. And if that's not enough then we have a 75hp ford engine for back up.
The only company you'll certainly have is that of myself, Captain Kieran - and as the people you're with play a big part in the experience here's a bit about me. Now 38, I was born and bred in Wales and had a rural upbringing, on the shores of the Cleddau estuary for much of it, mucking about in dinghies, kayaks, anything that floated really. I was educated mostly in a Steiner school, got sailing qualifications and studied boatbuilding in my 20's, then went to New Zealand in 2004 where I bought my first boat, a 36' wooden sloop, Toroa. She was my home for 4 years and took me about 20,000 nm around the S. Pacific - then in 2008 I met Lilly, and we have been together ever since.
I consider myself a level headed, alternatively minded youngster, becoming ever more confused with western culture and society.