S/V Tiger Lilly

Rig heavy, reef early, and pray often; for God does not assure us an easy passage, but He does promise a safe anchorage...

02 January 2018 | Clan Jeti Anchorage, Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia
03 November 2016 | Singapore, Southeast Asia
02 October 2016 | Kumai River, Borneo
24 August 2016 | Rindja Island, Indonesia
22 July 2016 | Fannie Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
14 June 2016 | Pancake Creek, Queensland, Australia
13 June 2016 | Pancake Creek, Queensland, Australia
11 June 2016 | Burnette Heads, Queensland, Australia
07 June 2016 | Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
11 May 2016 | Colmsie, Brisbane River, Queensland, Australia
23 December 2015 | Brisbane, Australia
13 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
07 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
23 July 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
12 April 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
11 February 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
25 January 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
24 September 2014 | BORA BORA, French Polynesia
23 September 2014 | Bora Bora


30 August 2011 | St. Augustine Marine Center
Tom & Lilly - Hot & Dusty!!
Well, technically we haven't exactly gotten back out cruising - but we are another giant step closer; we are on the hard in St. Augustine, Florida, for some much needed repair work. The good news is that our keel is no longer stuck in the mud in Julington Creek, and we do consider ourselves cruisers once again. The average Earth Person's perception of life aboard a cruising sailboat is one of picture perfect anchorages with swaying coconut palms, carefree sunny days caressed by balmy Trade Winds, and stress-free relationships. Here's a news flash for you - that is certainly not the way it is happening on the good ship Tiger Lilly!

Picture this: it is January, we are married three whole weeks and Lilly is lying on her couch in a terrycloth bathrobe and bunny rabbit slippers only one week out of major back surgery, medicated to the gills, and playing twenty questions with a very serious and smart Internal Revenue Service lady - who was absolutely convinced that Lilly had cheated on her small business tax return. Lilly's accountant, Jose, had to do some clever thinking, and fast talking (in his thick Columbian accent) to counter some of Lilly's rather personal questions - but the IRS lady soon warmed up to Lilly's honesty and frank manner. Meanwhile, Lilly's son, Ryan, had announced that he was leaving Jacksonville, moving to Boca Raton (the bling & glitz capital of the east coast), and changing schools from UNF to FAU; and he informed us that oh-by-the-way, for good measure he was also getting multiple tattoos. THAT'S FRIGGIN' STRESS!!! The kicker came three weeks after the IRS landed on her doorstep, when one cold dark February night Lilly fell getting into the dinghy and severely re-injured her back. We were back to square one in her back recovery, and our plans to sail for the West Indies before hurricane season were scuttled. THAT'S FRIGGIN' STRESS ON STEROIDS!!! What we learned: nothing is certain, and our lives can change in the blink of an eye; and oh yes, don't let your serenity hinge on the judgment of a 20-year-old.

But when God closes one door He opens another - and for us He opened several. In February, Tom's friend, George Rommel, from Connecticut requested help in finding a new owner for his CSY 44 sailboat. Tom drew up a listing, made several inquiries around the waterfront, and soon found a buyer for George's beloved S/V Horizon. March and April saw Tom and Lilly providing new boat owners and new sailors, Jim and Gail, outfitting, repair, and sail training services aboard their Hunter 42 S/V Gail Force on the St. Johns River. By the time it was over, Jim & Gail referred to our no-nonsense, fast paced style of hands-on training as Cruisers Boot Camp. Then in May we completed a serious list of home improvement projects, and leased out Lilly's Jacksonville home to a great guy named Tim. Picture the retired Naval Officer "Dudley Do Right" (dotting i's and crossing t's on his Plan of Action and Milestones) working with Ms. "Shoot From the Hip and Just Get 'Er Done." Nobody got hurt, but it sure was close. In the reality of today's economic situation the only market tougher than housing is used boats - and somehow we were able to sell a big old boat and lease a house in very short order - that could only be God doing for us what we could not do for ourselves! Once the house was off our To-Do List, Steve and Abby, the new owners of S/V Horizon, asked us to deliver Horizon from Connecticut to Florida and to provide them with sail training and boat systems familiarization. Lilly's back and hip were on the mend, so in early June we flew up to Milford, Connecticut, to re-commission Horizon and sail her south 900 miles to Jacksonville, via New York City and Norfolk. Steve & Abby sailed the first leg of the voyage with us, and we had a grand time with them; navigating the whirlpools and heavy currents of the East River's Hell's Gate, watching a bustling NYC summer work day from the waterfront, and a brisk offshore sail out and around Sandy Hook and then down the Jersey coast to the Chesapeake Bay. Steve & Abby, and their two young daughters, Callie and Savannah, intend to sail Horizon around the world. We hope that we helped this gutsy couple get started on making their dream come true.

After we returned to Jacksonville in early July we moved the last of Lilly's earthly belongings aboard S/V Tiger Lilly; that is, what was left after a 6 week series of Craig's List sales, Good Will donations, and just plain give-a-ways. She actually held up pretty well, that is until her bicycles sold, and then the tears flowed as her identity rolled out of her life and down the drive. What is the price of peace with a good woman? Well, the box score at the end of the Lilly Load Out aboard the boat was: Tom had one small shelf, a hanging locker, and a bunk bag; and Lilly had a total of eleven storage areas dedicated to her gear. Too bad you missed the great pots and pans debate - his, hers, and ours - thankfully no one got hurt in that one either. Also, how is it that a woman who has only worn 4 pair of shoes in the past 3 years, needs 30 pair of shoes on a friggin' sailboat? (The concept brings new meaning to a barefoot cruise.) And please tell me, if we don't own a bike, then why in the world do we need 15 of those goofy roadie spandex outfits? Oh well, we called a truce, threw it all in trash bags, and stuffed them in the aft cabin - to be dealt with later. We won our anchor, bid Julington Creek good bye, and headed down the St. Johns River. DON'T PAY THE RANSOM, WE HAVE ESCAPED!!

During the past 3 years, we (that would be mostly Tom) have deferred a lot of boat maintenance while he was ashore wooing Miss Lilly. Our boat is actually a life support system, and it was time to pay the maintenance piper. So we headed south down the ICW to the St. Augustine Marine Center (SAM) on the San Sebastian River. We had 3 major projects, and several smaller ones. The major projects are: repair and antifoul the bottom; repair the rub rails; and paint the topsides. While all that work is going on we will simultaneously: paint the cap rail forward, paint the toe rail aft, remove and repair the lifeline stanchions, strengthen the wind vane self-steering gear rudder bracket, install a new fathometer, and install our new German wind generator. Hey, after the pace of our first 6 months of wedded bliss, why would we try to do ANYTHING EASY? Skeeters (the State Bird in Cracker Country), biting gnats, Florida's oppressive heat in August, and dirt everywhere - what's not to like about being on the hard in a boat yard? (And oh yes, they have BOTH kinds of spiders here in St. Augustine, the Black Widow AND the Brown Recluse...) But the staff at SAM has been really great. We are doing a mix of yard projects (with owner-assist to save labor costs) and do-it-yourself jobs. The shops here at SAM are staffed by experienced, skilled, and friendly craftsmen, and it really does not cost very much more to have first class work done here. SAM's large back-lot is full of boats owned by Snow Bird sailors who put them up here each year during the hurricane season. The prices at SAM are very competitive, and if you are looking for a Cracker Jack boat yard - and one that will let you do your own work - you really ought to check these folks out. We highly recommend SAM, and so far, friends on two other cruising boats have decided to follow our lead.

Lilly sez: OK, ladies, if you are like me, I had never heard of this "on the hard" terminology before hanging with a seafaring man. In fact the first time I heard Tom-Tom come out with that one I thought that he was up to something much more fun than putting the boat up on dry land to work on it ;-) (Dirt is harder than water, thus "on the hard." I didn't get it the first time either.) Well I am here to tell you that it really is quite a challenging experience, especially after being recently extracted from an air conditioned, private, clean and comfy home. I actually do like life aboard Tiger Lilly. I love to wake up to the sound of wavelets splashing on the bow at anchor, with herons and ospreys calling overhead, and the great orange sun winking in the east. But on the hard we wake up each morning to a much different experience: on some days, at first light, Andrew, dressed out like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, starts his sandblasting machine running full throttle, screaming and throwing up a cloud of white dust just across the yard on the port side of Tiger Lilly, and we pile out of bed to close all the hatches and ports before the sand storm envelops us; or Jay the fiberglass guy who is just outside our hull, mere inches from where we lay in bed, starts sanding the starboard rub rail early to beat the day's heat, and we pile out of bed to close all the hatches and ports before the pink dust cloud spills into the boat; but usually the final call for late sleepers comes at 06:45 AM as George the paint foreman rumbles open the huge door on the paint shed just a few feet off the starboard bow with a force that we can actually feel vibrating up through the jack stands and keel blocks holding up the boat. Oh, and make SURE that when you do scramble out of bed that you are dressed to be seen, because chances are by 7:00 AM Power-boater Bill and his able assistant Chris (the guy who sleeps in the bushes) are standing on the bow of Bill's boat, buffers in hand, leering DOWN, and right into Tiger Lilly's main cabin. Do you suppose that is why those fellows call me Rosebud? Each morning as I make my way across the black cinder boatyard to the ladies room in the boat house, about a football field's length away, I think about the spotless and very private bathroom I once had only a few steps from my queen size bed in Suburbia. And where do you suppose they located the workmen's time clock and coffee pot? You guessed it, right outside the open-air ladies room! Truth is ladies, you have to be a Tough Chick to weather the rough spots of the sailing life, that is, if you want to be here for the good stuff. I suppose that is why I see so few women around the boatyard. We had a close call this past week as Hurricane Irene weed-wacked up the east coast of Florida, flooding the beaches and dumping torrential rains on a thirsty land. But after listening to Tom-Tom sing "Good night, Irene, my sex machine" about 40 zillion times in 3 days, I think I would have rather had the hurricane, and gotten it over with in a few hours. My first boat yard experience is just about complete, and I am more than ready to get Tiger Lilly waterborne again. No, there is no need for Viagra here - they don't call it "the hard" for nothing! Oh my gosh Tom-Tom, I guess what doesn't kill us, just makes us stronger!

Once we complete our Work List, in about 2 or 3 weeks (but then we have been saying that for the past 2 or 3 weeks) we intend to sail down to Marathon in the Florida Keys and sit out the remainder of the hurricane season in Boot Key Harbor on a mooring ball. We will keep the mangroves of the Little Shark River (40 miles north of Marathon in the Everglades) in our back pocket as a safe haven from a Category Two or higher tropical cyclone. In November we intend to sail up to Melbourne for the Seven Seas Cruising Association Annual GAM, and then offshore from Cape Canaveral to the West Indies in December. Well that's the plan, Stan - but we know all too well that God has His own plan, and an incredible sense of humor to go with it! So stay tuned, and we will let you know how it all works out. Oh yes, and by-the-way the IRS found Miss Lilly's tax return to be squeaky clean - but then, all they had to do was ask Tom-Tom.
Vessel Name: Tiger Lilly
Vessel Make/Model: 1977 CSY44 walkover hull #55
Hailing Port: Green Cove Springs
Crew: Lilly and Tom Service
Lilly is a retired business woman, and was previously a professional athlete. As one of America's first professional female triathletes, she was a pioneer in woman's sports. [...]
Our kids: From 1987 to 1991 Tom circumnavigated the world with his family. Daughters Dawn and Jennifer were ages 11 & 13 when they departed on a 4 year, 40 country / island group, Trade Wind voyage around the world, and 15 & 17 when they returned to St. Petersburg, FL. During his high school [...]
Tiger Lilly's Photos - Main
Approximately 100 Asian elephants live in and around the Trincomalee Landfill in northeast Sri Lanka. These huge creatures eat plastic strewn trash and garbage because they have been driven back from their natural habitat by the encroachment of farms.
38 Photos
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124 Photos | 4 Sub-Albums
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1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
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1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 23 August 2010
4 Photos | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 23 August 2010