LeuCat Adventures

Join us in sharing our adventures as we sail around the world. NEW!!************************************************************************* GET A COPY OF OUR TECHNO-TIPS DOCUMENTS--JUST CLICK ON THEM UNDER THE "FAVORITES" HEADING ON THE RIGHT

21 April 2017 | Hassel Island, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
20 April 2017 | Hassel Island, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
19 April 2017 | Hassel Island, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
18 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
17 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
17 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
16 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
16 April 2017
16 April 2017
16 April 2017
16 April 2017
16 April 2017
16 April 2017
15 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
14 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
13 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
12 April 2017
12 April 2017
12 April 2017
12 April 2017

Year 10 Day 84 A Surprise Passing

21 April 2017 | Hassel Island, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Dave/Mostly Sunny

Mary Margaret and I worked today, trying to get Leu Cat ready for our next visitors, our good friends from Las Vegas, Joe and Valerie. Mary Margaret did two loads of wash while I worked on a few small boat projects, including the mast batten car track issue. To address the problem with the track snagging the batten cars as they pulled up and dropped down the sail, I asked Mary Margaret to haul me up the mast. The problem area of the track is located just past the first spreader bar, about half way up the mast.

Inspection of that area immediately identified the problem. It was at a section where there is a joint between two pieces of abutting pieces of track. To join the two pieces of track, there is a slug which helps keep the two tracks aligned. A slug is just a short, flat piece of a thin metal bar this fits in a groove in each track. It prevents the tracks from moving sideways as the batten cars pass over the joint between the two abutting tracks.

The problem is that the bottom bolt that holds the slug in place had come loose and its head sheared off when we last raised the mainsail. A part of the bolt’s shaft was still protruding above the track and this is what was catching the batten cars as we lowered the mainsail.

The seas in our anchorage here in behind Hassel Islands are ephemeral. When Mary Margaret took me up the mast the first time, they were not too bad. However, when I went up the second time, armed with my Dremmel tool and pulling up 30 feet of electrical cord, the seas had gotten a bit worse and now the boat was rocking a bit. This made grinding the remaining stem of the bolt back to be under the edge of the track just too hard and a bit dangerous. Thus, I stopped after a while and had Mary Margaret lower me back down to the deck.

If the seas quiet down some tomorrow, I may try again. Our fallback position is to make this repair when we motor up to Salt Pond Bay in St John’s on Monday. The bay is well protected and the seas there should be still.

After inspecting the track the first time but before deciding how to attack the problem, I was inside the salon researching how our sail track was constructed. While doing this research, we were hailed by a sailboat drifting by. Intrigued by who was calling out “Leu Cat, Leu Cat”, I ran out onto the deck. To my surprised, there was SV/ Zephyr with Bill and Tracy waving to me. What a surprise! I had received an email from Bill a few days ago which said he was in CA to provision. The only place that I know that uses the initials CA was California so his email did not make a lot of since to me. As it turns out, he was using CA to refer to Charlotte Amelie, here in St. Thomas. Thus, they had been anchored only a ½ mile away, just on the other side of Hassel Island from us!

They were going by us on their way to Lindborg Bay, next to the airport. They said that Charlotte Amelie was going to be having very loud music the next few nights and they wanted to get away from it. Lindberg Bay is a couple of miles from us so I am hoping I can find the time tomorrow to take the dinghy and see them. However, tomorrow will be a busy day for us so I am not sure that will happen.

Year 10 Day 83 How Quite It Seems

20 April 2017 | Hassel Island, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Dave/Mostly Sunny

Portia and Steve left Leu Cat today to return to the US and their very busy schedule. They are in the middle of selling a number of commercial properties and building new house in Hawaii. While they were with us, poor Portia was on her IPad or IPhone working on closing deals and getting things squared away with the plans on the new house. Nevertheless, she still made plenty of time to go snorkeling with us, sailing with us, exploring with us, cooking with us and playing Mexican Train dominoes with us. In fact, she ended up winning the last game which we played last night.

Their visit was very nice since they are a very loving and giving couple. Plus, as former cruisers, they understand what it takes to live on a sailboat. We had such a wonderful time with them, making it hard to say good bye. We are looking forward to when they can come and visit again, hopefully in the Med.

After our sad farewells and dropping them off at the Crown Bay Marina, where the taxi to take them to the airport was waiting, Leu Cat seemed unusually quiet to me. Not that Portia or Steve were very noisy. In fact, they were not. They are very quiet and serene people. It just seemed to me to be unusually quiet. Throughout the afternoon, I mentioned to Mary Margaret at least 2 or 3 times how quiet the boat seemed. Maybe it was because we so enjoyed having Portia and Steve with us that their departure left a void. Go figure.

We will be spending the next few days taking it easy and, in a relaxed manner, getting Leu Cat ready for our next visitors. Our very good friends, Joe and Valerie from Las Vegas, will be flying in to spend 6 days with us. They will help us sail Leu Cat back to Sint Maarten, where we will finish our efforts to get her ready to cross the North Atlantic on our way to the Med. They have come to Leu Cat twice before: once when we were in Panama and once when we were in New Zealand. It will be a treat to have them with us once again, even though it will only be for 6 short days.


Year 10 Day 82 Return To St. Thomas

19 April 2017 | Hassel Island, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Dave/Mostly Sunny

Our two weeks with Portia and Steve are quickly winding down. The time has passed so quickly but this is what happens when you are with good friends in a wonderful venue.

We weighed anchor around 1000 and motors around the reefs of Christiansted and into the open ocean. We then turned into the wind to put the sails up. As Mary Margaret hauled on the mainsail halyard, the sail went up the mast. However, around halfway up she encountered resistance and then heard a "pop". Inspection of the sail and its lines did not discover any problem so she continued to raise the sail. It went up the rest of the way fine but something was not right and we could not figure it out.

We ended up just setting the sail, opening the headsail and then continuing on our course to St Thomas. Since we could not determine the problem now, we decided that we would sail to St. Thomas and once there, work on trying to figure out the problem when we were anchored and the boat was not rocking.

Our sail was wonderful with 15 to 20 knot winds from the east. The seas were up a bit, with heights in the 6 to 8 foot range, periods in the 7 to 8 second range and from the NE. This made the ride a bit bouncy but it was not too bad.

The sun was out which topped off this great sail. We made the 38 nm passage in a little over 4 hours, averaging about 9 knots. This more than made up for the 6 hours of motoring we had to do to make our passage last week from St. Johns to St. Croix.

When we were approaching our anchorage just off Hassel Island in St. Thomas, we turned into the wind to drop the mainsail. This is when we discovered the cause of our problem in raising the main. As Mary Margaret lowered the mainsail, she discovered that one of the batten cars (this is what travels up and down the mast and to which the sail is attached to), was sticking to where one piece of the batten car track abuts against the start of another piece of track. Apparently, one of the track's bolts has fallen out and the two ends of the track are not smooth against each other.

By playing with the halyard and the downhaul lines, we were able to move the batten cars across this problem area and the sail finally came down. Whew! Tomorrow, I will go up the mast and do a close inspection and, hopefully, fix the problem by replacing the missing bolt.

Once again we are sharing this anchorage at Hassel Island with three other boats. But the anchorage is large enough to handle us all comfortably. We have nice winds to keep the wind generator happy and the swells are very mild, so with the sun shining, conditions are ideal.

Oh, by the way, I received an email from the administrator of Sailblogs telling me that the linkage between Sailblogs and Facebook is now back in place. Thus, I am hoping that you will see this blog just by me postinging directly to Sailblogs. My fingers are crossed!

Year 10 Day 81 The Best Laid Plans

18 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
Dave/Overcast

We had planned on sailing over to Buck Island National Monument today to spend the day snorkeling and then spend the night in preparations of sailing back to St. Thomas tomorrow. However, it was not to be. The weather and seas were just too ugly to make the short trip and stay worthwhile.

Once again, the skies were dark and grey with brief periods of passing showers, making the thought of the trip and the idea of snorkeling in big seas not too appealing. Rick had said that the best place to snorkel is on the north side of the island. While still protected by a reef, we were having 8 foot swells today so they would break on the reef and surge over it, disturbing the water and reducing visibility.

After carefully weighing our options and after a detailed discussion of each option, we decided to just stay put here in the protected anchorage of the lagoon in front of Christiansted. Portia and Steve, anxious to cram as much diving into their stay with us, opted to take the dinghy over to the edge of Round Reef and snorkel there during one of the periods when the overcast lightened a bit. However, on their return, they said it was a not a good dive as the waves were breaking on the fringing reef and carrying over into that part of the lagoon. Visibility was not the best and where the better snorkeling area was, they could not get to because the water was just too rough. Based on their experience, we were all glad that we stayed in the relative protection of our anchorage.

While they were diving, Mary Margaret and I played some cards which we had not done during Portia and Steve’s visit. There simply has not been time to play our card game of Hand and Foot as we have been having too much fun with Portia and Steve. We played some more after they returned from their dive because they were so exhausted from fighting through the swells that they both took long, restful naps.

For dinner, Portia and Steve made tacos with Steve frying the corn tortillas. They were delicious. Afterwards, we resorted to our nightly game of Mexican Train Dominoes, with Steve winning again. None of us can figure out how he wins so much!

While we played, I ran the generator to charge the batteries. With days and days of limited sunlight, the solar panels have not be doing much so we have had to rely mostly on our wind generator and our diesel genset. However, after about an hour of charging, it died due to the loss of impellor blades. Thus, I had to spend about an hour changing the impellor. It is a simple thing to do but given the location of the water pump, it takes a long time to get at the darn thing to change the impellor. Afterwards, we fired up the genset for s short time just to make sure it would work and that there was no water leaking.

Tomorrow we will be sailing back to St. Thomas. The winds should be ideal being in the 15 to 20 knot range from the east. It may be a bit bouncy with swells in the 6 to 8 foot range, from the NE, with 8 second periods. We shall see…

Year 10 Day 80 Part 2

17 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
Portia/Overcast
Cruzan on Our Cruise


Between the delicious leftovers from last night's fun dinner with Rick and Brett and the bagels that they provided us from a local bakery, we ate well all day today on board Leu Cat without cooking. We very much enjoyed yesterday afternoon spent at their beautiful house and the evening's somewhat raucous Easter dinner out with Rick and Brett! It was a pleasure spending time with them.

In our rental car we took care of a few chores today. Because Steve and I are burning up so much internet time off of David's cellphone service researching answers to construction questions we have about our new house on Kauai which will start in a few weeks, we went to AT&T to buy more data time. We then stopped at Cost U Save, a smaller version of Costco where we loaded up on steaks, chicken, cheeses, cold cuts, canned goods and liquor which should get Leu Cat at least half way across the Atlantic. It was a great shopping spree!

After schlepping all of the goods in 2 dinghy trips and then helping stow the provisions, Steve and I took the car to the Cruzan Rum distillery some 20 minutes away. Since the 1800's, Cruzan Rum has been distilled on St. Croix by the Nelthropp family for the past 200 years. The name Cruzan is taken from Crucians which is what the people of St. Croix call themselves. Since we have been on rum tours before, we opted to take the "drinking tour" which means we walked up to the tasting bar and toured our way through samples of their 12 year, 5 year, and spiced rums along with delicious concoctions using their flavored sweet rums. Steve's favorite was the "Island Colada" which tasted better than a regular pina colada.

We returned the rental car and made our way back to Leu Cat to end the day with an unusual game of Mexican Train, with David and Steve trying to get the fewest points possible and Mary Margaret and Portia trying to collect all the points they could to win by getting exactly 500 points. It came down to the last round where Steve persuaded (brow beat) Portia to be kind to him and not play the tile that would ruin his chances and Mary Margaret getting within 10 points of pulling a stunning upset.

Portia

Year 10 Day 80 Re-stocking

17 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
Dave/Overcast
Today was a re-provisioning day. Since we still had the rental car today, we had planned on doing a few errands which mainly focused on going shopping. St. Croix has a wonderful Cost U Less which is like a small Costco. With great meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, we just could not let this opportunity pass us by. $600 dollars later and armed with many wonderful steaks, apples, lettuce, and other goodies, including a number of bottles of spirits, we weighed down the car with bags stuffed full. We could not pass up on the booze since St. Croix is duty free and Cost U Less is known to have to best liquor prices on the island.

Prior to going to Cost U Less, we had stopped at the ATT store so I could refresh our data plan for my cell phone. We have been using it as a hot spot and between the four of us, we usually have 6 devices connected, many of them using the Internet at the same time. We usually go through between 5 and 10 Gigabytes a month but we have slurped down 22 Gigabytes in just two weeks. Wow! That has set a record. Fortunately, ATT sells a plan that has unlimited talk and text and 22 Gigabytes a month at 4 G speed which then steps down to a much slower speed after that for just $65 a month. Normally, we have been paying about $35 to $50 a month for just 5 Gigabytes. Thus, this ATT data plan is pretty good if you plan on slurping down the data.

After we returned to Leu Cat and packed away the goodies, Portia and Steve decided to take the car over to the far side of the island and visit the Cruzan Rum distillery. Instead of taking the tour, they opted to head directly to the tasting room to sample the liquid nectar. They want to bring back a number of bottles with them as gifts for friends. They are allowed a very generous allowance of duty free liquor when returning to the mainland of the US.

Tomorrow, we hope to sail over to the Buck Island National Monument to enjoy the water there. However, the weather has been less than stellar these last few days so we are hoping that it will improve. The prediction is encouraging so we have our fingers crossed.

Year 10 Day 79 Exploring St. Croix

16 April 2017 | Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI
Dave/Rainy

This morning, Steve and I went into Christiansted and rented a car for the next two days. The day was Easter Sunday and we wanted to explore St Croix. Once the car was secured, we returned to Leu Cat to pick up the girls and off we went. The weather forecast was not very promising since flash flood warnings had been issued for today covering the three islands which make up the USVI. A check of the weather radar showed that the morning should be fine but the afternoon looked dubious. So warned, we decided to make the most of the morning and take our chances with the afternoon.

Our first stop was at Salt River Bay. This is to the west of Christiansted and it is where Columbus, during his second voyage in 1493, made landfall on this island. It is the only place in the US that Columbus made landfall. It was not a good landing as one of his crew that rowed in to the bay looking for fresh water was killed by the native Carib Indians. Being Easter, the National Park Service’s Visitors Center was closed but we had grand views from its hill top overlooking the bay and the fringing reefs protecting it. We also drove down to the actual site were Columbus’s longboat landed but it was surrounded with locals who had pitched tents for the weekend.

Next we drove west and took Portia and Steve on a drive through the rain forest. The western side of the island gets much more rain than the drier eastern side and a dense jungle was been established with long vines hanging down, some blocking the way of the road. One had to either swerve to avoid them or drive through them.

By the time we reached Frederiksted, on the far western part of the island, it was lunch time. Frederiksted is a sleepy town that still has not fully recovered from the devastating effects of Hurricane Hugo, a category 5 hurricane that destroyed much of the island in 1989. However, we were lucky as Mary Margaret spied a wonderful restaurant called Cibone that was tucked away in an alcove. They were serving an Easter brunch which we thoroughly enjoyed.

From there we then turned south and then east as we followed the southern shore of the island. This part of the island is sparsely populated because there are no inlets through the fringing reefs. This fact has kept ships and boats from entering the lagoons that have formed between the reefs and shore which has resulted on little development over the centuries. The land is mostly unused pastureland.

As we approached East Point, the eastern most part of the United States, we were greeted with black clouds and rain. There was enough of a break to allow us to step out of the car and run over to the ledge that looks down to the ocean as it breaks on the rocks far below.

Safely back inside the car we made our way toward the huge radio telescope that is one of 16 such beasts that make up the large radio telescope array that peers deep into space. By now it was pouring rain: buckets and buckets of rain. This put an end to our tour of the island so we called Rick and Brett to see if we could come over to their place a bit early. We had made arraignments to stop by for drinks and then take them out to dinner. However, we were a couple of hours early. They were gracious enough to encourage us to come over and we quickly took them up on their offer.

As we sipped our way through a couple of bottles of red wine, we chatted the afternoon away. During one of the breaks in the deluge, Rick took Portia, Steve and I up to the old windmill that sits high on a hill, overlooking their estate. Mary Margaret and Brett stayed as they enjoy each other’s company so much and wanted to keep Rick and Brett’s dog and cat company.

Around 1800 we all went over to the Blue Water Terrace Café for dinner. Once again the portions were huge and the food was fantastic. The rain continued to pour during the three hours we were there and our thoughts drifted to how filled with rainwater our dinghy would be. Despite such thoughts, we had the best time with our friends Rick and Brett. By the time, it was time to go, Portia and Steve had fallen in love with Rick and Brett as much as Mary Margaret and me. It was hard to say good bye but we have hopes that Rick and Brett will come visit us someday in while we are in the Med.

By the time we arrived at our dinghy the rain had stopped. We checked the rainwater level in the dinghy and discovered it was filled with over four inches of water. This forced us to make two trips to bring everybody and all of the containers of food leftover from our dinner back to the boat.

Once back on Leu Cat we discovered how tired we were and bed never felt so good! What a great day!


Exploring Christiansted

16 April 2017
Just one of the many tarpons that are looking to be fed.

Exploring Christiansted

16 April 2017
Portia and Steve along the boardwalk that faces the lagoon.
Vessel Name: Leu Cat
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 440
Hailing Port: Dana Point, CA
Crew: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
About: Our goals are to spend the next 10 to 15 years cruising around the world and sharing this adventure with family and friends.
Extra: S/V Leu Cat is Lagoon 440 rigged for blue water sailing. It is 44 feet long with a 25 foot beam
Social:
Leu Cat's Photos - (Main)
1 Photo
Created 27 February 2017
Wedding and Reception photos April 18, 2015, Yosemite, CA
49 Photos
Created 30 April 2015
Here are some pics that I took while visiting w/ my parents in the Galapagos Islands
22 Photos
Created 29 March 2010
Our Photos of this very magically place
94 Photos
Created 21 September 2009
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 1 April 2009
A tour of St. Kitts that Mary Margaret and I did
75 Photos
Created 7 May 2008
1 Photo
Created 25 March 2008
Pictures of the sea life in the cut between Little Jost Van Dyke and Green Cay, BVI
30 Photos
Created 17 March 2008
Here are a number of pictures of St. Maarten and the places we visited
36 Photos
Created 21 January 2008
Photos of Nanny Cay
6 Photos
Created 11 January 2008
Here what the idoit charter did to Leu Cat
11 Photos
Created 9 January 2008
Join us as we explore the Spanish, American, and British Virgin Ilsands.
15 Photos
Created 20 October 2007
To help get you ready to go sailing with us, we wish to introduce you to Leu Cat so you will know what to expect when you get here! Just click on the first photo and then use the "next" button to advance through this slide show.
19 Photos
Created 19 October 2007
This is a collection of photos documenting our sail through the Windward Islands during May/June 2006 with our son, David Paul.
62 Photos
Created 14 October 2007

Who: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
Port: Dana Point, CA