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

29 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
29 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
28 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
27 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
26 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
25 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
24 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
23 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
22 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
21 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
20 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
19 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
18 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
16 May 2017 | FKG Rigging, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
15 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
14 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
13 May 2017
13 May 2017
13 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten

Stormy Weather Is A'coming

30 May 2017
This photo is of the Grib file for June 8th. It shows the third, and hopefully last, of three massive fronts that will be sweeping across the North Atlantic during the next 10 days. Each of them brings some pretty heavy weather that cuts across a portion of the route that we are planning to take to reach the Azores. Thus, even though the boat is ready and (like me) itching to start its journey, it looks like we just may have to wait this predicted bad weather out.

Year 10 Day 122 Happy Birthday Part 2

29 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Variable
Mary Margaret was so sweet to write the last two blogs as part of her birthday present to me. She did a great job and it was nice to sit back a chill knowing that the blogs were in good hands. However, so much happened yesterday after she wrote the birthday and remembrances blog that I thought I would share those events. First, she mentioned the storm we had the night before my birthday and it continued into the day. When we checked the dinghy later in the morning, we discovered that I left the drain plug in and it collected over 16 inches of rain water. It had never been filled with so much water before. It just goes to show you how much rain we had during the last 24 hours.

We also did our daily weather analysis and are now seeing a massive front pushing across the southeastern part of the US that will moving out to the North Atlantic and have a severe impact on the route that we are planning to take. Furthermore, it looks to be followed by two more massive fronts that will take over 10 days to clear out. These three massive fronts could delay our departure for a while. I will post a photo of the Grib file that I am looking at so you can see what I mean. After weathering this last storm, I am in no hurry to venture out into the Atlantic to take on an even bigger, meaner group of storms.

On the project front, once the rain stopped, the engine mechanic come back in finished with the engine work. We are now all done with the various projects that were on our list and are only waiting for a decent weather window before we proceed to the Azores. While it looks like the weather will be great here in Sint Maarten, it now looks like it will be a bit longer before the North Atlantic settles down.

Finally, for my birthday celebration, Mary Margaret invited our new Aussie neighbors, Debbie and Mark of S/V Kefi, to come over for cake and ice cream. They had started their cruising adventure a year ago in Florida. They have already sailed the Bahamas, Cuba, Hati/Santa Domingo, Puerto Rico and the BVIs. Soon they will be off for the islands of the lessor Antilles before they head west and into the Pacific. They have a new Leopard 48 which they love. It was great to get together and we thoroughly enjoyed their company.

As a closing thought, I would like to thank all of you who sent an email or left a Facebook post wishes me a happy birthday. It was very considerate of you and means a lot to me. Thank you very much!

Year 10 Day 122 Birthday Wishes And Remembrance

29 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Mary Margaret/ Heavy Rain, Strong Winds

Happy Birthday Dave! It is amazing how time just flies! We feel young but really are old farts! The day started out at midnight storming! We woke up to great thunder and lightning! Throughout the night it went from bad to worse. It is the AM now-0630 and it is literally POURING! So much for having the engine finished! It is another cruiser ”Oh well!” The good news is Dave will have less to scrub when he finishes the deck.

As I laid in bed listening to the rain, I was thinking about our lives and when we met. We met at the U of Michigan in 1970. The important thing going on then was the Viet Nam war and the male “draft number”. I am thinking about all of this because today is also Memorial Day in the USA. Our family is blessed because Dave had a very high draft number. I have worked for the VA and have always felt that we as a nation did a disservice to our Viet Nam veterans. The country did not like that war however, our soldiers were only doing their duty to their country. It was not their fault or in their control to stop the war. They should have been honored when they came home. This was a sad time in our lives history – I hope we have learned from it. To all of our veterans – fallen and alive: We remember and are grateful, thank you for your sacrifice and your service. We appreciate it and are thankful to you and your families.

I will spend the day spoiling Dave. Every day I spoil Dave but I have a good excuse today!!!! I will be making his b-day cake and a nice meal. Also, I am doing two blogs so he has the day off. May you all have a safe and happy holiday. May you also take a few minutes to remember our fallen soldiers and say a prayer for them and their families. Until we speak again…..

Year 10 Day 121 Scrubbing Up and Phoning Home

28 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Mary Margaret/Unstable Weather
Today is a hot sunny day. The perfect day to scrub the boat. That is just what Dave did. In between we called each of the children. It will be Dave's birthday tomorrow. Therefore, we wanted to call so each of them could wish him well and touch base before we take off. All three are well and look wonderful. The grandchildren all are doing exceptionally well! We are NOT biased!!!!!

Dave scrubbed the top deck and half of the lower deck. It is hard, sweaty work. In between, we played cards and read a little. It was a quiet day. We hope to be leaving in a few days - we shall see.... Until we speak again.

Year 10 Day 120 A Face Full Of Diesel

27 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
It is another beautiful day today as we sit on our boat here in Simpson Bay Marina. We are patiently waiting for the storm that is making its way toward us to pass us by and for the mechanic to install new engine mounting bracket bolts before we leave the marina and then anchor out in Simpson Bay, just outside of the lagoon where we are now. Once in Simpson Bay, we will spend a day or two cleaning the hulls before we depart on our passage across the North Atlantic.

By now you are well aware that I go a little nuts when I have to wait with nothing to do. I walk the boat looking for any and all boat projects that I can apply myself to. Today, I decided to get a jump on our refueling by taking 7 of our 5-gallon jerry jugs over to the fuel dock and filling them up. Once that was done, I returned to Leu Cat and unrolled our fuel bladder. I use this bladder to increase the amount of fuel we carry whenever we are making long passages. While it was advertised that it could hold 50 gallons, I have never been able to put in more than 35 gallons.

To fill the bladder, I use our little electric transfer pump and transfer the fuel from the jerry jugs into the bladder. It takes about an half hour and it goes pretty smoothly...most of the time. This time it was a little messy as one of the hose clamps was a bit loose and when I turned the pump on, I was greeted with a fine spray of diesel right in my face. Ugh!

Once cleaned up and with the hose clamp now extra tight, I was able to transfer the fuel and our bladder is now on the deck, nice and full. With Leu Cat's two fuel tanks having a combined capacity 168 gallons, the fuel bladder holding 35 gallons and the 10 5-gallon jerry jugs that will be lashed down on the deck before we leave, we will be able to carry a total of 253 gallons of fuel. At moderately low RMPs (about 1800 RMPs) we can make 4 nm per hour using just one engine, which will burn ½ gallon an hour. That translates to a motoring range of about 2000 nm.

Of course, that 2000nm is theoretical only since the speed is based on no head wind, no adverse current and not ever using the generator (which also burns diesel). Taking all of that into account, it is not unreasonable to expect being able to motor up to 1500 nm on that amount of fuel.

As a general rule, I like to carry enough fuel to motor 50% of our passage miles. Since our passage to the Azores is only about 2500 nm, I will be carrying more than what we usually do. Mary Margaret even questioned why we were carry our maximum amount. My answer was that this may be the last time we see duty free fuel for a while and I have memories of fuel being very expensive in Europe. It is only about $3.00 a gallon here and I believe this is the last time we will see diesel so cheap in a long while.

Year 10 Day 119 Soon, We Hope

26 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny

Both the rigger and the engine mechanic came today. The rigging is now tuned and the pinion gear shaft and the front pulley seal is in and the engine does hum without dripping any fluids. However, when the mechanic lifted the engine, he had to first remove the mounting bracket bolts. In the process of doing that, he discovered that the threads of the bolts were very rusty and they need to be replaced. Why he could not have told that to me when he originally raised the engine is beyond me. However, he will have to return on Monday to replace those bolts and to insert a self-threading screw that he is going to have to make. A well secured engine is very important as we do not wish to have it pull the saildrive loose and cause a massive rupture through the hull. Thus, we are going to sit tight until that issue is taken care of, which hopefully will be Monday. Thus, we will sit here in the marina through the weekend and mostly likely Monday too.

This still allows us to leave Sint Maarten by either the 31th of this month or by the 1st of June. I am watching a series of storms that are making their way toward us but we hope they will have moved by before June 1st. I am a fair weather sailor and do not plan on taking off until both the boat and the weather are cooperating. The photo attached to this blog shows a Grib file for May 30st. The black blobs are significant predicted storms that surround our area here in Sint Maarten.

Year 10 Day 118 Looking For Projects

25 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
Today is a local holiday and many stores and all services are closed. With the fleet here in Sint Maarten dwindling due to the approaching hurricane season, an atmosphere of being more laid back by the locals is become more prevalent. This runs in the face of our being anxious to start our passage across the North Atlantic. The weather files that I analyze each day supports leaving as the North Atlantic high has become established and appears to be strong enough to keep the lows that spin off of the North American continent mostly to the north. Leaving between now and the end of the month looks to be ideal with the first 350 nm having 15 knots from the east. After that, one gets into the North Atlantic High and would need to motor for a few days to get to the northern edge of it. Once there, it looks like one would be able to ride the more steady winds all the way to the Azores. Of course, reality is always different than what one plans but it is looking much better now than even just a few weeks ago.

I have posted to this blog a photo showing what our potential course, daily distance and general wind patterns are projected to look like. If it were to bear true, our distance to the Azores would only be about 2300 nm and would just take 15 days. Let's see how reality will compare to this projection.

As we sit here in the marina during this holiday, both Mary Margaret and I searched the boat for projects to keep us busy. Mary Margaret decided the owner's hull needed cleaning so she repaired to our side of the boat armed with soap and scrub brush. She not only made everything spic and span but also scrubbed the ceiling to remove any mold that was trying to find a home.

While she did that, I opened up a can of white paint and went around the outside of the boat, touching up the edging paint around our hulls' windows. This area of the boat gets lots of swells washing up against it and, over time, some of the trim paint flakes off. After three coats, each window looked nice and trim.

We have our fingers crossed that the diesel mechanic comes tomorrow to install the pinion gear shaft and the riggers come to tweak the tension of the side shrouds. If they do, we may be able to move from the marina and get out of the lagoon. We would anchor in Simpson Bay so we could spend a couple of days at anchor, cleaning the bottom of the boat before we head out for the Azores. We shall see....

Year 10 Day 117 Provisioning

24 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
This morning we rented a little car and did some errands. First, we dropped our 15 pound propane tank off at the fill station. We have 5 propane tanks which hold a total of 90 pounds of propane. This usually lasts us a year. This particular tank was the one that had been feeding our oven and stove and with all of the cooking Mary Margaret has been doing, we wanted to top it up. Since our propane tanks will be useless in Europe (we have read that they use Camping Gaz that are supplied in much smaller containers) we wanted to leave with as much propane as we can carry. We will need to switch to Camping Gaz once we arrive in Europe and run out of propane.

When we dropped the propane bottle off, we were told to come back on Friday since tomorrow is a holiday. In fact, we later learned that both the diesel tech and the riggers will not return to Leu Cat until Friday because of the holiday. Furthermore, it is iffy on the diesel tech because of how backed up he is. At least our engine part is here and, if we keep our fingers tightly crossed for good luck, we may have it installed on Friday. We will just have to wait and see.

After dropping the propane bottle off we headed over to Philipsburg where Le Grande Marche is located. $350 later, our little car was packed with goodies that will keep us happy until we cross the Atlantic and reach Spain.

After returning to Leu Cat and putting away the goodies, I then ran a few more errands with the car. Recently, we watched some YouTube videos on Med mooring techniques. We have been told this is the predominant way boats tie up in the marinas in the Med. We have only done Med mooring a few times in the 10 years of sailing so we wanted to watch and learn more on perfecting this technique. As with all docking, when the wind is not blowing, it looks to be easy-peasy. However, one video showed a boat Med Mooring in 20 knots of cross wind and it is very ugly. Fortunately, the captain was smart as he had lots and lots of fenders on both side of his boat. This helped him avoid some serious damage to both his boat and the other boat the wind kept blowing him in to. This video convinced us that we needed some more fenders. Thus, off I went to Island Water World.

We had 7 fenders on Leu Cat so I bought 3 more to allow us to have 5 per side. Hopefully, this will be enough to help protect Leu Cat from any significant damage if we have to Med moor in high winds.

While was I gone, Mary Margaret got another urge to cook. Thus, I was rewarded with a snack of her delicious Baba ghanoush. Scooped using her homemade seed crackers, I was in seventh heaven!

Year 10 Day 116 Cooking Frenzy

23 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
Mary Margaret continued her cooking frenzy today. With the A/C going full force to swap out the heat from the oven for the cool refreshing air it produces, she blazed away making her killer lasagna and then followed that up with a double batch of meatloaf. With a portion of the delicious lasagna set aside for dinner tonight, the rest of the lasagna and all of the meat loaf went into the two freezers. After she was done, she declared a well-deserved victory and called an end to all of her cooking. She has calculated that we now have enough meals available for the next 30 days. Wow!

While she was cooking, I chose to defrost the salon freezer and refrigerator. By doing this, I was also able to inventory all of the food that we have in those two appliances. Yesterday, I had inventoried the food that is frozen in our portable freezer which is currently sitting in our forward guest side bathroom. It is in the bathroom that we really do not use and it is out of the way there. Armed with this inventory, we decided that we really do not need any more food besides some fresh veggies and some staples such as nuts, juice, Kleenex and coffee. This will make shopping at the Grand Mache a snap tomorrow.

I also spent the day working on restoring our AIS to working order. AIS stands for Automatic Identification System and it is a device that sends out VHS radio signals from our boat and also receives such signals from other vessels in our area. It allows us and them to track each other for collision avoidance purposes. It is a major part of our safety program while we are passage making. Yesterday, I inadvertently knocked our system offline.

One of the problems I face due to the "itchy butt" syndrome I wrote about yesterday is that while sitting in a location for too long, I start to look for projects to work on to keep me busy. Yesterday, I decided to tune up our AIS. Every now and again, Raymarine makes a software update available for its equipment. I noticed that our AIS software was dated 2012 and Raymarine had an update from 2015 available. Naturally, I just had to go in and try to update our AIS with this newer software. As it turned out, this was a mistake since our AIS was working just fine and by the time I had uploaded and installed the new software, it stopped working. Mary Margaret was not too pleased with me, especially after I called the Raymarine tech support group and the technician suggested that I package the unit up and send it to them to work on. Oh, oh, this was not good, especially since we plan on starting our passage in less than a week.

Before he and I could go through all of the troubleshooting procedures, our internet based call was dropped and before I could reconnect, it was 1700 and they were now closed. Thus, I spent the rest of the evening and part of this morning, Googling for solutions. Before the support group's office opened this morning, I found a possible solution that looked promising (if you are interested to see it, go to: http://raymarine.ning.com/forum/topics/ais-software-update?xg_source=activity). Thus, I spend this morning following the steps that solution suggested. By the time I was done, the AIS unit was back on line and I felt a wave of relief. Whew! Mary Margaret, while pleased with the result, was not happy that I had knocked the unit off-line to begin with but she is used to me doing such stupid things. It seems that I have a history of taking a step backwards before taking two steps forward and this is just too anxiety providing for her. I cannot say that I blame her as I too was sweating bullets until the darn thing was back on-line.
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