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

20 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
18 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
17 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
16 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
15 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
13 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
12 June 2017
12 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
11 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
10 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
08 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
07 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
06 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
04 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
02 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten

Year 10 Days 140 and 141 Still Waiting

20 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny

We sit here watching Tropical Storm Bret run over Trinidad and Grenada and slowly peter out before it reaches the ABC (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) islands. We have friends in Grenada and Bonaire and they report that the storm was not too bad with winds in the 30 to 40 knot range and lots of rain. Damage to the islands was minimal with a few roofs blown off but no one seriously hurt. This is all good news as this storm could have been so much worst.

The weather across the North Atlantic still looks dubious for our attempted crossing. A major storm is blowing our way and should hit us on the 25th. Another series of storms dance across our potential route to the Azores on the 28th, 29th and 30th. However, that is so far out that the model just is not worth relying on for that prediction. If it does turns out to be true, then that would signal the end of our hopes of sailing across the Atlantic for the Med.

We have received more suggestions from friends stating the we should consider sailing up to Bermuda and sit there until the weather to the Azores settles down. We have been studying that option daily for the last few weeks but since most of the storms have been coming from the continental US, poor Bermuda and its surroundings have had its share of very bad weather. Plus, when they aren’t having storms rip over them, a number of storms have popped up between us in Sint Maarten and Bermuda, barring our way to get there. If you watch the video of the slideshow that I posted within the last blog, you can see what I mean. While not marked on the graphics of the slideshow, Bermuda is located about 10 degrees or 600 hundred miles ESE of Cape Hatterus, North Carolina.

To cheer us up, we invited Angela and Gabriel over to sundowners this evening. We had a wonderful time with them as the picture to this blog shows. They are such interesting and nice people and we are envious that they will be sailing across the South Pacific next year. To us, and most blue water cruisers, that is the absolute best cruising grounds in the world. We wish them all of the best.

Year 10 Day 139 It’s Like An Emotional Roller Coaster Ride

18 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
These last few weeks have been like an emotional roller coaster ride. There have been almost daily ups and then downs as we sit here monitoring the various weather models as they attempt to predict the weather across the North Atlantic. The predictions 3 to 5 days out have been pretty accurate. However, the further out we look, the less accurate the models have been. Sometimes they show a nice quiet high pressure system dominating the Atlantic then the next day when we look of the extended forecast, it shows a mass of storms sweeping across the route we would be taking to reach the Azores. It has been this variation in predictions that have given us this roller coaster ride of emotions. One day we are all excited and hopeful, the next day those hopes and the excitement has been dashed. Sigh.

In actuality, the North Atlantic these last three weeks has been very turbulent with one major series of storms racing across the ocean followed by another. It has been almost non-stop. To show you what I mean, I have made a video of a slideshow that I have put together documenting the actual weather patterns between May 29 and today. May 29 was the very first day that we had completed our boat projects and Leu Cat was ready to set sail across the Atlantic. To view this video, just click
.

In addition to these storms racing across the North Atlantic, things are starting to be compounded by the start of the hurricane season. The first major tropical wave formed off of Africa a few days ago and by tomorrow night, it should reach the southern end of the Antilles. NOAA is now predicted that it will track directly over Trinidad and will be a tropical storm as it passes over that island. It is predicted to also brush past Grenada as it enters the Caribbean Sea. It is predicted to remain a tropical storm until it reaches Bonaire very early on Wednesday morning. While NOAA is currently predicted this weather disturbance to just be at tropical storm strength, it is also predicting that it has a 90% chance of developing into a hurricane within the next 48 hours. Yikes!

I have posted to this blog a picture of NOAA's latest track of this storm.

Year 10 Day 138 An Amazing Couple

17 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
One of the many rewarding things about cruising is the fact that you end up meeting all kinds of neat people. Many times, they are the locals that live wherever you have sailed to. Other times, it is other cruisers that you have anchored or docked near. As you sail around the world, you realize that the world is filled with such people no matter their culture, religious beliefs or ethnicity.

Today was one of those days when I got a chance to meet another very nice couple, Angela and Gabriel on S/V Pilar. They are actually parked right in front of our boat and have been here for a little while. Up until recently, they had guests with them so I would only chat with Gabriel in passing. I do not like to intrude when there a lot of people on board a boat as they may have their hands full. However, for the last day or so, it has just been Gabriel and Angela so I guess their guests have left.

Like myself, Gabriel enjoys a good cigar. Unlike myself, who just smokes one or so a day, he smokes five or six a day. He really enjoys some fine leaf! We had previously traded cigars and have talked about getting together to enjoy our cigars. This afternoon I took him up on his nice invitation and went over to S/V Pilar armed with three of my Cuban Montecristo's No 1s to give him. Once on board, I discovered that Gabriel takes enjoying cigars to a new level. He was armed with boxes of Cohiba Behikes. I further discovered that Behikes sell for about $100 a stick. Wow! This is one of the most expensive cigars on the market and is one of the world's finest. I must admit, it was a very exceptional cigar.

As we puffed on our Behike's, I got to know Angela (who does not mind the cigar smoke) and Gabriel. They are from the Chicago area and have been sailing for about a year. They never really sailed before stepping onto their Island Packet 55. They are planning on sailing around the Caribbean this year and then striking out to cross the Pacific next year after exploring the west coast of Costa Rica. I shared with them that I was envious as the South Pacific in my mind is the absolute best cruising ground in the world.

Before cruising Gabriel was a chef, learning his trade in Europe. He ended up owning three restaurants before selling two of them. He shared with me that Angela is also a fine cook also and they enjoy cooking together.

Gabriel is into extreme sports and has climbed the highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest. He also has swum the English Channel.

They both were extremely nice and down to earth and I enjoyed my time with them both. Mary Margaret hopes to have them over to Leu Cat for sundowners, even though they both do not drink. Sounds like a spread of hors d'oeuvres might be in order. Yum!

We are still keeping an eye out on the weather. With a series of storms to the north of us and the tropical wave to the south of us, we are staying put for now. The tropical wave's chance of turning into a hurricane over the next 5 days has been downgraded to 50% by NOAA and the models that I use to track such beasts are now showing it to move just to the north of Grenada, traveling over the St Vincent/St. Lucia area on the 20th as a tropical storm. Time will tell.

Year 10 Day 137 All Hope Is Not Lost

16 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
We have received a number of blog comments and emails regarding the dilemma we are facing regarding sailing across the Atlantic or returning to Grenada to sit the hurricane season out. And while it is true the odds of us sailing to the Azores do diminish with each passing day that we sit here in Sint Maarten waiting for a reasonable weather window to open up, we still have hope that we will be able to cross the North Atlantic.

Each morning, when Mary Margaret gets up, the first question she asks me is what does the weather look like across the North Atlantic. Neither Mary Margaret nor I are ready to face the possibility that the end of our cruising life may be coming up. We really love this remarkable lifestyle and there is so much more for us to explore and learn and so many more wonderful people to meet. It is just that we are in the process of mentally preparing ourselves for the end of this lifestyle as we gloomily sit here, frustrated by the unstable weather across the North Atlantic.

Some of the emails and blog comments we have received offer excellent suggestions of what to do in order to enhance our ability to cross the North Atlantic. We greatly appreciate each and every suggestion and we do analyze each one, using a risk/reward process that we have used throughout our lives when faced with a significant potential life changing event.

We have not yet made the decision to not cross the North Atlantic. That is the reason we are still sitting here, day after day, in Sint Maarten. It is just that we are rapidly running out of time to make the decision to threw off the dock lines and head across. If before the end of the month the predicted weather looks good, we will go. Since the weather models are more reliable the closer to the day you are looking at, I believe we have until June 25th to make our decision. If it looks good before or by then, we will go. If is does not, it will be time to make plans to head for Grenada and face the reality that the end of cruising is in sight. Sigh.

Meanwhile, we continue to watch the weather. The tropical wave that we have been watching continues to grow and NOAA is now giving it a 70% chance that it may turn into a hurricane. The models I use do show it growing into a tropic storm, with winds greater than 40 knots. However, it is not showing much more development than that. It also looks like it will pass over Trinidad and Grenada before moving NW into the Caribbean and petering out before it approaches Haiti. The photo that I have posted to this blog shows NOAA's current 5 day prediction. If you wish to view a Weather Channel video about this tropical wave and its development, just click HERE

Year 10 Days 135 and 136 Odds Are Tilting Against Us

15 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny

With each passing day, the likelihood of us sailing across the North Atlantic diminishes. This is because of a number of reasons. First, the North Atlantic weather patterns continue to look marginal, at best, in supporting a “Go” decision. The atmosphere continues to look unstable with a number of storms predicted to roar across the route we would like to take. I have attached a picture of the weather patterns predicted for June 22th to show you what I mean.

Another reason is that the 2017 hurricane season is predicted by NOAA and others to be a bit more intense than normal. NOAA is predicting 11 to 17 named storms (winds 39 mph or higher) of which 5 to 9 of them could become hurricanes. An average year there are just 12 named storms and 5 hurricanes. While we just had three weeks of major storms sweeping across the North Atlantic, with one of them yielding winds of 60 mph, NOAA did not count these storms nor did it name them. I am not sure why this is the case but I guess it is because these storms were not tropical in origin. The tropics is defined as that part of the earth which falls between the Tropic of Cancer (a line located at 23°26′13.3″ north of the Equator and represents the northern extent of where the Sun can be directly overhead) and its southern equivalent, the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropic of Cancer runs east and west and is located just north of Cuba. The storms that recently ran across the North Atlantic all originated in the Continental US, well above the Tropic of Cancer. Thus, and again I am guessing, they were not tropical in nature and may not have qualified to be named tropical storms.

The third reason deals with the lack of tropical storms and hurricanes so far, this year and the statistical fact that each day we delay our departure the odds of one or more forming during the three weeks it would take us to reach the Azores greatly increases.

If you look at the table I posted two days ago that listed the 2016 name storms and hurricanes, we had 3 in the early part of June and none in July. This year, with only 1 tropical storm through mid-June, there is an increase in odds of more storms and hurricanes in July. If we were to set sail for the Azores in late June, we would be exposed in the North Atlantic for about three weeks and would have an increased likelihood of running into a tropical storm or hurricane during that passage. With each passing day, we are getting more and more hesitant to take that increased risk on.



We Are In The Hurricane Season

13 June 2017
Here is the graphic that shows the location of the strong tropical wave that just formed off the coast of Africa and may turn into a tropical disturbance. It also shows the projected track it may take over the next 5 days. It is projected along a remarkably southern track. The coriolis force, which is the force that generates the spinning motion of the winds around a low pressure system that form a hurricane is very weak this close to the equator. Thus, it must be a very powerful tropical wave to even have any odds placed on it regarding its formation of a hurricane.

We Are In The Hurricane Season

13 June 2017
Here is the table that lists the various tropical disturbances of 2016 for the North Atlantic. It also shows their timing.

Year 10 Day 134 Yes, We Are In The Hurricane Season

13 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Partly Cloudy


The traditional view of the North Atlantic Hurricane season is that it starts on June 1 and runs through the end of October. While it is true that the vast majority of hurricanes in this part of the world are born and die during this period, there have been a number of exceptions. For example, Hurricane Alex just last year formed near the Bahamas in January and moved north, passed by Bermuda before turning east and then south and finally turned north and went right through the heart of the Azores before dying out just south of Greenland. Wow!

Last year was predicted to be slightly above average year for hurricanes with all of them predicted to fall to the north of the West Indies. As it turned out, there were 7 hurricanes, 8 tropical storms and 1 tropical depression (pretty much as predicted). I will post a graph that shows the dates of these tropical disturbances and their strengths above this post. I am posting to this blog a photo that shows the tracks of these disturbances. As you can see, the prediction was mostly correct, however, Hurricane Mathew was the exception as it roared just to the north of Grenada as a tropical storm and then marched into the Caribbean as a hurricane. It strengthened briefly to a Category 5 just before it turned north, when it eased just a bit but stayed a Category 4 as it passed between Cuba and Haiti and then blew by the east coast of the Southeastern US.

Please note that seven of these topical disturbances passed right over the route we need to take to sail to the Azores. This is the main reason we have decided that if we cannot leave before the end of this month, we will give up on our dream of sailing to the Med and return to Grenada for the rest of the hurricane season.

I offer this information not only because it is the reason we would abandoned our dream of sailing over to the Med but also because today is the first day during this hurricane season that a strong tropical wave has formed off the coast of Africa and is heading toward the Caribbean. As I explained last year at this time, tropical waves are what spawn most of the tropical disturbances which end up being tropical depressions, tropical storms and then hurricanes. Right now, NOAA is predicting that there is only a 20% chance that this tropical wave may form a hurricane during the next 5 days. As you will be able to see from the photo that I am posting above this blog, its projected path is westerly and is running along a line that is well to the south of what is normal. I would guess as it moves west, it will begin turning to the NW but at this point in time, NOAA is not predicting that. Time will tell.

The tendency for earlier hurricanes, larger hurricanes, and the possibility of them running well south of where they normally go, as well as reaching all the way up to the tip of Greenland, just underscores the impact of global warming on our weather. This explains the reason for the amazing amount of unstable upper atmospheric air that has cursed the North Atlantic as we have closely watched its weather patterns, waiting for a decent and safe weather window to start our passage to the Azores.

Opposing Results

12 June 2017
Here is the European Model weather pattern results. You can compare it to the NOAA Model results and see the significant differences very easily.
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