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

15 July 2017 | Sioux Falls, South Dakota
02 July 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
01 July 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
30 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
29 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
28 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
27 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
26 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
25 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
24 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
22 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
21 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
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

Sale Pending...Again!

15 July 2017 | Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Well, we are now back in the US. We stopped in Sioux Falls, SD to renewal and replace our driver licenses on our way to San Francisco. We will be arriving in San Francisco late tomorrow.

As we make our way to the west coast. we have happy news to share. We have just received and accepted an offer from one of our blog readers to buy Leu Cat! Yea! The offer comes from a very lovely couple who flew to Sint Marteen to inspect Leu Cat while we flew in the other direction to return to the US.

We had a number of blog readers writing us indicating a strong interest in Leu Cat and we thank each and everyone of you for your interest. With luck, escrow should close on the last day of this month.

Year 10 Day 157 One Last Blog

07 July 2017

We said that there would not be any more blogs. Never say never!

First, we wish to thank all of you that have posted blog comments or sent us emails with such kind words on the blog and wishing us well for the future. It means a lot to us and we are very touched that you would take the time and share your feelings with us. Thank you very much!

Secondly, we have to report that unfortunately, the sale of Leu Cat did not go through. Sigh! When Brian and Linda arrived we knew that something was wrong but it wasn’t until after talking with them that we got the impression that they just were not ready to take on the cruiser’s lifestyle once faced with the reality that buying a boat is a commitment to it. “Living the dream” is a significant departure from living a “normal” life on the land. They seemed to be nice people but very inexperienced when it comes to sailing. Making a full leap from land to sea can be a big one if you are not truly ready.

Therefore, we have Leu Cat up for sale here in St. Martin. We still are retiring from sailing and moving on to land. So, if anyone would like to buy Leu Cat, please let us know and we will be happy to speak with you.

Never a dull moment is our motto!

Year 10 Day 152 The Last Blog

02 July 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave and Mary Margaret? Sunny With Passing Showers

Wow! I never thought about this last blog day until now. We have been living the dream for the last 10 years and had planned on continuing doing so as we were to sail across the North Atlantic this spring/summer and spend the next few years exploring the Med. However, the North Atlantic has been so hostile and continues to be so that it is no longer possible for us to safely make the long crossing. This is especially true now that we are so far into the hurricane season.

Then, last week we met with S/V Shift, another Lagoon 440 that came in and docked next to us. They had just sold their boat in only 1 week and got $15,000 above their asking price of $335,000. This really got us thinking and ended up firming up our thoughts on selling Leu Cat and "burying the hook" after 10 years of cruising.

We talked to Shift's broker and he offered to give us a market evaluation and suggested listing price in hopes of getting us to list with him. We told him that we had a blog reader who voiced an interest in buying our boat. We agreed to list Leu Cat with the broker if the interested blog reader decided not to buy directly from us.

The broker sent us the market analysis and suggested a listing price of $350,000 which we passed on to the blog reader. Then, bam, bong, buff, we and the blog reader agreed to a price and commitments were made. Now, the blog reader and his wife, Brian and Linda, are flying into Sint Maarten on Tuesday to finalize the sale and start following their dreams. Whew! Everything happened so fast that our heads are still spinning.

Mary Margaret and I, along with the help of a local, Kunta, are now scrambling to get Leu Cat ready to hand over to Brian and Linda. Thus, there really is not much more to write about in a daily blog that would be of interest to anyone. Therefore, this is the end of 10 years of cruising and blog writing.

We do wish to close this blog with words of heart felt appreciation to all of our blog readers who have stuck with us these many years and to those who have taken the time to leave blog comments and/or emails.

We especially would like to thank those that have helped us out during times when we were facing issues and could not solve them by ourselves.

Finally, we wish to thank all of the remarkably kind and generous blog readers who have met us all around the world, rushed down to our boat to greet us and then adopting us while we were in their respective home lands. You were so kind and each one of you have left a lasting memory with us that we will always cherish. You are such remarkable people and you made our time cruising so rewarding. We tell people we meet all about you and how kind and caring you were to us. You are remembered!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for following our blog and for all of you that enriched our lives by doing so.

Finally, a note to our children. Even though when we left to take on this adventure you were young adults, we know that you were concerned about our safety. However, you embraced our adventure and supported our dream. Thank you! We had no grandchildren when we started and now we have five! We were never there for their births but you did not make us feel bad about that - we just spoke often and laughed hard. Thank you!

Remember, always embrace each day, be kind to others and live your dream! We so appreciate that we were able to live one of ours.

Dave and Mary Margaret Leu (formerly of S/V Leu Cat)

Year 10 Day 151 Pending Sale – Whoo Hoo!

01 July 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
Wow! Things sure can move fast. Thanks to this blog we have just sold Leu Cat in less than 3 days! Whoo Hoo!

Just a few days ago, last Thursday to be specific, the broker who sold S/V Shift (another 2006 Lagoon 440) emailed to us his market assessment and the listing price that we should consider for Leu Cat. He is based out of BVI and I had emailed him our boat details with a word of warning that we had a blog reader who was interested in buying our boat. I told him that we would pass his information on and if the blog reader decided to buy Leu Cat, then we would sell it directly ourselves. He was fine with that but was anxious to list our boat because the 3 or 4 other people who bid on Shift, were interested in Leu Cat also.

To make a very short story shorter, Brian and Linda, who are currently exploring the jungles and Andes of Columbia, just bought Leu Cat! They are buying Leu Cat as is, along with a bunch a stuff that is aboard her. To close the deal, Leu Cat will have to pass survey inspection (this is like a home inspection when you sell your house). However, knowing Leu Cat the way we do, we are confident that she should pass with only a few very minor notables. After all, the surveyor will have to justify his fee by finding something.

Right before we first moved on aboard Leu Cat, when she was just a one year old, we had her surveyed for insurance purposes. We had her in charter for the first year while we sold our house and closed down our company. We had requested that she charter out as last in the charter fleet to lessen any wear. She went out only 8 times during that year, but that paid for all of her maintenance and dockage fee and we were able to pocket some money to boot. At that time, I was surprised that the surveyor could find anything, since she was still new. However, he did find a few very minor issues. My guess is that the upcoming survey will find a few more issues this time but nothing significant.

Brian and Linda will be flying into Sint Maarten on July 4th. We are scrambling to get the boat up to "new" condition. We have hired Kunta, a local maintenance fellow to help up with that. Thus, for 10 hours today, Mary Margaret, Kunta and I worked, worked and worked some more. We are making great progress but it is taking a toll. Both Mary Margaret and I are stiff, sore and exhausted... and we still have three more days ahead of us. Ugh!

Year 10 Day 150 This Dust Is Flying

30 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Overcast WIth Passing Rain
Mary Margaret and I have spent the last two days tearing Leu Cat apart. We have opened every cabinet, every drawer, every door, every floor board, pulled off the various mattresses and pulled up the boards they lie over, and opened up the two forward hold hatched and climbed into what I call "The Dungeons". We have done this will a pad of paper and a pencil in hand. The reason for doing all of this is to identify, inspect and then list every item on Leu Cat, creating an inventory of all of the spare parts and other goodies we have. Mary Margaret has gone a step further and has started filling boxes and bins of stuff we will be shipping back to the US or donating locally. We took three large bins of books to the office where they will be greatly expanding their free book exchange.

We also donating a couple large bags of clothes to the dock boys who work here. I also gave one about 100 cigars. Cigars can last forever and these cigars I brought on the boat when we first moved aboard. Since, then I have gotten spoiled and now only smoke Cuban which I buy duty free from a distributor in Hong Kong for a very reasonable price. The old cigars were not Cuban and I have been using them to give to local fishermen who come up to our boat, asking for beer, booze or smokes. I will not pass out beer or booze because you never know where that may lead to but I always give out a handful of cigars. That has worked very well and we get some fish or coconuts or whatever they may have in exchange.

We once were in the middle of the Indian Ocean, not too far south from Somalia, renowned for its pirate waters when a large fishing boat saw us a few miles away. They immediately turned and headed straight toward us. I did not know what to think. As it turned out, they had been out fishing for the last few weeks and were heading back to their village with their fish. They just wanted to trade. After a large bag of old cigars was passed over to them, they threw a number of water coconuts over to us and with lots of smiles and waves, we both went on our respective merry ways.

With every possible storage area inspected, we plan on spending the next few days packing things up and getting ready to ship them back to the US. Once that is done, we can then turn to cleaning and polishing Leu Cat and I can make a few very minor and cosmetic fixes. Leu Cat is in overall excellent condition as we had been expecting to be sailing across the North Atlantic this summer. Safety first is our motto and had just finished a major retrofit to get her in tip-top condition, before we gave up our hopes of cross the ocean and, instead, decided to sell her. Thus, only a few minor things need to be addressed.

Since we are so busy packing I have hired a local fellow to wash and polish Leu Cat. I have hired another fellow to come and scrape the hulls clean. Thus, as you can imagine, the next few days are all work, work, work. With that in mind, we hope most of you will be enjoying a relaxing and fun filled July 4th holiday celebration! Ahhh... the life of a cruiser!!!!!! 😉

Year 10 Day 149 Another Whiteout

29 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Rainy And Windy
As the weather out in the North Atlantic continues to be plagued by storms and nasty seas, our weather here is Sint Maarten has been remarkably nice. Tropical breezes blow over the hills and peaks that are to the east of us, carry across the lagoon, to arrive at our marina, keeping us, for the most part, very comfortable. At times, the winds do diminish and during some afternoons we have had to run the A/C in the salon. However, even during those hot and humid days, the evening almost always cools down and make for very pleasant sleeping conditions with just the suite's hatches opened.

Today was a bit different. One of the tropical waves, which are born every 3 or 4 days off of the coast of Northern Africa, arrived and struck with vengeance. We had been watching this sucker for the last 4 or 5 days as it marched its way towards us. Most of the tropical waves have been moving well to the south of us but this one had our name on it.

The intensity was remarkable and we knew we would be in for a dozy of a storm when we got up and saw the dark skies to the east of us. When it did strike, a whiteout occurred as the rain was so heavy we could not see the end of our finger pier just 20 feet in front of us. Not only was the rain so dense such that it wiped out any visibility but it lasted for a couple of hours. Normally, when we get a whiteout it only lasts for 15 to 30 minutes as the center of the storm moves on. However, this storm must have been so large that, with winds blowing 30 knots and water pouring from the skies, it continued on and on and on. It really was very impressive.

Since we were snug as bugs in a rug within our wonderful Leu Cat, we did not mind the deluge nor the high winds. However, the lighting and thunder was another matter. Nothing ever came close to us but we could hear the repeated roll of the thunder a few miles away.

After 6 hours of wind and rain the storm finally passed us by and by evening we were getting a very nice sunset. The monster had moved on and now Sint Maarten could begin the lengthy process of drying out.

Year 10 Day 148 OMG! What Have I Done?

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

It never fails to surprise us how kind and generous people are. I think the number one thing that Mary Margaret and I will keep close to our hearts from 10 years of cruising is how kind and generous people are all around the world. While we do recognize that there is evil in the world, we have repeatedly met or received emails and blog comments showing how remarkably kind and generous people are.

We have repeatedly arrived in lands unknown to us where we have been invited and welcomed into blog readers hearts and homes. Others have taken much of their precious time to give us tours that introduced us to where they lived and exposed us to their respective cultures.

When we have been lost in a locale that we had never been before, so many times have we met strangers who have gone out of their way to take us to the obscure places we were looking for. Other blog readers (who were strangers to us) when we needed help, out in the middle of the ocean, stopped what they were doing and researched our problem, talking to experts, and then emailing to us the solution we needed to get by the problem we faced. Time and time again, we have discovered so many people who we did not know that were so friendly, so kind and so generous. It makes our hearts grow with much appreciation.

It appears that this is happening again right now but this time, we must decline the generosity that is being offered. A couple of days ago I wrote a blog that shared the cost of shipping Leu Cat from the Caribbean to Spain. It was not a trivial amount and something that would add about $35,000 to our annual cruising budget. I wrote about this just to share with people the cost of shipping a boat like ours across the North Atlantic so they would have a little bit of information for potential future use.

We try to use this blog to give people who share our dream of sailing around the world useful and realistic cruising information. We are strong believers of what is called “paying it forward”. This is where you give things to other without getting anything directly back for it. In the belief, that someday, when you really need something, people will step up and help you out. This is such a basic core value to the vast majority of cruisers and is what makes the cruising community so closely knit. It is wonderful to know that so many believe this concept so strongly.

Well, to our surprise, we have received a number of emails and blog comments with offers to help us find the money to ship Leu Cat across the sea to the Med. We are so touched by these acts of unselfishness and kindness. It really underscores how much kindness there is in a world that is currently rocked with episodes of violence and hatefulness. One such couple even offered to fund $10,000 of the shipping costing. OMG! We are just so overwhelmed!

However, we need to share some of our background and thought processes that we have not written about which helped lead to our decision to “bury the hook” and end our sailing life. We need to stop these acts of kindness and generosity because it would not be right for us to accept it.

Mary Margaret and I were both raised in the Midwest by parents of significantly different backgrounds but with the same core values. One of these core values is that we need to plan and save for the future while enjoying the present to the maximum extent possible. This basic premise led us to become very strong planners. We actually created and worked off of 5-year plans during our growing years when raising our kids and working. Each year we would review our goals and objectives for ourselves and our family and, at times, modify the 5-year plan if it looked like we would fail to successfully meet it.

This process worked wonderfully for us as we have led very successful and rewarding lives. This process resulted in us moving to various places to take new jobs when it was best for us to do so. It allowed us to raise our kids in environments that created three lovely, strong, and independent children who, as adults, have very deep core values that we are so proud of.

It also resulted in us learning how to create financial plans and budgets that would allow us to realize our dreams and quality of life that we so desired. We ended up becoming financially independent to such a manner that when Mary Margaret was 56 and I was 57 we could stop working, buy an expensive, new sailboat, and sail around the world for these last 10 years. We have stayed in and explored places that many people dream about. We have been so blessed and fortunate.

The key to this financial independence is making a realistic short and long term budget and then living within those means. At times, we have had to tighten our belts and do without those things we really wanted at that moment. However, it has taught us what is really important in life and how to succeed in enjoying those important things. And, as it turns out, the majority of those things are not expensive.

We have continued creating and modifying our 5-year plans and making our budgets during these cruising years. We will continue to do so even after we “bury the hook” and return to living a more conventional life.

With all of the above in mind, we have decided that due to age, other goals in life, a few minor health issues that need to be taken care of, and, yes, staying within our rather generous annual budget, it is time to move on to the next phase of our lives. This means giving up on our dream of sailing across the North Atlantic and spending the next few years exploring the Med and soaking up that culture.

While we are disappointed in not being able to do that, we will move on to other adventures but now they will be land based. We hope to buy an RV and explore North America again. We also hope to fly over to Europe and explore from the comfort of a car, train, plane or bus. This will allow us to meet new people and soak in their culture and history based on traveling over the land. It is a very appealing idea to us. Even though we will greatly miss the sea lifestyle we have had these last 10 years.

Thus, and in closing today’s rather lengthy blog, we are so grateful to have such kind and generous blog friends who would offer to support our sailing dream of going to the Med. Such acts of kindness and generosity truly brings tears to our eyes as it demonstrated to us that our core values are shared through this world, even in times of such meanness that the daily news tends to focus on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Year 10 Day 147 Getting To Know Leu Cat

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

As bizarre as the title to this blog may seem, today it really rang true. As you may know, we are into our 10th year of cruising: living on Leu Cat, day in and day out for most of that time. I have worked on just about every system and equipment piece that is on Leu Cat. One would think that I know her inside and out by now. Well, you would be correct … almost. You see, today I had to sit down and list out every piece of equipment - its name, its manufacturer, its model number and its year of origin - that Leu Cat has. It took me all day and by the time I was through, I was very frustrated, very tired and very grumpy.

This past weekend, I had inventoried all of the equipment using a walk-thru technique which means that if I saw it, I listed it. With that list, I then went to our original purchase order form that we submitted to the Lagoon folks back in December 2005 and revised it by adding or subtracting items so that my inventory was up to date. Lagoon used that form to give us its purchase price ($586,520) and then spec out the boat to build it for us. Once we moved on board, we added another $75,000 worth of equipment to make her blue water safe and comfortable and over the last 10 years we replaced or upgraded (what I call retrofit) another approximately $75,000. Our latest major retrofit was just completed a few weeks ago when we replaced all of the standing rigging, which cost about $11,000. We did this believing that we would immediately begin our sail across the North Atlantic with intent on reaching the Med and spending another 3 to 4 years there before returning to the Caribbean in 2021 and selling Leu Cat at that time.

However, as we have discovered, the weather gods had a different idea and are still huffing and puffing across that ocean, making it untenable to us to achieve our goal. Thus, with Leu Cat in excellent mechanical and physical condition, we decided now is the best time to end our cruising lives and sell Leu Cat. In getting ready to do that, the broker that we are talking with required us to list not only every bit of equipment we have on her but, today he sent us a form that requires all of the additional information that I mentioned in the first paragraph.

Have you ever tried to retrieve and collate all of the registration forms, user manuals and invoices for all of the stuff you have in your house? It is a royal pain in the arse. Fortunately, I have kept all of the literature for everything we have ever bought in one location. I have also kept the vast majority of every invoice we received and stored that in a separate location. Thus, I spent hours and hours today, matching equipment item on my inventory list to its literature and then to its invoice to get the specific information the broker and his @%$#* form required. It was an ugly day and I am not sure how Mary Margaret could stand to be on Leu Cat with me. What was so bad was there were a few items where I could not locate the manual or invoice I needed and it made for a very frustrating day. Grrrrr!

However, it is now all done and I must say, I really now know Leu Cat, inside and out, topside and bottom and from very every angle imaginative.

I guess it is now time to sell her and forget all of those details as we move on to the next phase of our lives…

Year 10 Day 146 A Desperate Try

26 June 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/ Sunny With Passing Showers

As you know from reading our blog this last week, we have given up on our attempt to cross the North Atlantic and sail over to the Azores and then on to Spain and finally into the Med. This has been one of our dreams and with the North Atlantic so racked by storm after storm and with the hurricane season advancing rapidly with each passing day, we have thrown in the towel and called it quits. Furthermore, we have come to the sad conclusion that now is the time to put an end to our wonderful cruising lifestyle and return to being land-based. It was not an easy decision for us to make since we so love this radically alternative way of living. It is just so rewarding and adventuresome. It is very hard to stop.

We have received lots of suggestions regarding ways to sail across the North Atlantic and have given each and every one of them a close inspection. Unfortunately, the North Atlantic has become just too unstable for us to safely cross, no matter which route we would try.

In this vane, we also received a great suggestion from a blog reader (Ange) who currently is in Greece. He suggested that we do what he did last year and just ship Leu Cat over to the Med. He shared with us that it cost him $25,000 US to do so. While a bit steep, our ears perked up and I quickly rushed to the SevenStars web site. SevenStars ships boats all around the world and that includes from St. Thomas in the USVIs to Spain. After filling out their form with high hopes of possibly doing this, we waited anxiously to see what it would cost to ship Leu Cat this August. Alas, it is not to be. The quote we got came back at $33,700. Ouch! To add that to our sailing budget for this year is just not possible. We knew it was a desperate option and a remote chance but now we know it is not in the cards for us.

We also received a suggestion that we hire a captain and crew and they sail Leu Cat over while we just fly over. However, we are not interested in this simply because it still puts Leu Cat at risk. We are not afraid to sail in storms and heavy weather. We have done that many, many times while sailing around the world. The worst storm we have sailed in had 47 knots of apparent wind blowing behind us while we were making 15 knots continuous. Thus, that was sailing in true winds of 62 knots with gusts of a bit more and the seas were between 15 and 20 high! We and Leu Cat handled it all fine as Leu Cat is such a seaworthy vessel. Also, while sailing down the South African coast we were hit, on three separate occasions, by rouge waves and within 10 seconds picked complete up and turned almost 180 degrees around. Leu Cat has time and time again proven to be a remarkable safe and stable vessel.

However, the North Atlantic has been so unstable and with such large storms there is a real risk of not being successful in making the crossing. Already, two other sailboats have been sunk and four others were not able to complete their crossing due considerable damage incurred during the June 10th storm. We just do not wish to risk Leu Cat (or ourselves) to such an unstable ocean especially with the hurricane season advancing as it is and it being predicted to be more active than usual.

Thus, despite every desperate alternative we look into, we always end up where we are at now. It is just time to call it quits and be thankful that we have had such a wonderful 10 years of cruising.
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
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
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