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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
Draining Oil The Easy Way

This is the drain hose that leads to the drain pan at the bottom of the engine of the genset. You can see the copper fitting at its terminus.

Year 5 Day 170 Getting Ready For Indonesia
07/23/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU

We are scrambling now as we try to get everything in order for our sail to Indonesia. We leave this Saturday so time is quickly running out. Today was the day to work on the generator and start work on the sails and battens.

We have an 11KW Onan generator and it was time for its 500 hour maintenance. It is really quite simple but it takes a bit of time to get to some of the areas since you have to go into both the front and the back of the unit. To get to the back of the genset, I have to empty out one of the cupboards in the salon that is just off the floor. Once all the pot and pans and stuff are removed, I can then open up a "secret" panel that leads to the genset. I need to do this to check the pencil zinc that is located on the backside of the heat exchanger. What a pain...

Draining the oil and changing the filter was next and that was followed by inspecting the impeller. One of the blades was cut so I also changed the impeller just to be safe. The whole process took a few hours and by the time I was done, it was noon.

I mention all of the above in a bit of detail only to have you understand that doing even the most simple thing on a boat takes so much longer than if you were doing it on land. Three hours of this process seems to me to be a tremendous amount of time to do three easy things on an engine. Yet, that is what it took and I am now pretty proficient at it. Go figure...

The afternoon was spent running to shore to go to the chandlery to pick up some things I need for the boat and working on the sails. When I went to shore, it was very low tide and, once again, I had to anchor the dinghy well offshore and wade a couple of hundred yards to reach the beach. When I returned from the chandlery, the tide had receded further and the dinghy's stern was sitting high and dry on its dinghy wheels. The wheels were stuck in the silty sand and it was very difficult to pry them out.

I have two battens that needed work. One was a temporary thing I threw together in Lizard Island and it needed replacing. The other was one that somehow had popped out of the batten holder that tie into the batten car. Both had torn small holes into the sail. Thus, armed with my rusty, trusty 3M 5200 and sail tape, I first started the repair work on the sails. I needed to remove the above half of the sail from the sail track to bring it down on to the roof of the salon where I could work on it. All of this took the rest of the day and I still have a bit more work to do. Ugh!

Tomorrow we have the rally technical meeting so I don't think I will be getting much done. Plus, in the morning we have to go to the meat market to place our order for meats.

Techno-Tip Of The Week: An Easy Way To Drain Oil From Your Generator

We have an Onan generator and it comes with a tube that is installed at the drain plug of the engine. This makes draining the oil a bit easier. Some people just slip a thin tube into the drain tube and push it in as far as it can go. Then they turn on their little pump and suck the oil out. That method is fine but you don't get all of the dirty oil out that way. Plus, if there is any sludge in the bottom of the drain pan, it will not be removed this way. The CatCo folks back in BVI taught me a little trick that works much better.

The end of the drain hose terminates with a screw on copper cap. To drain the oil you remove the cap. However, if you build a little copper pipe with a nut and a pressure fitting on it, you can screw that pipe onto the end of the drain hose. Now you can slip the copper pipe into the hose of your pump and using a hose clamp you have a perfect seal. This lets you get full suction on the drain hose and you can suck all of the dirty oil and sludge out. Pretty neat, huh?

I will post a few pictures to show you what I just tried to describe.

A Perfect Ending To A Perfect Day

We watched this beautiful sunset conclude a wonderful day spent with our Darwin friends, Brian and Gayle.

Year 5 Days 168 and 169 A Great Traditional American BBQ Dinner
07/22/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU

Yesterday we continued to prepare for our sail to and through Indonesia. We will be spending about 2.5 months there, slowly making our way up their archipelago. The country has over 17,000 islands and as we island hop through their country our trip will take us over 2500 nm. We have learned that most of the western world stuff that we use on our boat will not be available where we are going so it is important to stock up now with things that we think we may need. This includes selected foods.

Yesterday, I filled up our propane tanks and the jerry jugs that I had emptied into our fuel bladder. We also worked on cleaning the boat since our Darwin friends, Brian and Gayle, were coming over today for an American BBQ dinner.

Today was more of the same. I scrubbed the deck while Mary Margaret cleaned inside the boat and cooked. However, as I was finishing up I saw a huge tower of smoke rising in the distance. Someone had put to fire a large field and the smoke and ash was being carried by the wind toward us. Soon it was raining ash on my nice, newly cleaned deck. In no time the deck was covered with black soot and ash. I was sooo pissed. Oh well, what can you do?

At 1400 I motored the dinghy into shore to pick Brian and Gayle up. To my surprise, I could not get the dinghy all the way to shore because it was a very low tide. We have a tidal range here of about 8 meters and this was the lowest tide we have seen since our arrival. The dinghy wheels just stuck in the very fine sand so I left it there, about 100 feet from shore.

I waded into shore and soon saw Brian and Gayle walking down the launch ramp toward me carrying a bunch of goodies. Gayle had made a killer dessert and they had brought a large bunch of bananas from the banana tree in their backyard.

We wading out to the dinghy and began our trip out to Leu Cat. Brian and Gayle own a Lagoon 440 that is in the charter fleet in the Whitsundays. It was built that same year as Leu Cat: 2006. Brian was anxious to see Leu Cat and discover how we had retrofitted her for blue water sailing. Their boat comes out of the charter fleet this November and they would like to take her cruising for a bit.

After Mary Margaret had completed giving Gayle and Brian the grand tour of Leu Cat, I introduced Gayle to my favorite part of the boat. Soon, she was laying back and gentling rocking in our hammock. She too fell in love with the hammock and soon was looking like a long time cruiser. She just needed a drink in her hand to be complete.

We finally made our way back into the salon where all kinds of appetizers were served. Mary Margaret had made a vegetable dip from scratch that was to die for. Gayle had brought a wheel of camembert cheese and a spinach dip that meddled well with the goodies that were being served.

Around 1630 I fired up the grill and put on four racks of spareribs that had spent the day in our solar cooker. In no time their outsides were crisped up golden brown and I was slavering on the homemade BBQ sauce that Mary Margaret had whipped up.

Soon we were sitting down and enjoying the feast that included homemade pasta salad and coleslaw. Gayle never had tasted BBQ ribs before and she ended up loving them. As the finishing touch, she brought out her homemade chocolate toblerone mousse, topped with whipped cream and a strawberry. Man, was that good!

As we caught our breath from that great meal, we went forward again. Gayle climbed back into the hammock and we all watched the sun slowly sink into the horizon and it left us with a brilliant dark red sunset. It was the perfect moment to end a perfect day!

Sail Indonesia BBQ

These are our good friends Dana and Mark of S/V Northfork. To our surprise, they boogied up here in two weeks, leaving from the Whitsundays to join the Rally. They had thought they were going to stay in Australia for another year while their new baby (Mark Jr.) gets a bit older. However, they changed their minds and here they are! Isn't Mark Jr such a cutie pie!! Thank goodness he takes his good looks from his mother!!!! That is Stuart and Shelia of S/V Imagine, holding Mark Jr.

Sail Indonesia BBQ

Here is another shot of our table at the BBQ. I had to include this one also because it shows Stuart of S/V Imagine. He is the one of the left who is blocking the view of Mary Margaret

Year 5 Day 167 Youth Is Wasted On The Young!!!
07/20/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU

Boy, I sure could use a big dose of youth right now. I remember those good old days when we could work hard all day and party late until the night and wake up the next morning and start all over again. Now, as I have crept past the age of 62, I am having a hard time getting this old carcass out of bed after staying up past 2200 hours.

This morning we got up early so that we could get the boat ready to weigh anchor and motor the 7 nm over to Baileys Fuel to fill up on duty free fuel. Earlier this week I had secured our duty free form from Customs and with so many boats here for the rally, I was getting nervous that I would not be able to secure an appointment to refuel. Plus, Baileys Fuel had put out a notice that starting Monday, they would no long service yachties since the prawn fleet would be back and Baileys Fuel would be too busy with them to worry about yachties. However, yesterday I called and was able to get an appointment for 0900 this morning. It was the last slot that they had available. Whew!

On our way over, an Italian boat raced in front of us and cut us off. I just knew he was going to slip into the fuel dock in front of us and we would have to wait. As it turns out, he had the 0830 time slot but he arrived 20 minutes late. We arrived 5 minutes early. We circled for a bit and finally were waved in to the pier to tie up. However, we could not start fueling because the pump next to us was not working. Thus, we had to wait for the Italians to finish before we could back down into the space he had tied up to. While we were waiting we watched with fascination as to how incompetent the Italian boat's crew was. There were four men and they kept bumping into each other as they moved the fuel hose from jerry jug to jerry jug, spilling a lot of fuel in the process. It was a bit entertaining to watch.

Finally, at 0930, it was our turn. We filled our two tanks and the remaining jerry jugs that we had. All told, we took on 513 liters, which is about 135 gallons. The duty free fuel cost $1.12AU a gallon. At the gas stations in Darwin, it is costing $1.53 a litter so this was a big savings. It certainly was a lot cheaper than the $1.75 a litter we paid at Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays and $2.12 a liter we paid at Seisia, up by Cape York.

I had wanted to fill our deck fuel bladder but the fuel nozzle was too big for its opening it. Darn. I had to wait until we returned to our anchorage to transfer the diesel from our jerry jugs into the bladder. Now, I will have to take the jerry jugs to a gas station and fill them there tomorrow. To add insult to injury, I will end up having to pay full price ($1.53 a litter) since you need to buy a minimum of $300 worth of fuel to qualify for the duty free status.

While I was with the attendant paying our bill, Mary Margaret was left on the boat. As she patiently waited for my return, she watched the tide rapidly drop and, as it did, so did our boat. Soon the stern dock line was extreme taunt. The attendant had not left enough slack in it to account for the drop in tide. As she was contemplating getting the rigging knife and slicing through the stern line, a young family walked by and she asked if they would loosen the line. The young man did so and our stern dropped by over a foot!

After the fueling was behind us and we had returned to our anchorage, Mary Margaret and I next drove around and started our provisioning process. By the time we were done with phase 1 of provisioning, it was 1730 and we were bushed. However, at 1800 we hopped back into the dinghy and headed to shore. Tonight was the big Sail Indonesia BBQ bash!

This is when I wished that I still had my youth and all the energy the young ones have. The BBQ certainly was party central. Our fee for the rally included this wonderful BBQ and drinks. We saw a lot of old friends and soon we were in the party mode. Party, party, party! Yep, this cruiser's life is pretty good!!

The food was great, the wine and beer hit the spot and it was great to be with good friends. A great time was had by all!

Tomorrow, the work on the boat continues. Plus, I get to schlep our empty propane tanks and now empty jerry jugs around to get them refilled. Lordy, get me some more of that youth!!!!

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