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 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
12 May 2017
12 May 2017
12 May 2017
12 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
11 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
10 May 2017 | FGK COle Bay, Sint Maarten
08 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
07 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
06 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten

Year 10 Day 114 Anxious To Make The Jump

21 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Hot And Muggy

The longer we stay in one place, the more anxious I am to leave. It is a mental state that I call “itchy butt”. The itch is now getting stronger with every day we are here in Simpson Bay Marina.

Each day I analyze the weather patterns of the North Atlantic and things seem to be in the process of settling down. Right now, it looks like the end of the month will be an ideal time to make to jump over to the Azores. Now, all we have to do is to have the pinion gear arrive and then inserted back into our starboard engine this week. I have my fingers crossed that will happen so we will be ready.

Mary Margaret continued her cooking quest today as she made numerous batches of cookies and then a big pot of chili. All are destined for the freezer so they can be taken out and enjoyed during the passage. It was so hot and humid today that with the oven and stove top blazing away, we had to run the air conditioner in the salon. It was the first time we ran it in quite a while. Since I was doing a few little projects out on the deck, it was wonderful to return to the salon and enjoy the coolness. Of course, in the middle of Mary’s cooking, the island had a power outage. Fortunately, it was between finishing the cookies and starting the chili so Mary Margaret opened up the windows and just waited until the late afternoon to start her chili. By then the power had been restored so the A/C was fired up again.

Year 10 Day 113 Break Break

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

One of the items on our check list for passage making is seeing if our SSB radio is working. With the advent and expansion of the Iridium satellite network and the more reasonable cost options they offer, the need for an SSB radio on board a cruising boat is diminishing. We now have the Iridium Go, which pairs with our smart phone so we have 24/7 communication worldwide. It also allows us to post our daily blog, send and receive emails and request and download weather reports and GRIB files. Thus, it basically replaces the function of the SSB radio. It also has the advantage of not having to figure out which frequencies one should use depending on the time of day and solar interferences.

Nevertheless, we still have our 10-year-old SSB and I was anxious see if it was still working. Ally, of S/V Blue Heeler, has set up a radio net for those boats that are sailing to the Azores. A number of boats left last week and she has been conducting the net each morning at 0700. She has not been able to reach many of them as the atmospheric conditions and the condition of their respective radios are variable. However, she has been in contact with a few of the boats and they pass on information about those boats that she cannot reach.

This morning at 0700 I fired up the ol’ Icom 802 SSB and could hear Ally just fine. However, I was not surprised since she was just sitting about a half mile from us out in Simpson Bay. I was just picking up the ground wave that she was propagating. Fortunately, I was also able to pick up the one other boat that Ally was able to receive. This boat, whose name was garbled, was located at 31 33’N:55 25’N or almost a 1000 nm to the NNE of us. The signal was weak but I could hear most of what she was reporting. Ally moves through a set of 4, 6, 8 and 12 Megahertz frequencies in hopes of making contact and it was on the 8297.0 MHz frequency that she and I were able to hear this other boat.

I was able to test our calling signal to Ally and she heard us just fine. I did not try hailing the other boat as I did not wish to interfere with Ally’s established net.

Based on this test, I have concluded that our radio is receiving just fine and it is sending out a signal. In the next few days, I will try hailing Ally again since they started their passage making today for the Azores to see how strong our sending signal is.

Mary Margaret has started cooking up a storm as she prepares the various dinners we will be having during our passage. Today, she made eggplant parmesan. She will be making dinners each day between now and when we leave (hopeful in about a week) and then she freezes them. While underway, she just whips out a tasty meal and zips it in the microwave. This assures us of a yummy dinner each night, regardless of the conditions of the seas. You would be surprised how important it is to morale to have a great meal each evening.

Year 10 Day 112 Bon Voyage

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

Today Tyrell finished hooking up our electrical wires that run up the mast to the boat. His worker must not have done a very good job yesterday because it took Tyrell a couple of hours to finish things off and when he was completed, he told me his was not going to bill for an hour of the time he spent. Fortunately, everything is working now.

Thus, we are now down to our last significant project, which is not really all that significant. However, it is something that I cannot do. For that project to be completed, we first need to have a new pinion gear be sent to the island so it can be installed. Once installed, the saildrive oil seal and then the pulley seal can be installed on our starboard engine. We are hoping that will be done by mid next week.

This evening, we got together with Wayne and Ally of S/V Blue Heeler, Brian and Emma of S/V Coruisk, and Jim, Kathy and Alex of SV Inishnee. Blue Heeler and Inishnee will be leaving for the Azores tomorrow morning, while Coruisk is waiting for Emma’s husband to come up from Grenada before the three of them start on their passage to the Azores. We have been bumping into Blue Heeler and Coruisk since our days in the Indian Ocean and the Java Sea. It will be great to see them again up in the Azores!

We first all got together at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club, a local hangout right next to the bridge that leads out to Simpson Bay. We met for happy hour where my gin and tonic was only $3. The picture that I posted to this blog is of our motley group.

After a few drinks and a couple of hours we next headed off to Little Jerusalem, a restaurant that Kathy highly recommended for their shawarmas. Since Mary Margaret and I love shawarmas, we seconded Kathy’s recommendation and off we all went.

The portions were large and the shawarmas were great, as was the company. As it got later and later it was time to call it a night. It was hard to say goodbye but we all knew that we would see each other in a few weeks up in Horta, the capital of the Azores.

Bon Voyage, guys! We hope you all have a great sail and we look forward to getting together again soon.

Year 10 Days 110 and 111 Moving Along…Slowly

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

Yesterday morning, in a most leisurely fashion, FKG finally buttoned up their work on our rigging and sent us on our way. I had to gently crack the whip since they had sent their workers to other boats instead of working on ours. I was not too pleased but things finally got done and we motored over to Simpson Bay Marina.

Today, we had the engine tech come over to work on our starboard engine. After raising it and turning it sideways so he could get access to the seals that he needed to replace, he pulled the saildrive’s pinion shaft and discovered that it was scoured. This scouring was the chief reason the seal was leaking, even though the seal only had about 30 hours on it. He immediately recommended that he stop work and order a new pinion shaft before replacing its seal. This seemed most logical to me so I agreed. Thus, the engine work is on hold as we wait for the part to be ordered and sent to Sint Maarten. Sigh.

Tyrell, our local electrician also came today to rewire our various wires that run up the mast back to the leads that run throughout the boat. Since he is heavily impacted, he set up his helper to do this work but his help was a bit overwhelmed and did not finish the task. Thus, we are waiting for Tyrell to return to finish the work.

Meanwhile, we are putzing along, working on our respective little projects to get ourselves ready to sail over to the Azores in 10 days or so.

Year 10 Day 109 Slowly She Goes Up

16 May 2017 | FKG Rigging, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny

We got a call around 0745 this morning from FKG telling up that they had cleared the quay and, if we were ready, we could come over at any time. They said the crane should arrive around 0930 and they could have us in and out by early afternoon.

With that welcomed news, we put aside our cups of coffee, prepped the boat, fired up the engines, tossed off the dock lines and motored into the wind to cross the bay. The winds were piping up between 15 and 20 knots but they were blowing off of the quay so coming into FKG, scrapping by the various boats that were in the way, was not too much of a challenge. Soon Mary Margaret was tossing the dock lines like a pro and we were snugged up close to the quay, waiting for the crane to arrive.

And then we waited, waited, and waited some more. 0930 ran by, 1100 ran by and 1230 ran by; all without any sight of the crane. Lunchtime for the FKG workers is between 1230 and 1330 but we were told that the crane was to come over during the lunch period and they would be all set up to start at 1330.

With that information, Mary Margaret and I got off the boat and walked the few feet to Lagoonies, the local cruiser hangout and restaurant to have lunch and a drink. When we returned to Leu Cat it was 1330 and we were expecting to see the crane sitting in front of Leu Cat. It was not to be.

Finally, at 1400, the crane lumbered into FKG’s yard and edged up to the quay in front of Leu Cat. It took another 30 minutes for the various workers to finish whatever they had been working on and come over to hook up our mast. Within 30 minutes after that, our mast was refitted back onto our boat and the crane lumbered away. The rest of the very hot and humid day was spent tightening and tuning the shrouds and head stay, remounting the boom and threading the running rigging. By 1700 we were told they would need another hour or so to finish so they would return tomorrow morning to finish the work.

Island time reins and there just is not much one can do but grin and bear it. We get to spend another night on this side of the island, making friends with the very friendly mosquitos, listening to the wonderful bar music that Lagoonies play and the clinking of glassware when beers and booze are refilled and spilled. If I sound a might put out, you are right. I am sitting, sweating like a pig, as I write this as in the evenings, this side of the lagoon does not get much wind, unlike our nice little spot back over at Simpson Bay Marina, with its cooling breezes. Ahhh, such is the glorious and exciting life of a world cruiser…

Year 10 Day 108 A Lazy Day

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

We were all set to throw off the dock lines and run across the bay to where FKG is located. Last week they had told us to be ready to come right at 0800 today. However, when I called at 0745 to confirm, we were told not to come as things would not be ready until tomorrow. With this disappointing news, we decided to just relax and take it easy.

Our big event of the day was to dinghy across the bay to the Island Water World chandlery where we bought a new masthead light. Tyrell, the electrician that I asked to inspect our wiring that runs up through the mast, discovered that one of the connection pins to our existing masthead light is wobbly and is about to break. My option was to contact the manufactures and order a new connection fitting, which may take weeks to get here, or just buy a whole new light. We opted for the later.

Ally, of S/V Blue Heeler stopped by our boat this morning. We last saw Ally and Wayne in February at the Cousteau Marine Reserve in Guadeloupe. We have bumped into them in Indonesia, the Chagos (in the middle of the Indian Ocean), Guadeloupe and now here. They also will be sailing to the Azores as they make their way to England.

She shared with us that she is putting together a radio net for those who will be making the passage to the Azores. In fact, a few boats left last week and she is in contact with them. Others will be leaving this week and she and Wayne are thinking about leaving in a week or so. We shared that we will be waiting towards the end of May before we make the decision to start. We wish to let the North Atlantic High be well established before we leave. Another couple that we first met in the Chagos back in 2014, Brian and Chris of S/V Coruisk are here also and they too are planning on leaving towards the end of May. As you can see, everyone has different ideas as to when it is the best time to leave.

I will need to test our SSB radio to see how well it is working. We have not used it since we first started to cross the Indian Ocean back in 2014. Since then, during passage making we have relied on our old satellite phone and our current Iridium Go to get our weather reports, emails and to post our daily blogs. This was because the SSB radio station reception that SailMail used (we use SailMail to get our reports, emails and to post our daily blog) was very poor and unreliable across the Indian Ocean. I now have one more boat project which is to check out our SSB.

We are now hoping that tomorrow, around mid-morning, we will be able to return to FKG to have our mast installed. We have our fingers crossed…

Year 10 Day 107 Happy Mother’s Day!

14 May 2017 | Simpson Bay Marina, Cole Bay, Sint Maarten
Dave/Partly Cloudy

It is Mother’s Day all around the world today. What a great celebration! Moms are so very special as they, more than anyone else, shape the people we become and have such a great impact on who we are. We did our part today in recognizing the remarkable persons who make up the mothers in our lives. First, I made the very special mom in my life, my wife and mother of our three wonderful kids, breakfast. It was French toast (made with a real French baguette since we are on an island that is actually part of France) and bacon, smothered in Canadian Maple Syrup.

We next video called each of our kids since this is the first year in our lives where they each are a mother (or a mother-to-be). Our eldest, Heather, is a foster mom with a very cute little 6-month-old baby girl (Victoria), our second daughter, Christina, is mom to three very active little ones (Isaac, Stella and Wyatt) and our daughter-in-law, Allison, who is expecting in September. Whoo Hoo! The tribe grows and it is wonderful thing to have three moms who love and nurture their little ones (and little one to be).

We finished our special day with a wonderful German dinner of wiener schnitzel and beef stroganoff with sides of spätzle and red cabbage. The meal was coupled with Engel Pils from Germany. It was topped off with apple strudel and ice cream. Yum! This was Mary Margaret’s wish and her wish was my command. I had walked over to the Bavarian Restaurant that is across the street from our marina and brought it back to Leu Cat so we could enjoy it in the comfort of our boat. It was the perfect ending to a very special day. Moms are so great and special, everyday should be Mother’s Day!

More On Weather

13 May 2017
This the SailMail representation of the GFS model result for today. I actually prefer this graphic over the Windytv graphic because it gives me wind direction and strength, areas of significant rain and swell height in one graphic.

More On Weather

13 May 2017
Here is the GFS model result for today. While there are some differences with the ECMWF model for today, there is very minor. This tell me that what each model is showing should be fairly accurate.
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 - Wedding Reception and Dinner
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Added 1 April 2009

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