The Name

The butterfly - Araschnia Levana

Sailing around blue waters one comes across wildest and strangest boat names. Most often the name tells about owner's dreams and desires and quite often it is also some smart play of the words, using homonyms (words that sound the same, like "see" and "sea"). I thought long and hard and then I settled for Levana. It is simple, clean sounding, easy to understand over the static in VHF radio. I was surprised to find that it has quite a number of meanings, from a name of a (minor) Roman goddess of newborn babies to a butterfly name. Araschnia Levana, "map" butterfly, ("Landkartchen" in German, "La Carte Geographique" in French), is found mostly in central and eastern Europe. Its two broods, spring and summer, are quite different. On the right and on the gennaker on the photo below is the spring edition of the butterfly.

You guessed - Lev and Ana

But all those meanings I found out later, after the name was made by combining my grandchildren's names, Lev and Ana. However, the butterfly association was really significant and it's colors made it in a big shape to Levana's gennaker and also as a tatoo onto my arm. It is definitely the most unique and the most beautiful sail around Virgin Islands (according to my biased opinion, of course). Sailmaker - Quantum Sails - had it shipped to an artist in Texas who hand painted it. So it is really a work of art. In its wind range - up to 18, maybe 20 knots it definitely pushes Levana close to her hull speed.

The Build

Island Packet 420, built in 2004, was sailed from Oxford, MD at the top of Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk, VA and then to St Thomas, VI in October 2004. According to builder's specifications she is 44'7" (13.6m) long with the beam of 14'3" (3.4m). She measures 37'4" (11.4m) on the waterline. With the draft of only 5' (1.5m) she can get quite close to the shore. Full keel makes her a little hard to turn, but she goes steady as a train on her course. Yes, she is heavy, 30,000 lbs (13,608 kg) displacement and 12,000 lbs (5,443 kg) lead ballast in her keel.

With her namesake on the sail

Cutter rig makes her sails smaller and easier to handle. In addition to furling jib, furling staysail and main furling into the boom she also carries a gennaker with her namesake butterfly on it. Leisure Furl boom was the last addition before our departure. It is a delicate setup but once you get the hold of it the sail goes up and down smoothly, especially with the help of an electric winch that I also added. To help her move through the water she also has a 75 HP Yanmar turbo diesel engine.

She comes equipped with 250 gal (950 l) water tank and 160 gal (606 l) fuel tank. We added a Spectra Cape Horn water maker with capacity of making 16 gal (60 l) of pure water per hour (not quite enough to take long hot showers) using about 20 A on 12 V circuit - or half that amount with only one of the two pumps running. It certainly takes some juice out of the home bank of six 100 Ah AGM batteries (we added two to the original four and there is a separate one of the same size for engine starter), but it gets replenished (depending on weather conditions) by four 85W solar panels and 400W Silentwind generator (400W when it really blows :-). To make life easier and to remove the clutter from my nav station where all the small inverters are connected (and everyone tries to recharge his/her gadgets) we installed a Victron inverter with 3000 VA capacity at 120V.

One of the biggest (and most expensive) alteration we made was removing the furling main sail and its hardware and replacing the original boom with Leasure furl boom and added new fully battened main sail. It was not an easy step, going from in mast to in boom furling since the sail needs hoisting track on the back of the mast and not inside as the in mast furling system has. The mast also had a wide opening for pulling the sail in which had to be closed and the track added.

Cutter rig

Levana is full of Garmin equipment. From GWS10 wind instrument on top of the mast, GMR18HD radar in the middle of the mast, speed/depth/temperature gauge and sonar at the bottom of the hull to two chart plotters, GPSMAP 721xs on the instrument panel and GPSMAP 527xs at the steering wheel and three GMI20 display instruments above the companionway. All connected through NMEA 2000 backbone and with Ethernet between both chart plotters so they can share charts from the micro SD cards. Raymarine autopilot (original equipment) is connected with NMEA 0183 to GPSMAP 721 to get waypoint and route information.

Our connection to the world is ICOM M802 SSB radio with SCS PTC-III USB modem and Airmail installed on both my laptops for use with Sailmail system. We also have an Iridium satellite phone that in addition to phone call can connect to Sailmail servers in case of really poor HF propagation on the single side band radio.

The Purpose

Levana's home was Virgin Islands for the last nine years. I flew to St Thomas on every occasion that I could muster enough time to set sail. I've crisscrossed Leeward and Windward Islands, from Puerto Rico to Grenada, researched Spanish Virgin Islands (Vieques is enchanted now after Navy left) and fell in love with Anegada and its reefs and beaches. But the real reason for Levana was to sail the open waters of big oceans. That's why Island Packet with full keel and that's why all the additions that provide autonomy at sea. And safety, of course. With hope of never have to use it I added Jordan series drogue to the ship inventory of safety devices (others include Viking raft and offshore life jackets with harnesses).

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