ST. CHARLES, Mo. – A couple who started sailing the Great Loop on June 24 from Rhode Island is now stuck in St. Charles, but they are spreading positivity in the local community as they wait to leave.
Their boat is sitting at Port Charles Harbor as it waits for a part to come in for a much-needed repair.
Susan and Greg Costas chronicle their adventures in their boat, “Lucky Me,” on a Facebook page called Lucky Me Looping.
“Lucky Me” is a 2008 35-foot Tiara 3500 Sovran that was manufactured in Holland, Michigan. The Costas purchased her in 2017.
“We’re not rich, we have retired earlier than most,” Susan Costa said. “For three days or maybe a week, we’re in a community on our boat, learning about our community, talking to people and we want to do something to make a difference.”
“Lucky Me” boat repair saga
Their boat has now been sitting at the port located in St. Charles since Oct. 9. The Costas realized their boat was in need of repairs when they were leaving Peru, Illinois on Oct. 4 and their starboard transmission broke.
Susan wrote in a Facebook post that Lucky Me needs a new Volvo Integrated Propulsion System (IPS) pod drive and transmission.
Susan said the transmission is part of the IPS pod drive. The IPS joystick allows for precision docking in less than ideal weather or sea conditions, according to Susan, and she and Greg love this feature. This issue has thrown a wrench in the couple’s trip.
Susan said on Thursday that their new transmission had arrived and the new IPS drive has been shipped from Volvo’s factory in Sweden. At the time of her post, the IPS drive was in Denmark and awaiting the next steps in the shipping process.
Susan said the IPS drive will arrive in an 800-pound crate. Susan said she is unsure how quickly the large crate will get to St. Charles.
This weekend, the couple heads to the Looper Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, Alabama Saturday via a rental car.
They plan to be back in St. Charles on October 23. Susan seems hopeful that their boat will be ready to head south on the Mississippi River at the end of October or early November. They plan to go to their Florida home “for a couple of weeks till the boat is ready to continue the journey.”
Charity work along the Great Loop
During the Costas’ time in St. Charles, they have made multiple charitable donations to area organizations. Susan wrote in a Facebook post that she and Greg have dubbed these acts “Loopers Care.”
“At various stops along our Great Loop journey, we have a goal of doing something to make a difference,” Susan said in a Facebook post. “This can be volunteering, making a donation, or purchasing items a local nonprofit needs.”
They started this tradition during their first Great Loop trip that lasted from January 2019 to June 2020. During that trip, they made 30 charitable donations throughout their travels.
The Costas completed Loopers Care act 42 on Oct. 13. They purchased 180 pounds of cat food for Five Acres Animal Shelter. Their 43rd Loopers Care act was completed on Friday.
“It was very heart-touching to receive all this outpour from the community,” Costa said.
The Costas contacted Crisis Nursery in St. Charles and the staff told them they were in need of a baby swing. So the Costas showed up to the Crisis Nursery with two.
Susan said they even did a bonus Loopers Care act and “dropped off 4 ball & bat sets for the local “Toys For Tots” drive drop-off site at Wineology, 3767 New Town Blvd, St Charles.”
“There’s just an excitement, like, wow you’re 1,000 miles away from where you live and you’re going to help our community. It’s so amazing for us but it’s just fun the response we get back,” Costa said.
As they wait for a replacement for a piece of their boat, they now have more time to do one more act of charity. They hope to be out in the next two weeks but as they wait, they might be here even longer.
What is the Great Loop?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration run by the U.S. Department of Commerce said, “The Great Loop is a continuous waterway that recreational mariners can travel that includes part of the Atlantic, Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America’s heartland.”
The loop is approximately 6,000 miles.