Since 1978 I have been fortunate to sail wooden boats. In 2006 I set out to find a Drascombe Coaster. This is the continuing story of how it came to be, our sailing adventures, and notes on our maritime world...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My First Drascombe

Today I read more in the Log of Spartina about my friend Steve's new friendship with Webb Chiles. If you sail a small boat or maybe any boat for that matter you have probably read about the adventures of Webb Chiles and his Drascombe Lugger. If not, crank up your Google... its some of the best.

Webb Chiles aboard Chidiock Tichborne, 1978

I was lucky to find a Lugger back in the early 1990s in Southern Maryland. I was working as a curator at the Calvert Marine Museum and among other things she became my 'research vessel' and commuter craft. We lived out near the end of Drum Point and to get to work I would drive inland and turn back southeast to Solomons Island. It was much closer by water, so many days I would get out early and sail/motor along the creeks and tie up at work beside the bugeye Wm. B. Tennison under the old Drum Point Lighthouse. In the late afternoon 'we' would return as the sun set.

Maggie Mae belongs to a friend there now and I am sure she still cuts the water along the Maryland Chesapeake.

Maggie Mae

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is Your Centerboard Banging?

While hauled out last week I checked the centerboard and rudder wells and especially the slots where they come through the hull. The centerboard (or better centerplate) had slapped side to side at anchor and in mixed seas when Annie was first built. Several years ago with the help of my friend Jay in St. Augustine, we attached heavy plastic (1/4" thick) with stainless screws either side of the slot to close in on the plate and effectively narrow the opening. The slapping ceased and on recent inspection, they appear to be in good condition. The stainless centerplate always hangs a couple inches proud of the hull so it hasn't caught above the plastic and failed to drop. Something to consider?

Centerplate at the bottom right

Friday, April 4, 2014

'Yard' Work

Spring is here and so are the tasks I deferred for one reason or another. Annie's trailer has taken a rust beating in the continuous saltwater dipping over the past seven years. So I got the folks at Morningstar to lift her off with straps hanging from the forks of their lift. It worked well, having made sure to position the straps under bulkheads.

The bolts had been sprayed with WD40 on my last visit.  I began cranking off them where possible with a long braker bar. Some needed grinding and all sorts of coaxing. Most were 1/2" bolts that took a lot out of the ole boy. The safety cables were shot so they got replaced too and in the end, after a lot of wire brushing and a coating of lithium grease, I felt pretty good about the condition.

Annie looked exceptionally good after a long winter. There is nothing quite like a well fitting cover. The rails got a touch up of Cetol and I decided it was a good time to paint the bottom. The hardware in Mathews had a quart of generic, red, ablative bottom paint that went on easy.

 It reminded me of 30 years ago when I cleaned and painted yacht bottoms when I was living aboard Quelle. I did remember to wear gloves and cover up. Probably have ample copper coursing through my veins.


2013  (different boat, different cap)

Sunset through the Milhaven bridge

Stayed aboard and awoke early, had a great shower and arrived at Linda's Diner when they opened at 6:30. The regulars had the bar almost full and were giving the young morning cook a well meaning 'hard time'. Big cholesterol-laced breakfast with black coffee.

Sunrise, pre-coffee

Getting a little local talk at Linda's

I finished up and Annie was resettled on her trailer about 10:30. A quick motor flush - second pull!- and off to Deltaville to check on the museum. The deadrise 1/2 scale model was close to finish and is looks great. Capt. Crunch and his team have really been working.

Crunch's lunch break

Curved horn timber

Inside the round stern

Looking forward to returning soon for a day in the water... aboard Annie with her smooth belly gliding through the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

Friday, March 28, 2014


While in St. Augustine I went by my friend Edward's sail loft. We go back a long way and he has repaired sails, made covers for my boats, and helped me out uncountable times. He co-founded SPARS, a not-for-profit that teaches kids to sail in Optimist prams. If you're ever blown out or just down that way let me know and I'll give you directions...

Ed always looked good in pink

It's in there somewhere

Ordered chaos. Old guys seem to like to work that way.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Just Back from St. Augustine

We saw our old friends, ate good food, played a lot of music and enjoyed the beaches of Coastal Georgia and North Florida. Here are some pics from a day on the St Johns River...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Early Morning

The streets are like glass. Took a walk.. more of a slide.. and noticed a hibernating skiff snoozing under a white comforter. Wanted to wake her up but thought better of it.
Better pay attention. Working on my snow legs. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Staying Warm on Land and at Sea

I am restoring my Dad's old Sunny Jim wood stove that he had in his workshop for as long as I can remember. My cousin rescued it from Dad's house before it sold and we picked it up on a trip to North Carolina this past weekend. It will be a welcome addition to the studio although much of this winter has passed.

Stove Black saves the day

Wood stoves are great in most any situation, but onboard a traditional sailboat... I believe that's the best. If I had a bit larger cabin (Annie is just to small) and a deep pocket- the Sardine would be first choice. The green enamel one below is on the Scandinavian workboat/yacht Sjogin. More here.

What's not to like?

I did have a small wood stove on my first boat Quelle. A picture is buried in our Florida storage but here is a shot that shows the Charlie Noble chimney on the bottom right.

Winged out in late afternoon, 1979

So grab your stocking cap and some fat lighter, cook the coffee and unplug the bottle of Irish! The rest of the winter will be fine. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Twisted Stave

After a planning meeting at Deltaville Maritime a few of us dropped by Capt. Crunch's sign shop where a few volunteers were building a 1/2 scale model of a deadrise fishing boat. It will be an interactive in the new exhibit building...

Russell shapes staves that cross plank the bow. The model is being built upside down
and will be flipped once the 'underwater' part of the hull is completed

John England inspects the stave. It has been band sawed out of thicker
stock to form the twisted shape needed at that point.

Looking aft. The stem is at the bottom left, the keel running back,
and the chine on the bottom right.

The horn timber curves to bring the flat aft end up to the
surface of the water. This is to create the bouyancy needed to semi-plane...
desired in a fast running Chesapeake fishing boat.

Deadrise at work
Painting ©Curt Bowman 2013

Saturday, February 15, 2014

New Work

I have just finished the small work in a series that comes from my sailing. A departure from my more representational paintings. Back to the easel...

QuayGlyph #9, Oil, mahogany veneer, zinc powder and
laser transfer on steel, 15" x15"
© Curt Bowman 2014, All rights reserved

           then click Painting, Fine Art: On the Quay

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Space for Spars

We're in our new house and I have just finished off my workshop/studio. It's an out building so often lately I have been trudging out there through the snow. Although many of my friends 'creatively' comment about the winter here, I am quite liking it. We are predicted another blast tonight. Soups on...

Early morning white

Hanging insulation... a necessary itch

Ready to paint and as my friend Capt. Jay said, "a space for spars"

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Phoenix Rises

Last week I drove over to Deltaville, Virginia to consult on a museum project. The Deltaville Maritime Museum is rebuilding after a devastating fire in 2012 that took the museum building, the attached pavilion, several boats and much of the collection and exhibits. It is a volunteer-based institution and they have come back strong.

Photo: Larry Chowning

A new pavilion, comprised of a large kitchen and multi-purpose hall, as well as a new exhibit and office building have been constructed. Grants are in place to start exhibit development and everyone is working hard to "rise again".

A retrospective of John Barber's paintings of the Chesapeake will be the first exhibit opening in April with much more to come. I am really looking forward to being a part of this worthwhile endeavor.

New Museum Building and Exhibit Hall

Open architecture with clerestory windows

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cold is a Relative Term

Today we drove to the Bay to check on Annie and to take a painting to the gallery in Mathews. It was a bright, clear day in the 30's and climbing down below reminded me of cold nights out in early trips. She was dry and had a crisp, still feel aboard. Asleep awaiting the spring when her 'mates'... wind and water join in again.

After returning home and a nice dinner we watched the second episode of Chasing Shackleton on PBS Video Online. Extreme sailors and mountaineers attempt to recreate the heroic rescue voyage of the polar explorer. It is a grueling endeavor with great scenes of a relentless Southern Ocean off Antarctica. I grabbed a blanket about half way through. Recommended.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Finding Treasures

It is cold and raining outside and a good afternoon to organize and sort out files in our new house. Came upon images of a working marina with railways that led into towering man-cut caverns used to shelter work in progress. I had sketched there, taking in the remnants of material culture and maritime traditions that the setting offered me alone that afternoon.

On location: Marina di Cassano, Sant A'gnello, Campania, Italy  2006

c. early 20th century view