Since 1978 I have been fortunate to sail wooden boats. In 2006 I set out to find a Drascombe Longboat Cruiser for single-handed expedition sailing. This is the continuing story of how it came to be, our adventures, notes on the maritime world and other things I don't want to forget...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sketch of the Day

At the end of last April we passed through Jekyll Island, Georgia before our trip to Spain and Portugal. Walking along the shrimp boat docks we saw an egret tiptoeing along a shrimper's stern eyeing the hold, maybe hoping for some leftovers. I hope he scored.

Checking the Hold   pen & watercolor wash
© Curt Bowman 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Best River Town

Richmond, Virginia- where we now live- was built on the James River at the fall line where the Piedmont Plateau drops to the Coastal Plain. It is navigable up to the downtown area and beyond is strewn with boulders and rushing waters and in some places Class V rapids. In October Richmond was awarded "The Best River Town in America" by Outside Magazine. The article is worth a read.

I went across the river yesterday afternoon, along the skywalk to Belle Isle. The sun was going down and it was quite warm. I will go back again soon.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Had fried shrimp lately?

I'm thinking about a big platter. With sides of hushpuppies and cole slaw. Maybe a large sweet tea...

Probably won't indulge until we return to St. Augustine for a visit. Northeast Florida is the birthplace of modern shrimping and still somewhat home to shrimp boats and the industry that they provide for. It is nothing like it used to be but you can still get some of the best anywhere.

Shrimper on the easel...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Return to Solomons

From 1988-1993 we lived in Solomons, Maryland on the western shore of the Chesapeake. I was the curator of design and exhibits at the Calvert Marine Museum. It was an exciting and challenging job that took me from the great eastern maritime museums to the dinosaur fossil fields of Alberta to Great White Shark research in Capetown, South Africa. Our daughter was born there in 1990 and we all wanted to return and see what had become of that place and those we had known. So this past Friday the three of us headed up and had fun exploring and remembering that time in our lives.

The same exhibits with new upgrades. 20 years later.

Maritime Patuxent, the permanent maritime exhibition

Our family with Megalodon, in the
paleontology exhibit I designed

One of the many aquariums in The Estuarium

Boat basin with Small Craft Shed beyond

Drum Point Lighthouse

The first boat I built was here... a 12' sailing skiff

A view from atop the lighthouse

Wm. B. Tennison, the oldest, Coast Guard approved,
passenger carrying vessel on the Chesapeake

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Late Fall in Florida

Today is Thanksgiving here in the States and we are cooking and hanging out at home. My friend Ron sent me a note and a picture from Placida just north of where Terry and I sailed about this time last year. I was really taken by the image and stayed up late painting it. Annie and I will get back there some day. Highly recommended!

Still Harbor, Placida
Pen & Wash, 8" x 10"
© Curt Bowman 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Getting Up to Speed

Have been painting everyday and starting to get in the groove. I've gotten a good response... that sure helps in this sometimes lonely endeavor. Thank you to all and Happy Thanksgiving with your family tomorrow.

PS Catch a fish and save a turkey!

Basque Fishing Boat Tenders
Acrylic on canvas  24" x 24"

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pokin' Around

It was sunny and warmer on Sunday when we went to the Bay to check on Annie. I cleaned and checked tie downs while Ellie collected sticks and branches for the fireplace. Hurricane Sandy had left a lot of fuel on the ground but had spared the Pepper Creek area from damage. 

Annie's custodian

We decided to drive to Urbanna and take a few photos for ideas for new paintings. There weren't many folks about so we took liberties and poked around the areas marked for 'slip owners only'. Here's some of the sights...

Made to Fish

Alberg Typhoon


Too bad it was closed

Water garage

Old Favorites


Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Friend Calls Me Sketch

I'm just in from North Carolina and I have gotten a number of nice responses to my drawing of Spartina. I love to draw... especially boats. For those interested a small original of your boat in a 9 x 12" mat is $200, and limited edition prints at $40 of Spartina plus shipping. Larger pen & wash, and acrylic paintings are also available on commission. Send me an email at

Visit my maritime painting site CLICK HERE. Thanks for interest!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Back to Work

Annie is covered and quiet near the Mobjack Bay and I am in Richmond typing this (or is it keystroking these days) in my studio. I am now an aspiring maritime artist who is trying to cast off thoughts of how daunting a decision that is and will be. Just Do It is my mantra. Time will tell. 

Got a half a cord of wood 

In Process

Monday, October 29, 2012

Storm Update

We talked to Frog this morning and he has postponed his departure south due to high water in Mathews County. He said that high tide had brought water from Pepper Creek across the yard and up to the stairs leading into Denise and Van's house. His trailer and Annie were fairing well. He thinks the worst will be over by midday and he will head toward NC. I will try to get out there in a few days after our return to Richmond. Best of luck to those further north.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


With Hurricane Sandy churning offshore and being called "Frankenstorm", I have been on alert about Annie. Mathews County Virginia is quite low with the area that she is stored being only a few feet above mean high tide. We are in western North Carolina with my father this weekend and watching the predictions closely. The latest reports say that landfall will be in the New Jersey/ Philadelphia area with a 900 mile wind field. Hurricane Irene left the Mathews area slightly flooded with a similar storm surge as to that predicted for Sandy. If thatholds true we should be OK. Will see what the news is tomorrow morning...

Annie's space

Monday, October 22, 2012

Talking to the Wind

October is a perfect month to sail and it has been a great for me this year. New places, new challenges and good friends.

I drove back to Mathews yesterday morning, picked up Annie at Winter Harbor and met my friend Frog at the county ramp at Put In Creek. We rigged, launched and headed south down the 'mighty' East River toward Mobjack Bay. I pressed Frog into service at the helm while I piddled around on deck and below. With a soft NW breeze we worked well against the incoming tide. Making the point at Mobjack village we headed west on a reach. A beautiful, crisp day.

Frog at the helm

The tide slacked as we tacked across the Mobjack and up the North River. I was thinking our friend Jim Brown lived on Blackwater Creek.  Jim is the designer of Sea Runner trimarans that many built and sailed bluewater in the 70s and 80s mostly. We had seen Jim a couple weeks back and I wanted to see Scrimshaw that has brought the four Browns from California to North, Virginia over 30 years ago.

We ran out of wind as we snaked up Blackwater and I sculled us over to dock where a man offered a mooring. We accepted, had pasta that Frog packed and turned in early. Frog set up in the cockpit (without the tent to sleep under the stars) and I crawled into my warren down below. I awoke this morning and found Frog deep in his sleeping bag that was pretty much soaked on the outside with heavy dew. We dried up a bit and had a breakfast of granola bars and bananas.

Morning fog on the creek

Note: Frog remembered that Jim lived on the East River! Oh well maybe a visit next time when I have more time.

We headed south with an outgoing tide and downwind run. It was another beautiful cool day.  A reach across the north reach of the Mobjack and short tacks up the East River luckily with an incoming tide. Frog talked to wind as we tacked and it seemed to respond. We hauled out and I took Annie to our friends Denise and Van's house to store off Pepper Cove. I decided this new home will be better for the winter. Maybe we will go back to Winter Harbor Haven again for a stay sometime...

Blue Sky Days

A deadrise workboat on the East River

Pink going, yellow returning. 36 miles

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

From Norfolk to Moon

Saturday I drove to Norfolk, Virginia. My friend Steve picked me up at the town dock in Spartina. We sailed along the Elizabeth River and passed by ships and shipyards on our way to the docks where schooners had arrived from Baltimore. After a lot of looking around and a nice lunch on the Virginia we headed back out for more sailing. Steve's friend Scott joined us on quite a beautiful, cool day and after back on shore I headed north around 4.


Up close

Schooner rigging

Pride of Baltimore

It was late afternoon by the time I reached Annie at Winter Harbor. The sunset was outstanding. Slept well onboard at the marina and rigged early in the still morning.

Loaded and launched, we reached out toward Wolf Trap Light. Tacking north on a slow downwind run brought us to Hole in the Wall at the southeast end of Gwynns Island. A series of zig-zagging markers led to a swing bridge and a stop to pick up some gas. I by chance met a fellow named Tom working on his boat and he invited me to his cabin for dinner. I accepted and backtracked until reaching Billups Creek where I tied up. Nice conversation and baked puppy drum. I asked what we were near and he said the village of Moon. And by the way... his boat is named Eclipse. Seems an appropriate choice.

Woke early, put on the lights and headed back up the creek at 530. The sun came up as I reached the bay. There was a stiff 20 knot wind on the nose so I went to engine power. The dodger sure came in handy as we plowed into the chop. Annie's sharp bow split the waves well and I got back to Winter Harbor ahead of the approaching rain. Glad not to have a truck full of wet canvas again!

Wolf Trap Light


Yellow heading north and blue returning. 30.8 miles.