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...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy for the Nice Press

While at The Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival I was asked to write a bit about my painting. It turned up in the winter issue of Ash Breeze, the journal of the Traditional Small Craft Association. Thanks to Andy Wolfe and Mike Wick.   Click here to view on page 6...

Friday, December 20, 2013

First Out, Last In

Really fine seafood is harvested on the Chesapeake's western shore of Virginia. This year I was lucky to get some of the best oysters I can remember. And there were a few fine crabcakes as well.

Watermen that work the Bay off The Hole in the Wall, along the Pianktank and length of the Rappahannock are close to this often trying environment... up and out even in the coldest months. Here's a Happy Holiday to them and their families. Thank you for the treats.

First Out, Last In
Watercolor on Arches paper
© Curt Bowman 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Night Fishing

Although I studied ichthyology in graduate school, researched white sharks in South Africa and cook a tasty Huachinango a la Veracruzana... I am not a fisherman. In fact you could probably count the fish I've caught on your fingers and toes. That includes trash on the line.

I do see a bit of poetry in it. Especially the lone fisherman. I am trying to capture that in my painting.

Moonlight on East River, Mathews County
© Curt Bowman 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013


A couple of months ago I rented a garage in an alley in the Museum District, a few blocks from where we live. It is a nice walk and a quiet sanctuary where work can be done. Annie is put up for the winter and her spars are hanging on the wall awaiting a bit of renewal and next spring season. 

Working on a large series of paintings on steel. They blend maritime tradition and the non-objective. In process...

A place for lists

Oil and transfer on steel


Hipster table



Never too many shelves

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

At the Easel

Finishing up on a commission for my friend Michael. Painting is a bit like a sailing trip. You give your best, take some chances and see how it all comes out...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Looking (Way) Back

I have been organizing my photo files and came upon images of my first boat. She was my home in the late 70's and these pics bring back lots of memories. Her name was Quelle, an English Alan Buchanan-designed Spartan, carvel planked of African mahogany on steamed black oak frames. 23' on deck, 6' 6" beam and 4' of draft. I hope she still sails as sweet and whomever sails her loves her half as much as I did.

Day of departure, Kitty Hawk, NC

On the railway

Down below


Overtaking a pinky schooner, offshore St. Augustine, FL

Wing and wing

Film 'Takes'

To be truthful Captain Phillips was more of a nail-biter for me. There is just something about a guy with a gun that you don't understand what he's saying. All is Lost plods along. I guess I have contemplated his situation over the years and have read so many stories that it was not that shocking. Not that I ever want to be in his situation. It was rough to say the least.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Edge of My Seat?

I'm off to the early movie. All is Lost just opened in Richmond. Single-handed and lost at sea. Last night my daughter and I saw Captain Phillips. Hijacked at sea. How much suspense can a guy take in 24 hrs? We'll see...

Sunday, October 27, 2013


We went out to Mathews County today for a birthday celebration for a number of friends. Warm sun, cool temp, and plenty of food. I was happy to see the oysters steaming in their own juice atop an old 55 gallon drum. Fresh out of Pepper Creek about a hundred yards away.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One Billion

On my recent trip to St. Michaels, Maryland I took Annie up Harris Creek behind Tilghman Island. It was warm and mostly still and made for a perfect place to anchor, fix lunch and draw boats.

Harris Creek

Under us were oysters. I was unaware at the time but it was heartening to find out later here. The Bay was down for years but not beaten. Thanks to those who knew and acted.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Michael's Coracle

Michael and I have been sailing friends for years. Once we were coming across the bar at Cortez, Florida in his Marsh Hen and we jibed, the boom caught on the stay and we came within feet of the restaurant docks at the Star Fish Co. Can still see those wide eyes with their mouths full of fish sandwiches.

Although he no longer has the Marsh Hen he brought his recently-built coracle to St. Michaels. It was a hit. The small 'basket' boat moved in and out of the small craft as he propelled her by pulling in water in a modified sculling motion. You can find more notes and pictures here. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Penoscot 14 times 3

I failed to mention the final manifestation of a Penobscot 14 that came through our shop in Florida a couple of years ago. The hull had been made in Miami, purchased and moved to St. Augustine where I cleaned up epoxy and added seats, rails and centerboard trunk, etc., and resold to a fellow named Doug from Gainesville who finished her out. She was launched and continues to sail in Florida turning up on the Gulf from time to time. A belated Fine Job Doug. 

Terry tying down the hull in Miami

Coming out of our shop 'midstream'

Ransom II...  tricked out in Crystal River, Florida

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I just finished a track map of last week's trip to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It reminded me of an exploration a couple of years ago around St. Augustine, Florida where I lived. They appear to be somewhat frenetic meanderings. It happens.


St. Augustine, Florida

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rainy Days

I was in line at the semi-annual Garage Sale at REI before 8am this morning. I have always wanted to go to one of these 'events' and it was fun. I have been a member of the coop since the mid-70s and still use equipment from those days. Although I was an avid backpacker then, the gear has commuted well to small craft sailing.

I grabbed a small folding chair for sketching when ashore, a pair of long quick-dry pants, and used my 10% yearly dividend. That equaled $0 out of pocket! I hope you have a store near you.

We are headed to the Richmond Folk Festival tomorrow. It has been going on in the rain and we are hoping it will slack off during the night. Eleanor is keen on hearing Portuguese fado and I, the Dardenelles. They are an old time band from Newfoundland, Canada. Wouldn't it be fine to sail there one day!

Bristol Channel Cutter Elizabeth off Newfoundland

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

When the water was flat and the autumn sun was high, I found a boat to draw under a shady tree.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Back Home

Just back from a week's trip across the Bay to Tilghman Island, Oxford, Wye Island and St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. For the most part it was light airs and unseasonably warm temperatures. In fact it was hot and still most of the time. But I had a nice time, saw old friends and made several new ones along the way.

Stay tuned for later...

Tilghman Island

Running wing and wing

Up the Wye River

Melanesian outrigger


Crossing the Bay

Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival

My fall sail is starting to shape up. It appeared to have derailed, but with a bit of maneuvering, I was able to find a window clear of shore-side responsibilities.

The current plan is to pick up Annie in Gwynns Island and trailer up to Breezy Point, Maryland on the western shore of the Chesapeake. From there sail northwest across to Eastern Bay and on to Wye Island to join a gunkholing  group out of St. Michaels, Maryland. They are originating from the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival where I will continue to. It is been many years since I have attended and am looking forward to seeing old friends.

St. Michaels

Preliminary route

Now off to research waypoints. Oh by the way, my friend Steve is headed through and across the canals and rivers of eastern North Carolina on way to Beaufort and beyond. You can follow his track at the Log of Spartina

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Starting to plan an early October trip from Solomons Island to St. Michaels, Maryland. Moving up the Bay. I'll keep you posted but for now we're walking out to find a diner. Its a beautiful day and I still have a bit of sole left on my summer sandals...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Down by the Reservoir

Earlier this summer we walked through the trees along the Ashokan Reservoir, on a cool,  sunny day in the Catskills. We came upon scores of flipped-over johnboats cabled to trees along the shore. The environment had left its marks. Something in me thought to scrape and paint... my other self wished that I could create something half as good.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Annie... down below

Friday was a beautiful day and I had it off. I've seemed to have become a handyman for several clients. It affords me a lot of independence such as painting and sailing, and I appreciate that. 

It would have been swell sailing day but opted to deep clean. I have had requests from online friends to describe the interior of Annie, a one-off Drascombe. So as I swabbed, I got these snaps...

You are looking aft, starboard side. The door is storage
under the bridge deck and the centerplate trunk is on the right.
I had just replaced the teak floor boards. The wheel is take-up for the
 centerplate line that leads out to the cockpit. 

I made a padded filler to span the well

This makes a level sleeping area

Storage netting extends around both sides with a
heavy bungee threaded through the top

Since I am rather thin I use a 2 1/2"
self inflatable mattress

Here is the berth made up. It is out of the way with the
 companionway on the port side.

Looking forward there are two compartments with heavy gear:  extra claw anchor
water and tools

With hatches replaced

Originally the centerplate trunk extended
forward. Since the stainless plate did not fill the entire well
I was able to make a substantial cut-out that afforded
more room to move about below

Brass door "button"

Small forepeak area beyond the forward bulkhead

Small ventilation hatch

Shelf for books, charts and registration papers with leather 'lee cloth'

Aft cabin coaming basket storage for quick grabs

Centerplate well cover with removable fiddles

Looking aft, port side. The companionway is above and the gusher pump
plumbing can be seen inside the bridge deck storage.

Cleaning the cockpit bilge