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...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Starting Winter Maintenance

A bit warmer and sunny on Saturday. With tools and lumber loaded in the truck I headed for Urbanna after dropping a painting off at the gallery in Mathews. Annie's mast and self-furling headsail needed some work. I made a 'ridge pole' to substitute for the mast that typically supports the boat cover...


The mainmast is a rather short spar, 13' 8". When raised its effective length is increased by the sliding gunter yard, that together support the large, triangular-shaped mainsail. When underway and the yard is dropped and lashed to the mast, most low bridges are easy to slip through.

The mainmast pivots on a deck-mounted tabernacle fitted with a 1/2" stainless bolt that acts as a pivot pin. When down, the mast rests on a crutch stepped into the mizzen mast position. This creates the nice 'ridge' to support the cover.

Ridge pole

The dodger is typically folded down below the dropped mast. I decided to remove it as well and upon return to the my studio/shop, I cleaned the clear plastic windows and stored it away. The spar made its way to the overhead... hopefully out of the way in my small space.

Mainmast and headsail stored awaiting repairs 

As the sun set... Sunny Jim took off the chill

Thursday, December 18, 2014


There is an art gallery called Frenchy's down in Mathews County, Virginia. It's small, very local and quite eccentric. Ben Richardson, the purveyor, has family roots that go deep. He carves Chesapeake wildlife, likes his PBR, and sells my paintings. We have become good friends and we are working together to find small ways to utilize art in the preservation of maritime traditions on the Bay. 

Down on Main Street


Packing Crabs
© Curt Bowman 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winding Down

2014 is steadily nearing its run. It was a good year for being on the water and exploring what it means to those who work it and those who use it to find themselves. I count myself among the later.

I spent a lot of this year painting maritime, both representational- for the most part images of waterman and their work boats; and abstract, non-objective pieces that reflect (I hope well) my on-board feelings that range from tranquility and wonderment to moments of fear.

I really enjoyed sailing across to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia this past year, and 'sneaking around' the beautiful Rappahannock River and its creeks.

Its our second year here in Virginia, and the end of the first year in our house in Richmond we call Base Camp. I believe we will be here for a while. We are making new friends and there is a lot of the Chesapeake and Outer Banks left to discover.

Off to Kentucky tomorrow for a few days to play a bluegrass Christmas gig then back home with the girls. Its a great time of year and I am quite lucky in more ways than I probably know. I hope everyone reading this is well, with their families this holiday and staying warm fixing and renewing their boats in anticipation for spring.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Many Seasons Past

Deadrise Rainbow
© Curt Bowman 2014

On the Wall

Eleanor and I recently returned from Florida where we had a successful showing of our paintings and sculpture at Amiro Art & Design. It is the first time I have shown a selection of my maritime abstract series On the Quay. If you would like to see more of the artwork visit and hold down the Painting tab...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What Sailors Do

The small craft sailors I know for the most part do one of two things. Go sailing or think about going sailing. It's 30 degrees (F) here today. I'm was just thinking.

And then- this image popped up in my thought...

Tampa Bay

Know what I mean?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Swamp Wagon

We just returned from a week in Florida. On the way down we stopped at my brother-in-law's in the port town of Brunswick, Georgia. He had a friend there working at the house who lived along the St. Mary's River, the winding border between Florida and Georgia. His vehicle spoke a lot about the Old Florida rarely visited anymore.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

There is Nothing Quite Like Old Friends

Our friends Tracy and Dianne came for a long weekend from Austin, Texas. Tracy and I were college roommates and traveling buddies. We built sand bag jetties on the southeast coast and, with Dianne, did a lot of backpacking in the '70s. Last Saturday Tracy and I lit out for Urbanna and put Annie in for an overnighter. Vera was home and went with us for a short sail before crossing the Rappahannock to head up Corrottoman River. Fair wind ESE carried Annie north on easy tacks. We reached a protected area behind a sand spit on the Eastern Branch that Vera had described before leaving us and we anchored for the night. Beautiful evening with a clear starry sky.

Tracy took the 'aft cabin', as I call it. It is the cockpit covered by a hooped cover that zips to the dodger forward and ends with a hooped batten in a sleeve aft. The tent is hauled aft and tied to the mizzen mast and snapped outboard to the rail. A filler board adds width and forms a pretty nice berth on the port side. I sleep below on the starboard side and it all seems to balance out.

Tracy at the helm

A beautiful Frances 26 by Morris overtakes us

Zooming in

Tracy said "Turn around"

Turning in early

The next morning we worked south and were met by an increasingly brisk wind from the north. Under reefed headsail and mizzen we quartered 2-3 ft. tightly-packed waves, plowing WSW. Got a bit wet and made headway until the last 1/2 mile where I cranked the kicker. We prudently opted to make for the Urbanna Creek entrance... just south of Robinson Creek where we launched.

Plenty of wind

After tying up at the dinghy dock Tracy treated us to a massive breakfast at the Virginia House in town. As we were waddling down the hill, John England happened by and gave me a ride back to his place where I retrieved the rig. When I returned we hauled out, washed down and after taking Annie back, set off for a tour of Deltaville and Mathews before returning to Richmond. It was a great time... we were long overdue for a shared experience.

Good friends... good times

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Last Weeks

Eleanor and I are in full swing readying for a 2-person show in St. Augustine, Florida opening November 7. My new work is, for the most part, on steel using oil, transfers, veneers and two-dimensional found objects gathered in boatyards. I am striving to convey moments of sailing... non-objective 'stills frames' that reflect my love for the water world. It is all coming together and a road trip is on the horizon.

QuayGlyph #19
24"x 24"
© Curtis Bowman 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Down the Bay

Just back from a long weekend on the restored log deck boat F.D Crockett out of the Deltaville Maritime Museum. We attended the Poqouson Seafood Festival and served as committee boat for the annual workboat races. Beautiful weather, great crew and generous hosts. Here's a few photos...

The 'Crockett' was built just up the river from Poquoson

A turn at the wheel

A commercial fisherman drops off the morning's catch

Ship traffic

John England, the Crockett's skipper and restorer

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Chasing Reds
Acrylic on canvas, 10" x 20"
©Curt Bowman 2014

Fall is Here

My friend Eddie and I sailed Annie in the Rappahannock Tuesday. It was quite cool and the wind was fresh. We shared a lot about our past times on the water, his plans for his new boat Una, and the possibility of taking her to the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival in a couple of weeks. I'm going in another direction this year but I hope Eddie will be there. They'll love seeing his work.

Eddie at the helm

Trading off

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Still a bit wet

Early to the Oyster Beds
Acrylic on canvas  30" x 40"
© Curt Bowman 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Last Weekend in August

Left out last Saturday for Urbanna to work on Annie's gas line. The section that connected to the outboard was thin-walled and was twisting and crimping. With John's help, we replaced and after a bit of retightening she held prime and fired off even after sitting for an hour. Success.

The day had worn on and Vera invited me for dinner. Sailors don't usually turn down home cooking... I wasn't going to be the exception. London broil, baked potato and FRIED OKRA. Whoopee!

I 'trailer camped' aboard Annie and the next morning I was served eggs, bacon and coffee and a good discussion about the maritime museum exhibit we are planning together. Later as I lit out for their neighborhood ramp. The wind was fresh and even with a mess of jet skis buzzing around the entrance to Town Creek like a bees around a hive I found some nice quiet reaches out into the Rappahonnock. A small wooden sloop tacked back and forth on the edges. Pretty cream-colored sails.

Forward to Sunday...  Back at home it was time to party. Our daughter is moving to San Francisco this week and her friends were invited to a send-off. Harkening back to our 20 years of living on an island in Florida, we decided to get our 'tropical back on'. So I set up a make-shift cooking station and we cranked up our 'go to' Mexican and Cuban treats. It was all really fun, but bitter sweet as well.