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...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Carving Chisel

I finished the inventory of what I lost last night and sent it along to the insurance adjuster. Quotes on clearing and rebuilding are also being finished and submitted. I am hoping for some help from insurance but not at all sure how much... or when.

Annie's spars are well charred and the sails, sheets and halyards are completely gone. There is metal gear- furling swivel, tangs, wire shrouds, mast band and more- that is intact but need replacing. A house fire is around 1100 degrees F. and I do not trust the metals strength. After taking measurements I sawed the mast ends off and there is a lot of good eastern red spruce still inside. It may be possible to get a smaller spar out.

I spent a good amount of time yesterday digging through the debris to remember things for the inventory and found a few pieces intact. Cleaned up a carving gouge that could still 'still plow a row'. It felt like a start and that's a good feeling.

The only discernible remnant of a set of tanbark sails.


Salvageable spruce

A bucket of found objects

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Up Early

Its early Christmas morning and I am up alone. The house is still cold as the furnace catches up with the new day. The girls will get to sleep in and I'll have this time to remember this past week.

I have had a lot of friends checking in. Thoughtful messages, letters, deposits on future artwork and small checks from folks I've not seen in years. Richmond friends have passed along spare house tools. Many of my 'boat buddies' have pledged to rally for a building party when the spring returns.

When I can bring myself to it I have picked through the wet ashes. Found my grandfather's WWI knife and several tools that I used in the '80s when I carved and sold sugar pine fish in Santa Fe. One of the megalodon teeth kept from my work on white shark in South African survived. I hadn't known how much these small things would remind me of the long, rich life I've been fortunate to experience.

Good news... although Annie's sail maker is out of business, their sister shop is still in going in Burlington, Vermont and have all the original accounts and specifications. They have quoted me and new sails are my first priority. Shaw & Tenney have the spar plans but due to cost I will opt to build myself. Friend John has a stash of seasoned spruce that might come into play.

Now I'm selfishly hoping the girls get up soon. Thank you to everyone for your support. And Merry Christmas!

"Seeing If I Still Have It", acrylic on canvas, ©Curtis Bowman 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Looking Ahead

The thought of Annie laying at anchor on a warm spring evening is keeping me up and strong for the tasks ahead. As Uncle Benny used to say "just steps on earth".

Spider Key, Tampa Bay, Florida 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Keeping My Head Up

This is hard to write but I need to. Yesterday in the early morning hours my workshop/studio burned to the ground. We are waiting for the adjuster before going in but it appears that there is nothing left. Pretty much everything that was 'just me' was inside.... all my tools, my paintings (over a hundred), personal artifacts and natural history collections, pictures, books, and Annie's spars, rigging, sails and cushions. From what I gather from conversations with the insurance company it may be a long process and some stumbling blocks. We are going to retain counsel.

I'm starting to pull myself together, starting to do research and making lists. Ted Perry who built Annie is no longer in business and doesn't seem to have measured drawings any longer. The sailmaker is also out of business. Waiting to hear from Simon at Churchouse Boats in England and Steve at Shaw & Tenny.

Thought you would all like to know. I'm holding fast as the old timers used to say. And looking forward to Christmas with the girls. Hope all of you that read my log are well and have a great holiday.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Across the Mobjack... again

Day 7

I snuck out of the Severn River around 8 and, with a light breeze pushing us from the west, Annie ran off under her main only. For an hour I listened to the bow push into a swell, followed by the rippling sound of the wave under the stern as it caught up in the troughs. The wind slowly waned and for a while we ghosted eastward. I reflected on the past days and the forty years that has passed since I first started sailing single-handed. It has been an extremely important part of my life. Many of my closest ties to nature, scariest challenges and spiritual teachings. And a helluva good time.

The wind died completely. We motored up the last bit of the Mobjack and up the East River. The ramp was empty and my truck sat waiting alone in the parking lot. After loading and dropping the rig I drove the few miles to Morningstar Marina where Annie would spend the foreseeable future covered in the adjacent field.

Total trip   147 n.miles