Voyage of the Experiment

Voyage of the Experiment (1786)

Artist's notes...

Two centuries ago, after America had won its War of
Independence, Stewart Dean, an Albany captain and war hero, had a single-masted freight boat built near his home on Water Street. Deanís sloop, Experiment, was a typical work boat of its day. The deck was wide and low, measuring 59 feet 11 inches by 19 feet 3 inches. The craft was registered at 85½ tons. Experiment cleared Albany in July of 1784 on her maiden voyage. She carried a full cargo of grain across the Atlantic to Madeira were it was sold. There Dean loaded his craft with wine and a few head of cattle. He then sailed to the West Indies and traded his cargo for rum which, in turn, was taken to Charleston, South Carolina and sold. Experiment returned to New York in December of that year completing her first successful commercial excursion.
          My painting, Experiment at Sea, (a.k.a. Voyage of the Experiment) depicts the sloop as it might have appeared during the China voyage, somewhere in the Indian Ocean on a moonlight night. The wind is getting dangerously brisk and the crew is scrambling to cut sail before the wind snaps her bowsprit and mast. These were courageous sailors braving a variety of dangerous conditions on a very lonely sea and it was my intention to portray that aspect of their amazing voyage.