In the middle sixties Ian Anderson was associated with a company called Lee Wright Ltd who were building boats at Dartmouth. He designed for them a small sailing cruiser for strip planked mahogany construction called Sirius. After making three or four boats to this design the company was taken over by the Normand Electrical Company of Clapham Common, London. The MD was Jack Bowdage, a sailing enthusiast, and the new outfit was called The Normand Boatyard Dartmouth. The link here was that Jack's boat was in the yard when the Lee Wright company got into difficulties.
Ian Anderson, with the respected Hurley 22 design to his credit, was asked by Normand Boatyard to re-work the Sirius design for GRP construction, which he did, and the first boat was given the name Bowman.
Production of the original moulds and the first few boats was entrusted to Monachorum Manufacturing, a firm started in 1963 by Hurley Marines ex GRP shop manager Pat Hallam in partnership with his friend Mike Challis. The strange name dates from the first production facility producing pram dinghys in the garage of Mike's house in Buckland Monachorum. The company soon moved to larger premises at Wixenford Farm near Plymouth where the first Bowman hulls were produced. Incidentally Mike owned his own Bowman 26 ALIZE, now known to be in the Weymouth area, and was the author of seven helpful hint sheets for SABB engines. These Sabb hint sheets are now available as pdf downloads on the new Sleeman and Hawken website.
About a dozen boats were built by the Normand Boatyard before the rights were sold to their agents Larry Baker and Alan Hallet of Emsworth Marine Sales, who were operating from Emsworth Marina, then in the process of being dug out by the late Admiral Percy Gick. He just hired a mechanical digger, rolled up his sleeves and taught himself how to drive it. Percy was famous for his attack on the Bismarck. He flew his Swordfish biplane launched from HMS Victorious through a hail of anti-aircraft fire and hit the Bismarck amidships with the single torpedo with which he was armed. He later became chairman of Emsworth Shipyard where the Bowman26 production moved to in 1969.
The total number of boats produced at Emsworth may have been less than twenty, making about thirty in all in the class. This may be due to the design of the accomodation which was very traditional. The only interior moulding on the Bowman26 is the GRP deck head lining, All the internal accomodation was constructed from teak and teak-faced ply bonded to the hull. This made the Bowman 26 time consuming to build and expensive to buy, but resulted in a pleasing classic- looking interior. Inevitably sales slowed and production ceased in 1971/72 and the moulds passed to Hurley Marine. George Hurley wanted to add a traditional long keel 26/27 footer to the Hurley boat range and the Bowman 26 moulds were the starting point. Ian Anderson was again called upon and several design changes were made. Most noticeably the forward coachroof was raised to provide standing headroom in the forecabin and the topsides raised by about 6 inches resulting in an overall length of 27 feet. The effect of raising the deck is also to raise the centre of bouyancy which improves the already good stability for high heeling angles as well as making a dryer ship. The resulting new boat called the Hurley 27 benefited from these improvements although in some eyes the extended coachroof does rather spoil the original design's attractive profile.
After the demise of Hurley Marine in 1974 the moulds were purchased by an American named John Dockerell. Further modifications took place, including a reduced draft and cast iron wing or boot added to the bottom of the keel. These mods were not endorsed by Ian Anderson and the resulting boat is the Dockerell 27.