The Bowman 36 Sailboat

The Bowman 36 is a classic long-keeled offshore cruiser, designed by the renowned naval architects Holman & Pye and built by Bowman Yachts in the UK.

The boat was first launched in 1970 and has since gained a reputation for being a sturdy, seaworthy and comfortable sailing vessel. The Bowman 36 is available in different rig and keel configurations, and can accommodate up to six people in two cabins and a saloon. The boat is well suited for long-distance cruising and has been praised by owners and reviewers alike for its quality, performance and charm.

A Bowman 36 sailboat at anchorA Bowman 36 sloop.

Most were ketch-rigged, but a few (like 'Tilly Whim' shown here) have the Bermudian sloop configuration. There was also a lifting-keel option.

Published Specification for the Bowman 36

Underwater Profile: Long keel

Hull Material: GRP (Fiberglass)

Length Overall: 36'0" (11.00m)

Waterline Length: 26'8" (8.1m)

Beam: 11'4" (3.5m)

Draft: 5'8" (1.7m)

Rig Type: Masthead Sloop

Displacement: 19,500lb (8,845kg)

Designer: Holman & Pye

Builder: Bowman Yachts (UK)

Year First Built: 1970


The Bowman 36: A Few FAQs...

What are the published design ratios for the Bowman 36 and, based on those ratios, how is the boat likely to perform under sail?

The design ratios for the Bowman 36 are as follows:

  • Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 12.2
  • Ballast/Displacement Ratio: not available
  • Displacement/Length Ratio: 459
  • Comfort Ratio: 40.3
  • Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

Based on these ratios, the Bowman 36 is a very heavy and underpowered boat, which means it will need a strong wind to get moving and will not be very fast or agile. However, it will also be very stable, comfortable and safe in rough seas, as it has a low center of gravity, a high righting moment and a low capsize risk. The boat is ideal for cruising in moderate to heavy conditions, but may struggle in light airs.

Is the Bowman 36 still in production and, if not, when did production end and how many of these sailboats were built?

The Bowman 36 is no longer in production. The last boat was built in 1998. According to the Sailboat Data website, there were about 50 boats built in total.

What, if any, alternative versions of the Bowman 36 were built and what are the differences between them?

The Bowman 36 was mainly built as a ketch-rigged boat, with a mainmast and a mizzenmast. However, some boats were also built as sloops, with only one mast. There was also an option for a lifting keel, which allowed the boat to reduce its draft from 5'8" to 3'6". The sloop version was slightly faster and easier to handle than the ketch version, while the lifting keel version was more versatile and could access shallower waters.

How many people can sleep on board a Bowman 36?

The Bowman 36 can sleep up to six people in two cabins and a saloon. The forward cabin has a double berth, the aft cabin has two single berths, and the saloon has two settee berths that can be converted into a double berth.

How did the sailing press review the Bowman 36?

The Bowman 36 received positive reviews from the sailing press, who praised its quality, performance and charm. For example, Yachting Monthly magazine wrote in 2009:
"The Bowman 36 is one of those boats that makes you smile when you see her. She has an elegant sheerline, a graceful counter stern and a purposeful bowsprit. She looks like a proper yacht – one that can take you anywhere in comfort and style."
The magazine also noted that the boat had "a solid build quality", "a well-balanced helm", "a spacious cockpit" and "a cosy interior".

What do owners of the Bowman 36 have to say about their boats?

Owners of the Bowman 36 are generally very happy with their boats and often describe them as "dream boats" or "forever boats". They appreciate their boats' seaworthiness, comfort, beauty and character. Some of the comments from owners on various forums are:

  • "I have owned my Bowman 36 for over 20 years and have sailed her extensively in Europe and across the Atlantic. She is a wonderful boat that has never let me down. She handles well in all conditions and is very comfortable below. She is also very easy to maintain and repair."
  • "I bought my Bowman 36 last year after looking for a long time for the perfect cruising boat. I am very impressed by her quality and performance. She sails beautifully and feels very safe and solid. She also has a lot of character and charm. I love her classic lines and her warm interior."
  • "My Bowman 36 is my dream boat. She is everything I wanted in a sailboat: strong, fast, comfortable and beautiful. She attracts compliments wherever she goes. She is also very well equipped and has everything I need for long-distance cruising."

What is the history of the builders of the Bowman 36 and is the company still in business?

Bowman Yachts was an independent company for many years, before merging with Rival Yachts to form Rival Bowman in 1996. The company went into receivership in 2001 and was acquired by Rustler Yachts in 2002. Rustler Yachts is still in business and produces high-quality cruising yachts in Falmouth, Cornwall. Rustler Yachts also owns the rights to the Bowman brand and continues to offer service and support to Bowman owners.

What keel options, if any, are available for the Bowman 36?

The Bowman 36 is available in two main keel options: fixed and lifting. The fixed keel option has a long keel that runs along the length of the hull and provides stability and directional stability. The lifting keel option has a shorter keel that can be raised or lowered by a hydraulic system and provides versatility and shallow draft. The fixed keel option has a draft of 5'8", while the lifting keel option has a draft of 3'6" when raised and 5'8" when lowered.

What other sailboats have been created by the designer of the Bowman 36?

The designer of the Bowman 36 is Holman & Pye, a famous British naval architecture firm that was founded in 1964 by Kim Holman and Don Pye. Holman & Pye designed many other sailboats, such as the Oyster range, the Moody range, the Westerly range, the Contessa range, the Rustler range and many more. Holman & Pye are known for their elegant and seaworthy designs that combine classic style with modern technology.

The above answers were drafted by sailboat-cruising.com using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; to the best of our knowledge, we believe them to be accurate.


Other sailboats in the Bowman range include:


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