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My career in boat building  began in the 
fishing industry, building and repairing din‐
ghies, nets and working on trawlers, game 
boats, monohulls and building muti‐
hulls. Deciding to have a break, Debbie 
and I and our young family decided to 
head west and go mining (under‐
ground) as a miner. A few years later, 
we decided to move to Townsville and 
build our own 42‐foot catamaran, 
which was to become our family home 
for the next 11 years. (To read about the Bowdidge family’s 
Life on the 
Ocean Wave,
 click on the  
March 2009
June 2009 
issues of
The Mast‐
Back into boatbuilding and our business established again, we began cruis‐
ing the Australian coastline and overseas logging over 30,000 nm in 
coastal and offshore passages, finding  work as we cruised. Debbie and I 
began building, repairing and rigging  and after gaining our commercial 
coxswains license, began delivering boats for both the pleasure and com‐
mercial fields. 
It was on our last ocean passage through Asia that we decided to act on 
an interest I had in designing . Not content though with being “just an‐
other amateur designer,”  on returning back to Australia from Malaysia, 
Singapore, and Indonesia, I decided to enroll wit
 in the 
study of Small Craft Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering for vessels 
up to or 60 metres (197 ft.) length overall, with the full intention of a 
change of career from boatbuilding to yacht designing. 
During my 2nd year of studies, I was honored  as an "Owen Scholar" and 
awarded the Owens Scholarship for
"excellence in the study of small 
craft naval architecture and marine engineering, based on both aca‐
demic achievement, creative ability and on design presentation." (The 
scholarship was funded by the generous donations of Norman G. Owens, 
former president of the once internationally recognized Owens Yacht 
Company of America. When the Owens Yacht Company was sold to 
Brunswick, it was the second largest boat manufacturer in the world.) 
In 2007, I entered the "Cruising World Magazine" design competition 
with a 57ft racer/cruiser catamaran, the "OCEANSKY 57," with minutes 
before the official closing date.  Of the 70 overall designs submitted world‐
wide for the competition, of which 30 were multihull designs, the Oceansky 
57 was the only Multihull to make it into the top ten. 
Mark and Debbie Bowdidge
Express 56
Oceansky 57
Mangrove Jack
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