Bowdish Sailing Canoe


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I have an unrestored Bowdish sailing canoe with a builder's tag "Bowdish Mfg. Co.". We have only the mast and rudder, no rigging. Does anyone have information or designs? The canoe measures 17'.


  • bowdish 004.jpg
    bowdish 004.jpg
    326.1 KB · Views: 471
  • bowdish 009.jpg
    bowdish 009.jpg
    305 KB · Views: 369
  • Bowdish 007.jpg
    Bowdish 007.jpg
    313.3 KB · Views: 351
  • Bowdish 006.jpg
    Bowdish 006.jpg
    309.8 KB · Views: 385
  • Bowdish 010.jpg
    Bowdish 010.jpg
    315.5 KB · Views: 339
  • Bowdish 005.jpg
    Bowdish 005.jpg
    319.3 KB · Views: 354
Last edited:
You may want to get a copy of the Historic Wood Canoe and Boat Company
Catalog Collection CDs from or which has copies of three Bowdish catalogs from the late 1880s. The pages attached below show the sail plans for two smaller canoes from 1887 that might be a good place to start. Another good resource is "Canoe Rig - The Essence and the Art" by Todd Bradshaw which is also available from in the WCHA store. Feel free to reply here or in the WCHA's canoe sailing forum at if you have any other questions.



  • page-43.jpg
    56.1 KB · Views: 348
  • page-33.jpg
    57.5 KB · Views: 354
Last edited:
I would love to see photos of your canoe. There are only a few of these known to survive... Bowdish Mfg. Co. dates are 1888-1899. I have a fair amount of historical stuff about Bowdish that I'll have to rummage through. You'll probably want to get in touch with Douglas Fowler, he knows as much about these as just about anybody...

Thanks for the info-- the catalog cd collection is on the way. How do I get in touch with Douglas Fowler?
K Muller
From the WCHA builders directory:

Douglas Fowler, Sailmaker (00)
1182 East Shore Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-0041

Quality fully designed canoe sails a specialty. Extremely knowledgeable concerning any antique sailing canoe and its rigging. Sails only - no spars or hardware. Sailmaking since 1972. Will supply information concerning the restoration of antique decked sailing canoes.
Thanks for posting the photos - great boat! It is most likely what Bowdish called their "Cayuga" model boat. Their will be more information in the CD collection you ordered, but here is one of the catalog pages to whet your appetite...


  • page-37.jpg
    64.8 KB · Views: 338