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For Immediate Release 06-02

Contact: Caroline Chetelat at ABYC

(410) 990-4460, x22

[email protected]



Westlawn Announces Recipients of 2006 Owens Scholarship

Famous Maryland Boatbuilder, Norman G. Owens, Supports Excellence in Marine Education


January 10, 2006, Annapolis, MD: The Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is proud to announce that Westlawn students Craig H. Pelley and Mark A. Bowdidge have each been awarded the $1,000 Owens Scholarship for excellence in the study of boat design. The award is based on both academic achievement, creative ability and on design presentation. Each scholarship winner receives a tuition grant of $500 towards each of their next two Modules of study and, in addition, each is now recognized as an “Owen’s Scholar.” The scholarship is funded by the generous donations of Norman G. Owens, former president of the once internationally recognized Owens Yacht Company of America.


Craig Pelley


Craig Pelley lives in Springdale, Newfoundland, Canada.  At forty years old, Craig has been a Westlawn student since January 2005. He first started work in the commercial fishery in Newfoundland in 1982 and his interest quickly turned to building/rebuilding boats and  marine metal fabrication. Craig’s first boatbuilding project was a wood-strip/epoxy canoe built when he was 18. His most recent was a 65-foot, aluminum, wave-piercing catamaran, launched in August 2004.


Based in Australia, Mark Bowdidge’s love of boats began in his early teens when he used to sail the 12-foot Cherub class and early plywood catamarans with his father. His career in boatbuilding began in the fishing industry, building and repairing dorys and trawlers. He and his family then built their own 42-foot catamaran which was to become his family home for 11 years. With a boatbuilding business established, he and his family cruised the Australian coastline and overseas, building and rigging boats up to 50-feet in length  for both the pleasure and commercial fields.


Mark Bowdidge


 It was during Mark’s last offshore ocean passage to Asia, that he decided to act on the interest he’s always had in designing. On returning back to Australia from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, he enrolled in Westlawn, with the full intention of a change of career from boatbuilding to yacht designing. Mark holds a commercial coxswains license for passenger and cargo-carrying vessels up to 40 feet in length, and also a ham radio license, specializing in maritime radio and antenna installations.


Bowdidge said, “I would like to thank Dave Gerr, Stu Waring and everyone associated with Westlawn for their excellent tuition, training and support. I would also like to express my gratitude and thanks to Mr. Owens for providing this award and scholarship.”


Norman G. Owens was president of the Owens Yacht Company, of Baltimore, MD. The company focused primarily on producing affordable inboard motor cruisers, with a popular 30-foot sedan cruiser, exhibited at the 1937 New York Boat Show. Owens is also known for the Owens Cutter, a 40-foot 6-inch sailboat, a model which won numerous races and was eventually sold to Hinckley, where it became the Hinckley 41. When the Owens Yacht Company was sold to Brunswick in 1960, it was the second largest boat manufacturer in the world. Mr. Owens’ support of the Westlawn scholarship program is helping to ensure the legacy of quality boats, which Owens was known for, will continue.



Founded in 1930, the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is the only nationally accredited and state certified distance-learning school of small-craft design in the United States. As the not-for-profit educational affiliate of the American Boat and Yacht Council, The mission of the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is threefold:

■ To provide our students with the skills knowledge required to build a rewarding career in the profession of yacht and small-craft naval architecture.

■ To support continued growth of the recreational and small-craft marine community through the development of well-trained, safety oriented, boat designers developing better products for the benefit of the boating public.

■ To provide continuing education to marine industry professionals.

To learn more about Westlawn, please call (860) 572-7900 or visit the Westlawn website at www.westlawn.edu.