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Bowman Snipe


The Snipe is a classic Bowman launch design.

The hull is wood - 23" long x 4 1/2" beam. The boiler a simple brass horizontal type, 4 1/2" long x 1 3/4" diameter, fired by a typical Bowman meths burner. It has a safety valve, overflow type water level indication and a small steam dome.

Steam is fed from the dome, via a lubricator to the back of the port face of a single acting oscillating cylinder, 3/8" bore x 1/2" stroke. Exhaust is through a pipe to the stern. The piston is connected to a disc crank flywheel, which is directly coupled to the prop shaft. The prop shaft goes through a pipe to a two bladed brass propeller, which is protected by a wire guard. There is a simple brass rudder, operated by a tiller.

The burner is protected by a streamlined sheet steel shroud covering the whole of the bow section. There is also an aluminium shroud over the top of the boiler. There is a small wooden deck section at the stern which is removable to provide access to the engine.

The hull and bow shroud appear to have been repainted at some time - not very well done. Some parts like the burner and the underside of the shroud have had the paint removed but not repainted. The solder at the point where the steam pipe exits the boiler looks a bit suspect, but it is watertight.

Make Bowman
Model Snipe
Date Made 1930-34
Description Launch
Cylinders 1
Cylinder Type Single acting
Bore mm 9.5
Stroke mm 13.7
Valve Type Oscillating cylinder
Boiler Type Horizontal
Boiler Diam mm 44.5
Boiler length/height mm 114
Fuel Meths
Mechanical Condition Good
Cosmetic Condition Fair
Paintwork Repainted
Purchased 5 April 2021
Purchase cost 369.99
Additional spend