The Shearwater 39 Sailboat

The Shearwater 39 cutter was designed by Dudley Dix and built in South Africa by Nebe Boatworks.

A Shearwater 39 cruising sailboatWith her clipper bow and sweeping shear, the Shearwater 39 'Sea Lion', is undeniably a very handsome sailboat.

Published Specification for the Shearwater 39

Hull Type: Fin keel with transom-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fiberglass) or wood

Length Overall: 39'4" (12.0m)

Waterline Length: 33'9" (10.3m)

Beam: 12'9" (3.9m)

Draft: 5'11" (1.8m)

Rig Type: Cutter

Displacement: 21,605lb (9,800kg)

Designer: Dudley Dix

Builder: Nebe Boatworks (South Africa)

Year First Built: 1990

Number Built: 20

Published Design Ratios for the Shearwater 39

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 17.4

Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 38.8

Displacement/Length Ratio: 250

Comfort Ratio: 31.6

Capsize Screening Formula: 1.8

read more about these all-revealing numbers...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Shearwater 39

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 17.4 suggests that the Shearwater 39 will, in the right conditions, approach her maximum hull speed readily and satisfy the sailing performance expectations of most cruising sailors.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 38.8 means that unless the bulk of the ballast is concentrated in a bulb at the foot of her keel, the Shearwater 39 will have a tendency to heel excessively in a gust, and she'll need to be reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze. 

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 250, tells us the Shearwater 39 is a moderate displacement cruiser, which means she'll carry all your cruising gear without it having a dramatic effect on her performance. Most of today's sailboats intended for offshore cruising fall into this displacement category.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 31.6 suggests that crew comfort of a Shearwater 39 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.8 tells us that a Shearwater 39 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0.

The Shearwater 39 Sailboat: A Classic Cruiser with Modern Performance

Are you looking for a sailboat that combines traditional elegance with modern efficiency? Do you want a boat that can take you anywhere in comfort and style? If so, you might be interested in the Shearwater 39 sailboat, a design by Dudley Dix and built by Nebe Boatworks in South Africa.

The Shearwater 39 is a cutter-rigged monohull that features a clipper bow, a radiused transom, a transom-hung rudder and a short bowsprit. It has a graceful hull with pronounced sheer and strong tumblehome in the aft sections. It has a spacious deck with a horseshoe-shaped cockpit and a squared-off cabin.

The Shearwater 39 sailing boat has a modern underbody with a NACA foil keel and a skeg-mounted rudder. It has a powerful double-spreader rig with standing intermediate or running backstays to support the inner forestay. It has a versatile sail plan that can handle various wind conditions.

The Shearwater 39 yacht has a comfortable and practical interior layout that can accommodate two couples or a family of five or six. It has plenty of storage space, a workbench, a large galley, a head compartment and separate cabins. It has a warm and cozy atmosphere with woodwork and natural light.

The Shearwater 39 sailboat has two layout options:

  • Layout A has a V-berth forward cabin, an aft cabin with a double berth, a quarter berth, a U-shaped dinette, a settee, a navigation station, a head compartment and a galley.
  • Layout B has an owner's cabin forward with an island double berth, an aft cabin with twin berths, an L-shaped dinette, a settee, a navigation station, a head compartment and a galley.

Both layouts have the following features:

  • Plenty of lockers, drawers and shelves for storage;
  • A workbench opposite the head compartment for routine maintenance;
  • A large ice box or freezer locker in the galley;
  • Twin sinks and a work surface over the engine in the galley;
  • A deck hatch and opening ports for ventilation and light in each cabin;
  • A diesel heater for cold weather cruising.

Hull and Deck
The Shearwater 39 sailboat has a beautiful hull that draws inspiration from some of the Bruce King and Cherubini designs. It has a fine entry with a flared clipper bow that gives good wave penetration and a dry ride. It has a champagne glass-shaped stern with a radiused transom that reduces drag and improves downwind control. It has a pronounced sheer and strong tumblehome that add to its classic appeal.

The hull can be built in cold moulded wood, fiberglass or metal, depending on the preference of the owner. The wood version uses strip planking with epoxy and glass sheathing. The fiberglass version uses a female mould and hand lay-up. The metal version uses aluminum or steel plates with welded frames.

The deck is also built in wood, fiberglass or metal, with a balsa or foam core for stiffness and insulation. It has a non-skid surface and teak trim for aesthetics and safety. It has a spacious cockpit with comfortable seats and coamings, a small well for drainage, a single or twin wheel steering system, and an instrument panel. It has a squared-off cabin with large windows, dorade vents, handrails, and a sliding hatch. It has a short bowsprit with an anchor roller, a bow pulpit, a windlass, and a chain locker. It has wide side decks with stanchions, lifelines, cleats, fairleads, and genoa tracks. It has a stern pulpit with a boarding ladder, an outboard bracket, and a solar panel.

Mast and Rigging
The Shearwater 39 sailboat has a double-spreader cutter rig that provides plenty of sail area and options for different wind conditions. It has a deck-stepped mast with swept-back spreaders and a B&R rig that eliminates the need for a backstay. It has an inner forestay with standing intermediate or running backstays to support it. It has in-mast or in-boom reefing for easy sail handling. The spars are made of aluminum or carbon fiber for strength and lightness.

The sail inventory includes:

  • A mainsail with battens and lazy jacks;
  • A furling genoa with UV protection;
  • A staysail with hanks or furler;
  • A spinnaker or gennaker with sock or furler;
  • A storm jib and trysail for heavy weather.

The rigging includes:

  • Stainless steel wire or rod shrouds and stays;
  • Turnbuckles, toggles, chainplates, and tangs;
  • Winches, blocks, clutches, cleats, and organizers;
  • Halyards, sheets, reef lines, outhauls, vangs, and preventers.

Keel and Rudder
The Shearwater 39 sailboat has a NACA foil keel that provides good lift and stability. 

The rudder is a transom-hung rudder that is attached to the stern by pintles and gudgeons. 

The Shearwater 39 sailboat is a classic cruiser with modern performance that can take you anywhere in comfort and style. It is admired wherever it goes for its graceful hull, spacious deck, powerful rig, comfortable interior, and timeless appeal. It is designed by Dudley Dix and built by Nebe Boatworks in South Africa since 1990. It is available in wood, fiberglass or metal construction, with two layout options and various equipment choices. If you are looking for a sailboat that combines tradition with efficiency, you might want to check out the Shearwater 39 yacht.

The above text was drafted by using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; we believe it to be accurate to the best of our knowledge.

Other sailboats in the Shearwater range include:

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