The Shearwater 45 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Shearwater 45, an aft-cockpit cutter, was designed by Dudley Dix and built in South Africa by Acheson Yachts.

'Maggy May', a Shearwater 45 long-distance cruising boat on a mooring ball in Jolly Harbour, AntiguaA Shearwater 45

Published Specification for the Shearwater 45

Underwater Profile: Fin keel & spade rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 51'5" (15.7m)

Waterline Length: 37'5" (11.4m)

Beam: 13'1" (4.0m)

Draft: 6'3" (1.9m)

Rig Type: Cutter

Displacement: 27,550lb (12,497kg)

Designer: Dudley Dix

Builder: Acheson Yachts (South Africa)

Year First Built: 1990

Published Design Ratios for the Shearwater 45

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 20.2

Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 38.0

Displacement/Length Ratio: 235

Comfort Ratio: 33.3

Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

read more about these Key Performance Indicators...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Shearwater 45

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 20.2 suggests that, in the right hands, the Shearwater 45 will have enough performance to leave most other sailboats of similar waterline length well astern. 

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 38.2 means that a sailboat like the Shearwater 45 (which doesn't have its ballast concentrated in a bulb at the foot of a deep keel), is likely to benefit from being reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 235, tells us the Shearwater 45 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 33.3 suggests that crew comfort of a Shearwater 45 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 1.7 tells us that a Shearwater 45 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 

Shearwater 45 Sailboat: A Classic Cruiser with Modern Performance

If you are looking for a sailboat that combines traditional design with modern performance, you might want to check out the Shearwater 45. This boat was designed by Dudley Dix, a renowned naval architect from South Africa, and built by Acheson Yachts. It won the Best Traditional Voyager and Best Cruising Boat awards from Cruising World magazine in 2001. Here are some of the features that make the Shearwater 45 sailing boat a great choice for cruising sailors.

The Shearwater 45 is a cutter-rigged sloop with a low-profile coachroof and a moderate displacement of 27,550 lbs. It has a length overall of 51.42 ft, a waterline length of 37.42 ft, and a beam of 13.08 ft. It has a draft of 6.25 ft and a ballast of 10,469 lbs, giving it a good stability and righting moment. The sail area is 1,144 sq ft, resulting in a sail area to displacement ratio of 20.15, which indicates a high-performance potential.

The Shearwater 45 yacht has a sleek hull shape with a fine entry and a moderate stern overhang. The underbody features a fin keel with a bulb and a spade rudder. The keel is designed to reduce drag and improve lift, while the rudder provides good control and maneuverability. The boat has a balanced helm and a smooth ride in various sea conditions.

The Shearwater 45 has a spacious and comfortable interior that can accommodate up to six people in three separate cabins. The forward cabin has a double berth and an ensuite head with shower. The aft cabin has two single berths and access to another head with shower. The third cabin is located amidships and can be used as an office or a guest cabin.

The main saloon has a U-shaped settee to starboard that can seat six people around a large table. To port, there is a navigation station with ample space for instruments and charts. The galley is located aft of the saloon and has a three-burner stove, an oven, a refrigerator, a freezer, and plenty of storage and counter space.
The interior is finished in warm wood tones and has plenty of natural light and ventilation from the large windows and hatches. The layout is ergonomic and practical for offshore cruising and living aboard.

Hull and Deck
The hull of the Shearwater 45 is made of fiberglass with balsa core for stiffness and insulation. The deck is also made of fiberglass with balsa core and has molded nonskid surfaces for safety and traction. The deck hardware is high-quality stainless steel and includes cleats, chocks, stanchions, lifelines, handrails, winches, blocks, tracks, travelers, etc.

The cockpit is located aft and has twin wheels for steering from either side. The cockpit seats are long and comfortable, with storage lockers underneath. The cockpit also has an instrument panel, a compass, a folding table, and an access hatch to the aft cabin.

The deck has wide side decks for easy movement around the boat. There are two large lazarettes at the stern for storing sails, lines, fenders, etc. There is also an anchor locker at the bow with an electric windlass and chain.

Mast and Rigging
The mast is keel-stepped and made of aluminum alloy. It has two sets of swept-back spreaders and no backstay, giving it more sail area and less interference with the mainsail. The mast also has an in-mast furling system for easy reefing of the mainsail.

The rigging is stainless steel wire with swaged terminals and turnbuckles. The boat has a cutter rig with two headsails: a genoa on a roller furler and a staysail on hanks. The boat also has an asymmetric spinnaker for downwind sailing.
The sails are made of Dacron fabric and have reinforced corners, leeches, luffs, etc. They are well-shaped and trimmed by using the various controls such as sheets, halyards, outhauls, vangs, cunninghams, etc.

Keel and Rudder
The keel of the Shearwater 45 is a fin keel with a bulb at the bottom. The keel is cast iron with lead ballast inside. The keel has a moderate aspect ratio and provides good lift and stability to the boat.

The rudder of the Shearwater 45 is a spade rudder that is attached to the hull by a stainless steel stock. The rudder is balanced and has a high aspect ratio, giving it more leverage and responsiveness. The rudder is protected by a skeg that also helps to reduce drag and vibration.

The Shearwater 45 is a sailboat that offers a classic look with modern performance. It is well-designed and well-built for cruising in comfort and style. It has a spacious and cozy interior, a sleek and fast hull, a powerful and easy-to-handle rig, and a stable and maneuverable keel and rudder.

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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