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MMurphy 06-28-2002 11:12 PM

Shearwater 39
I''d like some comments from anyone that has seen (and better yet experienced) the South-African built and Dudley Dix designed Shearwater 39. THe Shearwater 45 won Cruising worlds boat of the year a year or two ago but that is for me a dream for another lifetime.

This time I''m more interested finding out about the 39.

The boats are touted as voyagers with also good speed potential. Accepting that they are well built for offshore sailing, I''m wondering how practical they will be for the mostly coastal sailing of a family with two young children.

Shearwater info at:

Thanks for comments

M Murphy

Winterlude 07-03-2002 05:42 AM

Shearwater 39
Ithaka is a Shearwater 39 owned & cruised by a former editor of Cruising World. You can read all about their cruise on the Cruising World website ( and click on Ithaka. They''re sailing with 2 adults, but it may give you some insight.

WHOOSH 07-05-2002 06:30 PM

Shearwater 39
We got a topsides look at one Shearwater 39 while in the Bay Is. (ITHAKA) and the things that caught my eye included:
1. LOTS of wood, weight and maintenance
2. Design features that seemed to favor tradition for its own sake vs. function
3. Probably very strong, probably a good motion at sea, probably not particularly fast in less than stronger trades, and probably a lot of boat to keep anchored in one place; in fact, I found their comments about troublesome anchoring in Belize to suggest too much weight & windage despite a big Bruce and lots of 3/8" BBB chain.


MMurphy 07-06-2002 06:40 AM

Shearwater 39
THanks for the comments!

I believe Ithaka has teak decks. Is that what you mean with "lots of wood", or are you talking about the rail, bowsprit and dorades mostly? How much maintenance would these (excluding the teak decks) mean??

I believe the teak decks are optional

M Murphy

WHOOSH 07-07-2002 03:26 AM

Shearwater 39

I was referring to LOTS of wood topside, everywhere. Teak decks were only the most dysfunctional example (sorry, I know some think teak decks are wonderful) since they add weight, cost, are uncomfortable to sit/stand on in the tropics, carry that heat below into the cabin, require occasional care (cleaning, bung replacments, caulk renewal) and bring a finite lifespan along with them.

It seems as tho'' many builders and sailors have begun to appreciate that ''strong'' and ''heavy/bulky'' aren''t the same, nor is topside wood an essential element in a boat''s construction. It appears the Shearwater builder is not in this camp.


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