SKETCHBOOK

Soundings - - Contents - BY SAM DEVLIN

Sam Devlin dreams of cross­ing oceans on the Shear­wa­ter 39, a mo­tor­sailer built for long pas­sages and heavy weather.

An ag­gra­vat­ing Satur­day morn­ing got my head spin­ning off in a new di­rec­tion. It started when my lawn­mower broke. I spent the bet­ter part of the morn­ing bust­ing my knuck­les try­ing to get the drive belts back into po­si­tion and sharpen the mower blades, and only then did I dis­cover that the mower would run only with the choke full on (and not very well in that mode). Suf­fice it to say that the ethanol added to our gaso­line sup­ply is not par­tic­u­larly com­pat­i­ble with prop­erly run­ning en­gines.

Bloody-knuck­led, hot and sweaty, with my lawn un­mowed and the air only just clear­ing from the blue fog of my curs­ing, I re­treated to my happy space — the draft­ing ta­ble — and spent a few mo­ments mus­ing about an­other life, an­other des­tiny and some high ad­ven­ture.

My steed on this jour­ney is the Shear­wa­ter 39. She cap­ti­vates me with her po­ten­tial and is a most able and sea­wor­thy com­pan­ion for my dreams. This boat’s de­sign is my ther­apy. She cer­tainly would be a neat boat to build.

I want a ves­sel that’s large enough to be com­fort­able on ocean-cross­ing trips. Car­ry­ing a lot of fuel and the abil­ity to sup­ple­ment fuel burn with sail power are also key. She needs to be ca­pa­ble of sit­ting on her own bot­tom for scrub­bing or any un­der­wa­ter main­te­nance, a re­quire­ment that calls for a wide and flat- bot­tomed keel with a 1-inch stain­less steel keel shoe run­ning the full length of the keel bot­tom. Bal­last, fuel and water tanks would be fit­ted into this keel void, mean­ing the en­gine could be set much lower into the boat than usual, with a shaft line vir­tu­ally par­al­lel to the wa­ter­line.

My sail plan is split into a snug ketch rig with roller furl­ing on the for­ward-most head­sail. The stay­sail is self- tend­ing, fit­ting well into the the­ory of a 50/ 50 mo­tor­sailer. If I ever got her into the trade winds, she would be a com­fort­able and eco­nom­i­cal sailor, but for lighter wind con­di­tions and some high-lat­i­tude cruis­ing and ex­plor­ing, the en­gine would be my best sec­ond mate. I would choose the John Deere 4045 (an en­gine we have used many times on other builds with good suc­cess). The Deere would be slower turn­ing than most diesels th­ese days, but also would be quiet and smooth, with a good torque curve that would be the per­fect match for this type of hull. The en­gine com­part­ment is large enough to al­low a thick cake of sound­dead­en­ing ma­te­rial, and en­gine ac­cess would be through ei­ther a slid­ing door in the be­low-deck pas­sage­way or a flush, wa­ter­tight deck hatch in the mid­cock­pit deck top.

A fan­tail stern looks right to my eye, has a great pedi­gree for heavy-weather work and al­lows for a gen­er­ous aft cabin, for com­fort­able evenings at an­chor when the wind is howl­ing away but a good chow­der is on the stove­top. (All I’d need is a quick way to look around for an­chor drag­ging.) The gal­ley is fit­ted with a diesel heater/ oven/stove­top that could dou­ble as a heat­ing source. An­other bulk­head heater would be mounted on the head wall for quicker fir­ing.

The head is ad­ja­cent to the sa­loon with a pass-through to the for­ward state­room. This lay­out should work well when the weather is tough, al­low­ing me to go for­ward with­out get­ting my feet wet. If I find my­self in warm, trop­i­cal wa­ters, I could use the out­side state­room en­trance and fill the pas­sage­way be­low with duf­fels and gear.

One of the main ad­van­tages of this ar­range­ment is hav­ing a sin­gle head for two state­rooms. Hon­estly, I am not a fan of com­pli­cated and mul­ti­ple heads, hav­ing been forced to fix them or bail water in what now to­tals four dif­fer­ent oceans.

A cock­pit shower works far more ef­fi­ciently than a built-in shower be­low deck, and it has the ad­di­tional ad­van­tage of keep­ing the in­te­rior free of mois­ture ( which is so dif­fi­cult to dry out again), but my wife re­ally hates this pet peeve of mine (be­lowdeck show­ers, that is), and she’s cruis­ing in my fan­tasy, too, so there is a nice lit­tle shower com­part­ment with full head­room and splash­ing room at the aft end of the com­pan­ion­way to the for­ward state­room. What more could she ask for?

There are so many fea­tures to talk about on the Shear­wa­ter that I could go on well past nor­mal mor­tal at­ten­tion level, but here are just some of my fa­vorites: 0LGFRFNSLW ZRXOG EH D JUHDW VSDFH WR spend time in the sun or light rain with a cover over the top of the main boom. $ UHFHVVHG DQFKRU ZHOO GHFN IRUZDUG ZLWK a hy­draulic an­chor wind­lass pot­ted in the well, would keep the an­chor rode and chain out where rain and sea­wa­ter could rinse it, and would keep the foul, muddy rode from con­tam­i­nat­ing the ves­sel. ' LQJK\ GDYLWV ILWWHG WR WKH VWHUQ ZRXOG al­low for a fair- sized, out­board- pow­ered dinghy to be car­ried well out of the way when sail­ing. 7KH SLORWKRXVH ZRXOG KDYH IRXU KDWFKHV in the roof for line of sight to the sails and to al­low ven­ti­la­tion. $ GLQHWWH LQ WKH SLORWKRXVH DGMDFHQW WR the gal­ley, would al­low for meals with amaz­ing scenery. 2XWVLGH VWHHULQJ ZRXOG OHW PH UXQ WKH ERDW when weather and con­di­tions al­low, with wind in my face and vis­i­bil­ity unlimited. $ JDII ULJ ZRXOG SURYLGH ORZ FHQWHUV RI ef­fort in the sail plan and (hope­fully) let the boat have those sails up far more of­ten and for longer pe­ri­ods than most sail­boats seem to man­age. 6HSDUDWH FDELQV ZRXOG JLYH WKH FDSWDLQ DQG crew pri­vacy.

Shear­wa­ter 39 LOA: 42 feet, 8 inches LOD: 38 feet, 9 inches BEAM: 12 feet, 2 inches DRAFT: 54½ inches (out­board up) DIS­PLACE­MENT: 28,000 pounds (light) SAIL AREA: 569 square feet

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