Shearwater might well be the best all-round pulling boat at the WoodenBoat waterfront—at least she was, before we installed a centerboard trunk.When Joel White drew this elegantly simple 16' double-ender, he recalled the traditional boats of western Norway. (At first, he named the new design “Joelselver.”) The hull’s narrow breadth at the waterline permits a slender immersed shape. Above the water, Shearwater’s sides rake outward, which provides buoyancy and reserve stability for the able little boat. The strongly raked sides also produce sufficient breadth at the rails for efficient long oars. Deliberately low freeboard reduces windage, and wind is a persistent enemy of oarsmen. Shearwater makes good speed when pulled with moderate effort, and she carries (glides) well between strokes.A slight touch of rocker (fore-and-aft curvature) to the keel gives maneuverability, but this skiff retains adequate directional stability. Shearwater can turn quickly, and yet she handles well in a following sea. Boats with dead-straight keels and sharp ends might get us to windward quickly, but they often transform into tripping and broaching monsters when we’re running off.

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