The Shannon 38

(excerpt from the original Shannon Study Manual)



The ketch rigged Shannon 38 is a "true" ketch, with a mizzen  sail that is about equal to the area of the headsails. The popu­lar definition of a ketch is simply any vessel with two masts, the smaller mast being stepped for­ward of the rudder post. This current interpretation of a ketch has given us a group of recent designs with such small miz­zens, especially in boats under 40', that they are, in reality, just yawls. The Shannon 38 is 42'5" overall, including the bowsprit, which allows the necessary room for an adequate mizzen and total sail area.


The Shannon ketch rig, with a high aspect sail plan, sets headsails near1y as large as a sloop, which increases light air performance. When the going gets rough, the ketch can easi1y shorten down and still keep sail­ing. With a proper size mizzen, a ketch will balance comfortably with just the mizzen and a headsail. In addition, the miz­zen mast allows the setting of a mizzen staysail which increases speed when reaching or light air sailing.


A ketch with double headsails gives the crew three self-tending sails (staysail, main, mizzen), which need little atten­tion when coming about, plus a jib with roller furling gear that can be brought down without leaving the cockpit. A ketch rig with two sets of reefs, provides about 13 sail combinations with­ out a sail change or balance problem. On a sloop or yawl it is difficult to balance the rig once the original sail plan has been reefed.


A ketch rigged Shannon 38 is the ideal rig for the single­ hander or two person crew for long distance ocean travel in terms of versatility and ease of sail handling.





The cutter, with her single main mast stepped further aft than a sloop, has reappeared after many undeserved years of non­ use. The Shannon 38 cutter rig was designed to carry maximum sail area utilizing the mainsail without the need to resort to large Genoas, spinnakers, "tall­ boys, ' and other racing headsails.


The cutter rig is very efficient on and off the wind and yet offers versatility in sail com­binations. With a self-tending staysail loose-footed on a club boom, tacking and jibing becomes an easy task . In addi­tion, the staysail stay on the Shannon can be detached,  so that a light air "drifter" can be   set on  the  bowsprit  headstay and tacked easily without walk­ing it around  the staysail.


The Shannon cutter will balance with the main reefed , staysail up, and jib furled, while most sloops today that rely strictly on a large headsail to make up for small mainsails can­ not be balanced easily once sail area is reduced . The cutter rig can sail in and out of crowded harbors and marinas by just using the main, and yet the cut­ter will also "heave to" under heavy weather

conditions at sea with only the staysail up.


The cutter rigged Shan­non 38 offers performance within a manageable sail plan that will carry her to distant lands and great weekend adventures.




The Shannon 38 deck layout was developed from a series of tested ideas to create a true ocean cruising yacht. The aft cockpit/trunk cabin concept has proven itself on every ocean in the world. The aft cockpit keeps the crew dry in a seaway and  the trunk cabin reduces exces­sive and unseaworthy free­board . Also, the trunk cabin will allow the stowage of a rigid dinghy, which

may be  needed in areas with coral conditions.


As attention to the needs of the cruising yachtsman has increased, many builders are now offering a selection of cruis­ing designs.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a trend to build wide, deep, and dan­gerous cockpits. For inshore cruising this may be fine, but offshore a wide and deep cock­ pit becomes a huge tub that can easily fill with water and cause a vessel to flounder.


Hopefully, there is a compromise between a small box where feet jam  and that offers no backrest, and a large and dangerous cockpit built for sitting a t the dock. The Shannon 38 provides a "T" shaped cock­pit with oversized scuppers that will seat adults comfortably and yet eliminate the danger of a boarding sea. In addition, the aft helmsman seat lets you face the direction you are

going and sep­arates the people that are "rid­ing'.' from the people that are sailing.


The primary steering is a pedestal wheel system which has proven itself for "feel" with engine controls mounted on the pedestal. In addition, there is a quickly mounted tiller forward in the cockpit, which puts the helmsman  under  a dodger out of the weather.


The Shannon 38 carries a bowsprit platform, an essential feature on a cruising boat, but one which has disappeared on most designs because of rating rule concessions. The bow plat­ form provides simple anchor stowage and a lookout station in shoal waters. In addition to car­rying a CQR and "lunch"  anchor in  constant  readiness, the bowsprit enables the Shan­non to carry its efficient double headsail rig.



There are two ways of building an interior in a fiberglass boat. One is to build the interior con­ventionally, much the same as wood boats were built; the other is to drop a molded fiberglass interior into the hull and then finish it off  with  some wood trim.


Since everything goes into the boat at one time with the molded interior method (cabin sole, bulkheads, bunks,galley, head , etc.), speed of con­struction is greatly increased.


Unfortunately,  since the engine, tanks, electrical wiring, and plumbing are put in first, and  the interior glass unit is put over everything, in some "cases minor repairs represent major prob­lems. In addition, condensation

becomes a major problem and hanging lockers, storage bins, and berth cushions become wet, especially in the tropics.


The conventionally built interior used at Shannon is installed a piece at a time and with the proper planning, pro­vides access to all interior com­ponents . The use of wood below, in addition to aesthetics, also provides for the absorption of condensation and is an excel­lent insulation from heat and cold.


The interior in the Shan­non was designed to provide maximum ventilation with twelve bronze opening ports, forward and main skylight hatches, two sets of dorade vents and louvered doors on lockers and compartments. In addition, the interior cabin sides are covered with 1/2'' thick mahogany screwed to frames laminated to the hull. The mahogany ceilings are spaced and separated from the inside hull to provide ventilation and reduce condensation.


The cabin and deck are reinforced and insulated with 1/4" end grain balsa core within a rugged fiberglass laminate to provide protection from the sun and add strength to the  deck.


In the Shannon 38, each interior is hand-built using top grade marine lumber, teak, mahogany, and other hard­ woods. There is no wood grained wallpaper glued to bulkheads or vinyl covering on the wall. Joinerwork  and  tnm are glued, screwed and bunged (wood plugs), and there are no nails covered with putty. The cabin sole is 5/8" thick teak plank­ing with holly insets. Every effort is made to create strength and beauty, so that the interior will withstand the rigors of use and the test of time. Every inte­rior is custom built so a wide range of alternative layouts can be incorporated.




SHANNON YACHT BROKERAGE    19 BROAD COMMON ROAD, BRISTOL, RI 02809      +1.401.253.2441     email