The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Sheer \Sheer\, n.
(a) The longitudinal upward curvature of the deck,
gunwale, and lines of a vessel, as when viewed from
(b) The position of a vessel riding at single anchor and
swinging clear of it.
2. A turn or change in a course.
Give the canoe a sheer and get nearer to the shore.
3. pl. Shears See Shear.
Sheer batten (Shipbuilding), a long strip of wood to guide
the carpenters in following the sheer plan.
Sheer boom, a boom slanting across a stream to direct
floating logs to one side.
Sheer hulk. See Shear hulk, under Hulk.
Sheer plan, or Sheer draught (Shipbuilding), a projection
of the lines of a vessel on a vertical longitudinal plane
passing through the middle line of the vessel.
Sheer pole (Naut.), an iron rod lashed to the shrouds just
above the dead-eyes and parallel to the ratlines.
Sheer strake (Shipbuilding), the strake under the gunwale
on the top side. --Totten.
To break sheer (Naut.), to deviate from sheer, and risk
fouling the anchor.