The sheer clamps weren't as hard to put in as the chine logs, possibly because I now had a plan to get through this on my own. On the other hand, I did manage to split the bow end of the first lamination on the port side. Some head-scratching and careful examination led me to the conclusion that the second lamination would keep things stable and strong as long as I moved to screws long enough to go all the way into the the stem block.
In any case, things seem to have worked out all right. And now for sure I can see the boat hiding there!