MY YACHT WORTH?
Sabre Yachts is an established yacht brand in the U.S., well known, particularly on the East Coast. The company dates back to 1970, and is headquartered in Raymond, Maine, slightly northwest of Portland. For over 50 years the company has built thousands of boats for the recreational market, first with its popular sailboat line, then moving over to the Downeast-style powerboats that carry it forward today.
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The first sailboat offered by the company was the venerable Sabre 28, a Jim Taylor design that set the foundation for the company’s sailboat line, as well as reasonably high customer expectations, for good-looking, moderate displacement performance cruisers that satisfied the needs of cruising sailors looking for a sailboat that hits all the buttons. Sabre’s sailboats were perfect for weekend coastal cruising for couples and small families and came with all the cachet of being hand-built in Maine. The boats have enough hardwood in their interiors to meet the demands for that traditional Downeast look, and the company used quality hardware, spars, and rigging to satisfy experienced sailors. Almost 600 Sabre 28s were launched.
Sabre Yachts founder Roger Hewson came out with several updated versions of the Sabre 28, each better, faster, and offering a better sailing experience. The company also built on its success by introducing new models, including the Sabre 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 42, 425, and 452 models. Several of these boats were successful enough that the builder kept improving them in subsequent versions, incorporating the inevitable advances in construction and technology that the sailing industry came upon during the years. All Sabre sailboats are traditional masthead sloops, perfect for cruising and racing on the weekend circuit.
In 1989 the company introduced its first powerboat, the Sabre 36, a “fast trawler” which made a splash into the growing interest from the trawler cruising community. Its standard twin diesel engines provided the faster cruising speed many were looking for, in a practical design that embodied enough of the Maine influence that has been synonymous with Sabre since 1970.
In 1994, the company acquired North End Marine of Rockland, and the new company, renamed North End Composites, focused on producing fiberglass hulls and decks for the company’s line up, which by the mid-2000s had moved to the powerboat-only segment of recreational boating.
Living through changes in the recreational market, Sabre Yachts survived during the decline of consumer demand for sailboats, and ultimately decided to get out of the sailboat business entirely. The company looked to the horizon, and then focused its development, production, and marketing efforts on a new line of traditional Maine-inspired, Sabre-designed Downeast Cruisers. These new powerboat models would offer comfortable and luxury accommodations in a faster cruising boat that retained all the elements of a Maine-inspired cruiser, keeping with traditional interiors and profiles. In short order, Sabre Yachts made the successful switch from sailboat manufacturer to builder of quality cruising powerboats that offer higher speed with all the comforts of the trawler lifestyle.
The ongoing evolution of Sabre’s Downeast powerboats are seen in today’s lineup of Salon Express cruisers that combine very comfortable, somewhat traditional accommodations with the performance offered by having twin Volvo IPS drives. The models range from the Salon 38 Express up to the flagship 58-foot Express.
Sabre sailboats are still popular and boats that have been lovingly cared for are still in demand. People who own or search for a Sabre 38 Mark II, for example, appreciate the timeless, classic look of a traditional sailing yacht, and know they can expect continued customer support from the company for parts, service, and information. The attractive 38-footer offers a layout with two staterooms, 6’4” headroom throughout, three keel options (from 6’6” deep keel to 4’11” wing keel), in an easily-driven, moderate displacement hull with a 31’5” waterline. The boat has a very comfortable 8-foot-long cockpit outfitted with the best hardware for spirited sailing and occasional racing.
The profile of all Sabre sailboats says it all about the classic beauty of the company’s design program. The Sabre 38’s standard 35hp diesel engine and the boat’s fuel and water tankage are more than adequate for successful weekend cruising along the coasts, particularly in New England waters where the boats are seen everywhere.
Sabre’s Downeast-style yachts all have the performance of a contemporary motor yacht. The standard design includes twin engines to provide cruising speeds in the 20-knot range, and the deep-vee hulls typically top out near 30 knots, depending on optional power. When combined with the unmatched maneuverability of the IPS propulsion system, operating one of these beauties is something all boaters need to experience.
The Sabre 43 is a good example of this Downeast powerboat line. It has a sleek look instantly recognizable as a Sabre, and the interior proportions and accommodations closely match those of other Downeast cruisers of this size. A large island berth is a standard feature of Sabre’s forward stateroom, while the saloon shares space and storage with both helm and galley, each of which are well sized for a yacht of this size and outfitted to meet the demands of any yachtsman. The Sabre 43 is also commissioned as a fully networked yacht and all controls and functions can be controlled and monitored from either the helm displays or one’s iPad. Remote monitoring of critical systems is certainly a glimpse into the future of powerboat cruising and Sabre intends to stay at the cutting edge of this technology.
Sabre Yachts has come a long way in the past 50 years, while remaining true to its Maine roots. Its staff of talented craftsmen are very experienced and stay on top of new production techniques and technology. Sabre sailboats are still easily recognized, and stand out in any anchorage or yacht club outing. Sabre’s powerboats showcase fast yacht performance and efficiency as they pass most all other boats on the waterways.
While some lament the demise of the company’s sailboat line, the future is all about convenience, technology, and lasting value. Sabre Yachts feels its powerboats embody these essential qualities rather well.
This makes the company well positioned for today and many years to come. Sabre's sister company is Back Cove Yachts.
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