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The Sabre 40 from Maine combines traditional boatbuilding with the latest in available technology. It’s a heady mix, discovers TONY MACKAY

Sabre 40 Sedan

Nowadays, we all love the "new" world of thrilling gadgets and gizmos. They have accelerated our lives to an almost frantic pace. Some make everything much easier, while others provide fun and thrills. Oh, and apparently vital information. The trouble is it can be just a touch too fast and too modern for some tastes. This has given rise to a marked trend of returning to good old-fashioned traditional values.

This is particularly apparent in the boating industry, where many have followed fashion like lemmings and become disappointed with their purchases. Somehow or other they failed to connect. Yet they still like the modern conveniences, performance and construction quality, which old products may not have.

Cutting a swathe through these issues is the Sabre 40. It is as traditional as the sword itself - razor sharp - but with the latest technology and performance. It seems to be a perfect meld of old-world values, classic yet fresh styling, with modern goodies and design features.

Spirit along at 30kts or tuck up in a luxurious island bed in air-conditioned comfort - a perfect conversion from the joys of sailing to the convenience of a motorcruiser.




It is always such a pleasure to row away from your pride and joy and turn back and admire the stylish lines. A well raked bow, the gentle run of the sheer lines, a tasteful colour scheme accented by high-quality fittings all add to the pleasure that traditionally-styled boats exude.

Unlike the dramatically designed 'sandshoe' styling efforts that are not pretty in the first place, and look truly awful a few years later, the Sabre will still be a glamour puss in 20 years time. It's a sort of Grace Kelly of the Seas, without a hint of the new money, drug bunny, or gold-chain spiv.

The Sabre's are handmade in Maine. For those who are not "in the know", Maine is the haven for traditional boating in the USA. Down East styling they call it (although I would have thought "up north" was more accurate). To this end, the Sabre has evolved from the classic lobster boat designs, which work so well in all sorts of seas.

It is this evolution that is so impressive; the perfect symbiosis of traditional styling and all the most modern technology in naval architecture and construction methods. Sabre uses the infusion-moulding process, which produces stronger and lighter hulls that uses less resin for a greener construction process. The materials are all loaded dry into the mould and then infused with resin giving much higher glass-to-resin ratios than the traditional handlaid methods.




Technology continues at the latest levels with the inclusion of the Cummins Zeus drive systems, which, quite frankly, have completely revolutionised boat propulsion. The pod-system faces aft and propels this 40-foot cruiser with electrifying speedboat performance and handling as if she were on rails. It is completely, totally and absolutely impressive in every respect, not to mention fabulous fun. More of this later.

The hull is a modified V-bottom with hard chines that rides high and dry, slicing through waves and chop with complete ease. Photographic evidence shows how little water is shifted and this contributes to a fast and economical ride through most conditions.

The deep-V forefoot, combined with well situated spray rails and chines, can be used with great effect as the hull moves over the 'hump' and onto the plane, so that in rougher conditions it is easily possible to create a better angle of attack, as it were, still keeping the screens and cockpit dry.

While I particularly enjoyed the handling through a range of moderate speeds, our fearless editor had obviously had his Fangio tablets and put the Sabre through swirling and twirling turns and in ever diminishing circles. Suffice to say that if you already liked the styling, interior and other details, a demonstration run the likes of which we enjoyed would have you placing an immediate order. It is simply that good.

Of course, it is very pleasing to know the capabilities of a car or boat, particularly when times get tough. The Sabre instills complete confidence and coastal passages can be comfortably undertaken at more moderate speeds of between 14 to 25kts.

Mooching around the ports and harbours, or "gunkholing" as the Americans call it, is particularly pleasurable. Smooth, quiet and stress-free is exactly how life should be on our waterways. Slipping along and enjoying the ride, the banquet of life unfolding in front of you. Well, that is the press release in any case!




The soaking up of all this glorious ambiance can be done in various comfortable positions. At anchor, we were able to test this out.

The Sabre has a full width and quite generous swimming platform, overlaid with teak, and large enough for two deckchairs for fishing in comfort. A transom door allows easy passage to the well-designed cockpit with an L-shaped sofa to port and a portside seat mounted on the forward side facing aft. It is always very nice to have seats facing each other and, with a few casual deckchairs added around the superb inlaid teak table, it is a very convivial arrangement. Now you don't hear that every day!

Added to this is an electric barbecue and an icemaker to keep the drinks well chilled. The whole backseat folds forward to allow access to the lazarette, which houses the Zeus pod drives. Two smaller hatches facilitate storage.

Moving forward, (thank you Ms Gillard), we have two steps up into the saloon, however, the astute will have noticed that the aft bulkhead windows are actually opening awning windows with gas struts and it is possible to conversationally connect the aft party with the revelers in the saloon. Or even just encourage quiet conversation or additional summer breezes to waft through. Brilliant!

An L-shaped sofa with a small table is to port and a tub chair with entertainment unit, concealed TV and the main electrical panel are to starboard. Forward to starboard is a pair of Stidd helm chairs facing the dashboard that awaits the installation of your favourite electronics package. All of this has been very tastefully crafted in American cherrywood, satin finished with occasional gloss highlights, and a teak and holly floor.

The big wows are the picture windows and optional sunroof, which simply fill the interior with panoramic views (if you are moored in a superior spot) and lots of light. Not a hint of claustrophobia aboard the Sabre.

The galley, to port and down a step, is also a cheery and light-filled space, as the chef remains connected with the social activities in the saloon. A floor hatch accesses a large storage pantry in conjunction with lots of other clever spaces above. Two Vitrifrigo stainless steel drawer fridges are assisted by a separate freezer unit farther forward. Granite benchtops, a bench-height porthole, ceramic two-burner cooktop, convection microwave and an inbuilt coffee maker complete the package. The coffee maker and I would part company rather sooner than later, as that brewed muck that Americans call coffee has no place in my heart.




Still moving forward (thanks Julia) is a lower lobby area with the convertible guest cabin to starboard. I say convertible because it is actually set-up as a very cosy and private dinette for intimate evenings of fine wines and superior cuisine (just prior to moving farther forward to the island bed in the master cabin). If needed, the dinette can be collapsed into a spacious double bed with lots of storage underneath, while two large pocket doors slide closed to give privacy to the guests. Two hatches above and two large portholes provide ample light and ventilation, although this cabin is also reverse cycle air-conditioned. If the conversation dries up, there is a TV and DVD player for your entertainment.

This is a clever cabin because often the crew will be a couple and a lower dinette is particularly nice in the evening, away from prying eyes of other moored boats. You could prop there with a computer, sit back with a book on a rainy afternoon or watch a movie in private. You really have to sit in there to realise how well it works.

To port is the head and shower, which is practical, functional but perhaps a little plain in white plastic. A circular Perspex shower stall will prevent the water going everywhere and the seat and floor grille, in white plastic, will be easy to clean. I would have these changed to teak to dress up the room a little.

The underbench cupboard also needs to be better utilized, but this is hardly a problem of any consequence. The freshwater-flush head will minimise odours and a porthole or the air-conditioning will deal with shower steam and humidity.

In the bow is an island bed owner's cabin, tastefully fitted, including drawers, cedar-lined hanging lockers and shelves for books and whatever. More portholes and an overhead hatch make this a well ventilated and pleasing space to lay back and relax. You can be sure of this as I settled down on the bed and soaked it all in. One must conduct a thorough test for our readers! Another TV and DVD player are fitted if things become desperate. I prefer the reading lamp or, perhaps, to settle in with a favoured friend for some pillow talk.

One of the very best features a boat can have for a skipper, and I cannot stress this enough, is a helm door. If you have not had one, you do not know what you are missing. If you have had one, you will never ever buy a boat without one. Simple. One is immediately on the sidedeck and able to deal with lines and mooring in a flash. A full view of the hull only requires a head out the door. A door open will draw out more air than all the windows combined. It is just the best feature for singlehanded operation and I would never own a boat without it. Full stop. Thank you Mr Sabre.

Once out on the sidedecks, stout railings provide easy access forward and the quality nonskid looks good and will be easy to maintain. A varnished teak toerail is smart and incorporates custom-made fairleads. The bowsprit has a self-stowing anchor and winch with provision for a day anchor to feed through a bowroller. Twin lockers deal with the chain and fenders and there is a deckwash to deal with mud and muck. Handrails on the sidedeck are cleverly concealed under the main roof overhang. A sporty little winged mast is ready for your navigation equipment.

Standing back from the Sabre, one is immediately pleased by the beautifully conceived lines, the varnished teak trims and the subtle gold cove line in the Flag Blue hull. Everything is so nicely trimmed and detailed and one would expect a 20-year-old Sabre to still present as a stylish and elegant package, and that means good resale. She is a head turner, now and forever.

The engineroom is accessed from the saloon floor and is spacious and well arranged. An Onan 9.0kVa will sort out the AC power requirements and I would fit an optional inverter for silent power on the mooring. I can imagine quiet afternoons just slipping by, perhaps snooping into waterfront real estate, a little fishing (a very little in my case) or moored in a secluded anchorage with every convenience at hand.

For a cruising couple, who subscribe to my old "drinks six, eats four and sleeps two" theory, you will not do better than a Sabre 40.




Assisting with your new purchase is one of the real professionals of the industry: Jed Elderkin of Emarine in Sydney. He has an immediately engaging and friendly manner, combined with a real desire to satisfy his clients.

Having quietly interrogated a few of these clients, I have discovered that he has actually made friends of all of them, thanks to his very genuine desire to do the very best he can for them. It sounds like one big happy family, and apparently it is.

In fact, two owners visited the Sabre factory in Maine and were delighted with the warmth and old-fashioned friendship that was so apparent with all the staff. But Maine is that kind of place and wonderfully removed from the aggressive hustle and bustle of the dog-eat-dog society. Plus the scenery is superb. And the lobsters almost hop out of the pots and beg to be smeared with butter. It is now firmly affixed to my itinerary.




Of course, if you really want to turn heads, you will fire-up the Cummins, slip out of the marina using the joystick controller (as easy as pie), engage the electronic throttle controls and glide off into the afternoon sun - at 32kts, should you be so inclined.

I was inclined, and we did, without fuss or fandango, and with a hull which moves like a rocket ship on rails. No turbo lag, no smoke with underwater exhausts, no vibration or cavitation in sharp turns, just pure performance as pleasing as any boat you will command.

Small chop was parted. Longer rollers were swept over and the screen remained dry despite our editor's most vigorous efforts. It is a very impressive performance, and as I have said, if you were wavering with a decision, the test drive would conclude an immediate sale.




(Facts & figures)




Our test boat was fitted with the standard Cummins QSB5.9 engines with Zeus drives giving 380hp and delivering 32kts. On our run home after the excitement of the photo shoot, we slipped along at 10kts sipping 45lt/h, barely a rumble under the floor, without a care in the world, although I was desperate for lunch.

A sensible cruising speed is possibly between 14 to 17kts, the engines humming at 2000rpm and 75lt/h being consumed. The top continuous cruise speed is 27kts, weather permitting, for a 300nm range.




$760,000 w/ twin Cummins QSB5.9 engines and Zeus drives




Twin Cummins QSB5.9M turbo-diesels and Zeus drives, with six crew, full fuel and full water

RPM       SPEED       FUEL BURN      RANGE
600         5kts           5.67lt/h           1200nm
800         6kts           9.46lt/h           864nm
1000       7.6kts        13.6lt/h            760nm
1200       8.7kts        18.16lt/h          653nm
1400       9.5kts        28.38lt/h          456nm
1600       10.1kts      45.42lt/h          303nm
1800       13kts         63.96lt/h          277nm
2000       16.7kts      76.83lt/h          296nm
2200       19.8kts      90.84lt/h          297nm
2400       22.8kts      99.54lt/h          312nm
2600       25.5kts      112lt/h             310nm
2700       27kts         122.63lt/h        300nm
2800       28.3kts      126.79lt/h        304nm
3015       31.8kts      152.53lt/h        284nm 

* Official sea-trial data supplied by Sabre Yachts. Range based on 90% fuel capacity.




Sunroof, Stidd helm chairs, teak decks, lower dinette, Flag Blue hull, and more




MATERIAL: Infusion moulded GRP
TYPE: Modified deep-V monohull
LOA: 12.45m
BEAM: 4.27m
DRAFT: 1.02m
WEIGHT: 11,800kg




FUEL: 1440lt
WATER: 530lt




MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Cummins QSB5.9
TYPE: Turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 380 at 3000rpm (max)
GEARBOX/PROPS: Cummins Zeus drive system




Emarine Australia Pty Ltd,
Roseville Bridge Marina,
15 Normac Street,
Roseville Chase, NSW, 2069

Phone: 61 (2) 9417 8671; 0417 200 165
Fax: 61 (2) 9417 8673



tradeaboat says…

If you value tradition, enjoy products where heart and soul have gone into them, yet still wish to enjoy the new, have a detailed look at the Sabre range of boats and bring a little style and value into your life. We doubt you will be disappointed.


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