Sabre Blog

The advent of POD Drives

Sabre 48 - from aboveThe advent of pod drives for recreational motor yachts has taken place over a relatively short period in time. Sabre offers six models in the current motor yacht range and all models are available with pod drives; in fact only two of the six, the Sabre 54 Salon Express and Fly Bridge, can be offered with straight shafts. Our transition from shaft driven to pod driven models is almost complete. For those who are still not convinced here’s an explanation of the benefits.

Commercial vessels such as tugs and cruise ships have been using pods for some time. For the tug boat operator, the ability to direct thrust in any direction as required, is a huge benefit. Pods are far more efficient than conventional drives when operating in close quarters. For the cruise ship operator there are several benefits including not requiring tugs to get on and off a dock. A cruise ship can also hover on a specific location while guests disembark to go ashore for lunch or to enjoy a sandy beach. No anchor required.
And so just as grand prix race car technology finds it’s way down to the cars we drive and super yacht technologies come to every man’s motor yacht , so too have pods come from commercial to recreational use. I am often asked which benefit I find most appealing from the consumers perspective and I would rank the benefits as follows. 
  1. The joystick provides amazing close quarters handling and docking in marinas where current and wind make boat handing a worrisome event in an otherwise calm and peaceful day. 
  2. Vibration and sound levels are dramatically reduced because exhaust gasses are expelled through the foot of the pod. Typical sound levels are about 10Db lower than a comparable shaft driven model.  
  3. Because the propellers are pushing in the same axis that the boat is moving, they are much more efficient and so fuel costs are considerably lower. This efficiency gain can vary from model to model and in most cases we have no direct comparison because our boats only come with pods. It is fair to say that we have seen gains from 10 to 30% depending on the model. With fuel prices where they are today that’s a nice savings. S38.helm
  4. Last but not least, the station hold feature is huge. Volvo’s name for this feature is DPS or Digital Positioning System and Cummins~Zeus calls theirs Skyhook. Both systems hold the compass heading and the latitude and longitude of the vessel within a few feet, regardless of wind and current. They also include a built in autopilot. Imagine waiting for a fuel dock or a bridge or even picking up a mooring ball. So simple with a station hold feature.

Sabre installs the Volvo IPS in the Sabre 38 and Sabre 54 foot models and Cummins~Zeus in the Sabre 42 and Sabre 48. In the next few years other engine builders will come to market with their own pods. Caterpillar and Yanmar have both installed test systems. Pods are here to stay as are the benefits to the consumer. 

Should you want to know more about these systems, contact Sabre Yachts; we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Beautiful Varnish


Hazel putting a coat of varnish on a drawer cover

Our interior varnish process protects all of this beautiful woodwork for the life of the boat. Maintenance consists of a simple annual wipe down with warm water and a touch of soap. Wood on a boat is beautiful and such an essential aspect of our designs.

Here at Sabre we have a varnish department adjacent to the woodworking department. Presently we have five women working all aspects of interior varnish; Hazel, Lori, Cathy, Wendy and Doreen.


Putting the finishing touches on a Sabre 42 Dinette

Some people ask why women? Generally speaking women are very good at varnishing because they take their time and pay attention to details! Over the years we have had both men and women in this role.

Interiors onboard Sabre 42 Salon Express in Oxford, MD.

The finished Dinette! This Sabre 42 Salon Express is ready for it’s new owners!

Supervisor, Jason Douglass says, “The varnish department is such an essential aspect of our build process. From our poured epoxy tables to the final coat of varnish, our team gives each boat that wow factor.”

Hazel is a five year Sabre Associate and has been in the varnish department throughout her time at the company. Above she is putting a coat of sealer on the drawer face. We apply two coats of sealer and two coats of varnish to all interior wood in our motor yachts. After the parts have dried, they are ready to be installed in the hull they are built for. Each part is built for a specific boat!


Doreen is all smiles!

Lori is also a Sabre varnish aficionado! Lori has been at Sabre for just over a year. When the boat is in completion, the boat gets a thorough inspection. Lori and other associates spend a lot of time cleaning the interior and making everything 100% perfect. 

Doreen, shown to the right, has been with the company for almost ten years. Doreen is spending time sanding the interior as it gets installed in the hull of this Sabre 42 Salon Express.

At our Sabre 48 shop, Cathy Thompson, A 30 year Sabre veteran, and Wendy handle all interior finish for that shop

Sabre couldn’t do it without these fantastic associates! To learn more about Sabre Motor Yachts, visit the Sabre website.

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OPTIMISM, “A Sabre 48 Salon Express WILL take me anywhere”

Bob P. is about to have a brand new Sabre 48 delivered to his front door. He is a two time Back Cove owner and decided to switch into Back Cove’s sister company, Sabre Yachts for desire of a larger boat. The goal is to travel to the Turks and Caicos’ with his wife this winter. Ahh, I’m green with envy!

Bob looked at three dozen different boat manufacturers. “I reviewed many boats out there. I kept coming back to Sabre because of the traditional, classic Downeast look where function meets form.”

Sabre 48

The cockpit of a Sabre 48 Salon Express

Bob had complete faith in the Sabre manufacturing and build process. “I did months and months of research and Sabre kept coming back on top.”

“I wanted the best of the best. I didn’t want a boat that just looks pretty at the dock – I call them wine and cheese boats.”


There are 4 other Sabre 48’s being built in Raymond

Another major factor for Bob is that Sabre’s are made in the USA. “I didn’t want to work with an overseas factory on a build.” He said. “And more importantly, I already bought two boats from the Sabre/ Back Cove family. They are outstanding and their customer support is better than I’ve ever seen in my thirty-five years in the boating industry.”


A unique color! Bob calls it Wasabi green

When Bob decided to buy a Sabre, he went to his local dealer, Petzold’s Marine Center. “Petzold’s is first class. As an insurance agent, I interacted with hundreds and hundreds of dealers over the years and find Petzold’s truly outstanding.” Bob says, “They get it”.

When I told them I was considering a Sabre 48, we went on a sea trial. “The boat was fantastic but because of my Parkinson’s, I needed to further enhance specific safety features. And Sabre didn’t skip a beat.” Bob says, “Sabre gives you the latitude to personalize the boat since it’s a semi-custom build and that meant a lot to me.”

Bob spoke to Sabre’s National Sales Manager, Lynn Beaudoin, who listened to all the special features he needed to ensure he moved around the boat with ease and security. “They will work with the customer and provide proactive input and advice to give us the build of our dreams. They will do anything possible as long as it fits in the safety margins.”


Only two months left before this beautiful yacht gets splashed!

Bob was especially impressed with how many different people within the company were involved in all stages of the process. “The design team and engineering team took their practical knowledge and gave me proactive suggestions. It’s hard for me to admit it, but their ideas were better than mine!”

After Bob gets his boat, he knows he’s going to get excellent customer service; Bob’s seen the service first hand with Sabre’s sister company, Back Cove Yachts. “After sales service is outstanding; they truly stand behind their product.”

As some might know, Bob Preston’s mission is to spread awareness of Parkinson’s disease. He’s dubbed his story, “Optimism can take you anywhere!”. We are confident it will….aboard a Sabre 48.

Bob Preston’s cruise starts June 28 on their Back Cove 37. They receive their new boat at the end of July!

To follow their adventures, check out their new blog:

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An all new Sabre 54.

Have you heard? We have re-designed the Sabre 54 Salon Express and 54 Fly Bridge and it is BREATHTAKING. The number of unique features and design elements are truly amazing.




Kevin Burns, VP of Design and Product Development says, “The 54 represents the most sophisticated build to date for the Sabre yard in terms of the incredible interior details, state-of-the-art systems arrangements, and overall experience of ownership.  It will establish a new high water mark for our S54_Galley_21MAY13_eentire team.”

S54_Head 21MAY13This conceptual rendering (shown left) of the galley highlights the open interior layout with the galley half-way down and the office seen in the background. 

One of the most incredible features is the cabinet joinery details – this fine woodworking is built not only in the USA but in the State of Maine at the Sabre yard.  We are proud to use sustainably harvested, domestically sourced American Cherry timber.

Other “jewels” of the galley are the upscale fixtures, the dishwasher and the subzero drawer refrigerators.

The appliances are seamlessly integrated with the rest of the galley by way of the custom cherry door panels which present a full ‘built in’ effect.

Another great feature of the 54 layout: the Day Head.  This space is beautifully designed and yet extremely practical — the benefit of a day head is that it keeps traffic out of the staterooms which translates into the greatest level of privacy for Owners and Guests.

Outboard surfaces of the day head covered with solid cherry staving with Sabre’s signature hand rubbed finish.  It blends wonderfully with the cherry and stainless steel grab rail located under the counter.

There will be lots of light in this space with a full mirror bulkhead and full mirror door. The oversized stainless steel port light opens easily for days when you want the sea breeze blowing throughout the cabin.

Sabre_54SE Cockpit_overhead

In the spacious cockpit of the 54, you find an awning by SureShade as a standard feature. Also worth noting — the Sabre 54 will be one of the first production boats to be fitted with the Volvo IPS 950 propulsion system. We expect a cruise speed in the high 20’s and a top end speed over 30 knots

To learn more about the Sabre 54, visit the Sabre Yachts website

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“Sir, Madam, your table is ready”

S48_set.for.dinnerThe Sabre 48 Salon Express already has a reputation for its spacious layout. Recently some Sabre 48 owners snapped an image of the main salon set-up for dinner which really highlighted the spacious nature of the 48.

This image, taken from the helm looking aft, shows how one can host a comfortable dinner party for four (or even 6) people aboard the Sabre 48! As you can see, the main salon offers ample seating surfaces for entertaining or simply relaxing to read or enjoy the entertainment systems. Sabre 48 Rooster's Tale in Portland Maine.

The multiple smart phones on the table is pretty typical these days. Has anyone been at a dinner where everyone is asked to surrender their cell phone? Apparently the phones are stacked on the table and the first person to get a text or phone call or the one who reaches for their phone, pays for dinner. Sounds interesting!

As you can see from the image, the port side sliding settee (it’s on the right side in this picture) moves athwart ships to get to the table (it also exposes the stairs to the optional 3rd cabin below the salon).

Sabre 48 Rooster's Tale in Portland Maine.

The raised cockpit sole of a Sabre 48 Salon Express brings together the social aspects of the cockpit and main salon, and the aft end of the house opens up fully to connect the spaces. 

To learn more about the Sabre 48 Salon Express, visit the Sabre website.


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“The Life Aquatic” – Profile on Kevin Burns, VP of Design and Product Development

Our in house designer, Kevin Burns, is featured this month in Maine HOME+DESIGN . “I want a design that’s going to be just as appealing 10 years from now as it is today, without ever becoming old fashioned.” Burns says.


The article written by Maine Home and Design magazine writer Jaed Coffin is titled, The Life Aquatic”. He writes, “The secret of Burns’s design insight has a lot to do with the fact that the shop where his boats are built is just a few seconds’ walk from the desk where he dreams them into life. You can smell the fiberglass resin through the wall, hear the sounds of careful construction as if it were in the room next door. Burns takes pride in what he calls the “symbiotic relationship” between his office and the shop floor. There’s no emailing between engineers and craftsman, no driving between site visits: it’s all right here in what Burns calls a “flexible space.” “Good design,” Burns says, “requires diligence on every level. It’s about minimization and efficiency. If I draw something up, I can bring it downstairs, and my guys can tell me if it’s going to work. If not, back to the table.”
rockland 10.2.12 039
To read the article in it’s entirety along with other Sabre news, visit the Sabre “In the News” section of our website. To find a copy of this month’s Maine Home and Design magazine, click here.





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Glenn Almlov retires after 40 years at Sabre Yachts

glennAlmlov 2003

Sabre Yachts is proud to honor Glenn Almlov for his 40 years of service to the company with a retirement ceremony on May 2nd.

Sabre began building yachts in 1970 and Glenn became an assembly associate in 1973, building the Sabre 28 and Sabre 34 sailboats.  He was soon transferred to Wood Shop and as his expertise grew, he became an integral part of the Product Development team.  This department built the plugs and molds used in the development of many new, successful models of boats over the years.


In 1992, Glenn became the Supervisor of both Wood Shop and Product Development.  Glenn took a strong interest in the safety of the associates at Sabre and his role gradually evolved into his present position of Safety and Environmental Manager.  Glenn created our Safety Committee that meets quarterly to discuss safety at the plant.  The outstanding safety record at Sabre is a tribute to Glenn’s hard work in this area.  He oversees the facility, transportation of our product, and all environmental issues and regulations.  Aaron Crawford, COO at Sabre says “Glenn is a critical part of the daily operation of Sabre Yachts, a great associate for over 40 years, and beyond that, a great person”.


Glenn lives in Bridgton with his wife, Wendy.  They have raised two children he is extremely proud of, his son Erik, a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and his daughter Alison. Glenn has one grandson and a granddaughter on the way.  Glenn enjoys spending time with his family and continues to work on boats in his spare time.  He is also very interested in agriculture and has a small family farm that he tends.

Glenn retires after 40 years of service and he will be sadly missed at Sabre Yachts.  

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Sabre in Shanghai


Last week Bentley visited China for the China International Boat Show. Bentley went in search of an importer and to learn more about the boat market in China. The fantastic Sabre and Back Cove booth display highlighted the company’s models and drew in people from all over the country visiting the show.


East meets West. Walking the streets of Shanghai.


Brenda and Bentley visit the great wall – one of the 7 Wonders of the World.


Here is a typical Chinese Power Cruiser complete with a Mahjong Table and Karaoke machine. Mahjong is a popular game similar to the Western card game Rummy. 


On Saturday evening at the Boat Show, Sabre + Back Cove Yachts held a reception at our display. We invited new friends we met at the show and served Schramberg Champagne, which should have some significance for Americans.

Schramberg Champagne Blanc de Blancs was presented at a banquet in Beijing during President Nixon’s historic visit to China when he visited Zhou En-lai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China. Nixon made a “Toast to Peace” during a state dinner in Bejing in 1972.

Bentley reports it was an excellent trip. “China’s boating market holds tremendous potential but is today in it’s infancy. It will be a decade before a significant percentage of the population learns about and begins to enjoy boating. With (lots of) patience, this will be a big market for our motor yachts.”

Although the boating industry is far behind the US — he compared it to the US in the 1940’s — he met some fantastic people and is looking forward to having some Sabre Yachts cruising the China Sea. 

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Helpful product alert!

Sabre 38 in Portland Maine

A beautiful boat such as a Sabre 38 Salon Express, deserves a little TLC (tender loving care) so when one of our Sabre owners showed us this excellent product, we were thrilled share it with you. It’s called “No Spill” and apparently it’s very effective in preventing diesel fuel from spilling into our precious ocean. As we all know, spilling fuel into U.S. waters is illegal and bad for the environment. Prevent diesel from making a mess of the hull while also doing good for the environment? Sounds like a win-win!

no spill_device

What is it? No-Spill is a fuel resistant bottle designed for temporary attachment to the hull, over the fuel tank vent, while fueling. 


It captures fuel spilled from the vent when the tank reaches a full level, fuel that would otherwise stain the hull and run into the water. No-Spill attaches to the hull using two super strong suction cups.


According to the description on various websites, it is designed for use with gasoline or diesel fuel. The cost is under $20 and it fits all boats with fuel tank vents up to 1.5″ (3.8 cm) in diameter. Are you excited or what? Let’s go boating!

To purchase this item, visit the JSM Marine Online Supply.



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Bentley goes swimming in MAINE in March….really!

Bentley Collins, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Sabre & Back Cove Yachts tells us about the “dip” he took a few weeks ago in Portland, Maine. Here’s his story!


On St Patrick’s Day I awoke, flipped on the TV and saw dozens of crazy Mainers going for a dip in the 42 degree ocean at Portland’s East End Beach. Buuurrr. Back under the covers for me. Not to be, I have an open house at the local dealership so I dress for the cold spring day and head down to the event. The very first thing I am asked is to do is a sea trial on the Sabre 42. It’s a beautiful morning so why not.

As I step on the swim platform to recoil the boats power cord I walk to the port side where the morning sun has yet to dry the water from the surface. To my surprise this is not water, it’s ice. Before I know it, I am swimming in the very cold water of Portland Harbor just like those craze people I saw on TV an hour or so ago. Am I crazy or what?

It’s a times like this that everything you have ever learned about being on and in the water comes streaming back to you but it’s all in fast motion. My mind reminds me I have two minutes in this temperature before hypothermia sets in. I relax once I know I have time and decide not to do anything rash. Next image is the swim ladder. Yes all of our boats are built with ABYC certified ladders that allow a person to recover him/herself from the water unaided. Of course by this time there are plenty of people gathered to help me but I am a big guy and with the soaking wet clothes nobody is going to get me out of the water easily.

Sabre 42 swim platform

The Sabre 42 Salon Express Swim Platform.
The retractable, stainless steel swim ladder is on the port side tucked under the platform.

I reach for the swim ladder, deploy the ladder towards myself reach for the hand hold on the platform and gracefully climb up and onto the platform. Total water time maybe 45 seconds in all. In a few minutes I am in the car then home to take a hot shower and then back to the open house.

As I reflect on my incident (which could have been a disaster), I wonder how many boat owners would know all this stuff that is embedded somewhere in my brain. I am going to encourage owners to jump in (to warmer water) and make sure they can get themselves back out. More boating deaths happen at the dock, at anchor or at a mooring than happen underway. The reason usually is that the boat they were on did not have a good swim ladder to use for self-recovery.

Swim ladder test done. Tick

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