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Old 06-09-2021, 09:43 AM   #1
City: Pullman
Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 6
Sabre 36 Feedback (all configurations)

The Sabre 36 is on our shortlist, along with other boats that fit into the Downeast flybridge or fast trawler category. Aft cabin types are on the table as well, but not necessary. We like the sexiness and space of the flybridge Downeast yet also the form and function of the aft cabin.

What I would like to discuss is the seaworthiness (and other issues) of the Sabre 36. I have heard both amazing things about them, and then I have had a few people (mind you they were brokers listing a boat of a different make) tell me the Sabre 36's are "terrible sea boats". That said, I recognize that there may have been design changes throughout the model years that may have resulted in improved sea-going qualities. I read on one thread hear that a member chartered a Sabre (42, IIRC) and found the ride to be uncomfortable. As I stated in my introduction thread, homeport would be Clarkston or Tri-Cities, WA with the Snake and Columbia Rivers our primary theatre with the Washington coast and Puget Sound our primary destinations. With that in mind, the 8kt efficiency of the Sabre 36 is great for cruising between the 8 sets of locks (20-25 miles between each) with the 16-knot speed ideal for longer runs. WOT performance (24kts) would be "nice to have when we need it or want it".

I'm curious what others have found with the Sabre 36, which model year and cabin configuration and receive general feedback on the boat. Comments from any subject matter experts on the improvements in the design over the years would be great as well.

Another point I have read elsewhere is that when equipped with Detroits, the boats have been known to have trouble reaching plane or published speeds/performance. What engines are the ideal choice given the options? I have read the Real World Performance Thread on this boat.

I have consistently read that Sabres are well-built. The ride quality in various sea-states and other "buyer beware" items are what I am seeking here. By all means, I welcome alternative makes and models...such as the GB Eastbay 40 flybridge, etc...

Thank you!
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Old 06-10-2021, 02:45 PM   #2
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City: Narragansett Bay
Vessel Name: EPIC
Vessel Model: 43' Ocean Super Sport
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 182
I can't provide a lot of info but I cruise a lot with another couple who have a 2004 36' flybridge. They love the boat and I agree that build quality is first rate. They, and some other Sabre owners I know have had to paint their hulls due to oxidized gel coat. Not a small bill. The only complaint I've ever heard from the is that the master berth is a head knocker as it extends underneath the forward deck. They like the ride but I don't think they've been out in much really snotty. I don't think the boat would ride well at hull speed unless it was pretty calm. It is a plaining boat and meant to get up out of the water for stability. Hope that helps a little...
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Old 06-10-2021, 02:56 PM   #3
City: Rochester, NY
Vessel Name: Hour Glass
Vessel Model: Chris Craft Catalina 381
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 5,235
The Sabreline 36 is definitely a good looking boat. I've seen one out of the water and I'd say the hull is definitely meant to be a planing hull, just with decent size rudders. I'd expect it to cruise nicely on plane and realistically, if it had more power, it could probably handle 20+ kts without bad behavior (but they're not powered to cruise that fast from the factory).

At low speeds, it should track well enough, but like any planing hull run slowly, there will be some conditions where the ride can be improved greatly by speeding up if fuel range allows. Following seas at low speed will likely be less than pleasant.

In general, unless you have continuous rated engines, WOT speed is only a number to sell boats. You will never run that fast outside of a very brief test run, as the engines will suffer greatly from being pushed that hard on a sustained basis.
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Old 06-10-2021, 06:01 PM   #4
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City: Narragansett Bay
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 36
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 1,460
If you are comparing the Saber to a true Downeaster it will not hold a candle in a big seaway. Sabers may be built in down east Maine but they are built for a different purpose and therefore of a different design. The Downeasters are mostly built down displacement hulls that flatten out aft with a deep keel where the Saber is a deep V hull. Two different animals. The Saber is built to cruise fast if needed, where the Downeaster is built to go out in tough conditions and provide a stable working platform. The Saber will still take more then most of us can and perform beautifully in most any conditions you are likely to encounter.
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Old 06-10-2021, 06:16 PM   #5
City: Long island
Vessel Model: Eastern
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 503
Is is my friends Back Cove 37í tied up to my 31í DE. In big seas , Iíll take my boat every time. You just canít beat big keel when it come to making steady passage.
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Old 08-30-2021, 07:59 AM   #6
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City: New England
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 311
We used to own a 2004 Sabre 36 Flybridge Sedan. It was a gorgeous boat and we loved it. The styling was timeless, and craftsmanship of the interior amazing.

But… IMHO it was not a good sea boat. At the time we kept it on the Chesapeake Bay. The shallow waters there could sometimes create a nasty short, steep chop of 3-4 ft. We were caught out in that a couple of times, and for us it was a scary experience. I felt it was at or beyond the limits of the boat.

We couldn’t seem to find a safe and comfortable speed for those conditions. Off plane the bow would dive uncomfortably deep into oncoming waves. Anything on plane would pound mercilessly. It was also an unbelievably wet ride with extensive leaking through the windows.

I like and admire Sabres, but after owning one for several years, I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable taking a 36 out in anything over a 2-3 ft chop.

You might look at the larger models, 42 or 43. I have no idea how the Back Cove 37 would perform.
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Old 08-30-2021, 10:11 AM   #7
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City: Boston Area
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,278
Have you looked at Duffy ? I think they were sold as hulls, semi custom and full custom so you can find them finished to different levels of refinement. They may not be quite as refined as a Sabre, but these are genuine down east workboat hulls. They'll get you home.
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