Editor’s note: the author has no affiliations with the sellers of the boat in this article and was not compensated in any way for writing it.
Regular readers of my blog know that I am a huge fan of the second-generation Sabre sailboats designed by Roger Hewson, and that I plan to buy another one in the future. As such, I follow the market for these boats pretty closely, and last week I saw a post on the Sabre Sailboats Facebook Group about a 36 that was coming on the market. As luck would have it, the owners were cruising to Newport that weekend so I was able to reach out to them and convince them to let me dinghy over to see her, and even to come along for a test sail later in the week.
What a boat! Here are the characteristics that make her such a rare find:
#1: Her interior teak is a very rare, light shade I have never seen on these boats. Sabres of this generation with oiled rather than varnished teak often look too dark and almost dingy unless the teak has been regularly oiled (which few owners do; see this article for more on the topic). Not this boat – the shade of teak is so light it almost looks like cherry. The cushions are in immaculate condition too with the nest result that the interior presents as nearly new.
#2: NO CRAZING ANYWHERE ON HER DECKS. This is RARE for this generation of Sabres, which are infamous for gelcoat crazing on the doghouse. My 42 had a ton of it, but somehow this particular boat came out of the mold with exactly the right gelcoat mixture. I’ve never seen anything like it.
#3: Nearly new Westerbeke engine with under 400 hours. It makes the same power as the original, but weighs 100lbs less. She easily cruises at six knows under power. As an owner having a new engine would have given me so much more confidence during passages. As I write these words we are in the midst of a 3-week cruise interruption on our Hylas 54 because of a failed injector pump on our 5,300 hour Yanmar. Ugh.
#4: Nice sails – a full batten main and recent jib. The owner’s son is a professional sailmaker and he absolutely nailed the rig tune on the boat too. Perfectly in column with just the right slack in the leeward shrouds when loaded up. He even left enough slack in the aft lowers to allow more mast bend with the backstay adjuster. Respect my friend, respect!
#5: New standing rigging!
#6: She has the deep draft (and recently refaired) keel, so she sails beautifully. I plan to write an article with a full comparison of the Sabres I have sailed so far, but suffice it to say the deep draft 36 sails head-and-shoulders better than the keel / centerboard Sabre 36 I sailed back in Annapolis. During our test sail on Merlin, we had 15-17 knots and sailed with the full main and genoa. Close-hauled we were doing 6.0 over the bottom and pointing easily 5-10 degrees higher than I could have done on my Sabre 42 keel / centerboard. And close hauled, she was going almost as fast as the 42 would have been going yet pointing considerably higher. The helm felt terrific too, with just the right amount of weather helm and the rudder foil has an ideal balance between feel and steering load. She’s an absolutely delightful boat to sail.
Here is a link to the listing on YachtWorld for anyone who wants a closer look, but please don’t buy this boat. It won’t give me enough time to con someone into lending me a barn so I can buy Merlin and store her until I am ready for my next Sabre!