After this week’s test sail of a deep-draft Sabre 36, I thought it would be fun to take a moment to pause and reflect on the Sabres I have sailed so far and how they compare! And I thought I’d rank them based on how enjoyable I found them overall.
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.
There are two fascinating difference between our prior boat, the Sabre 42 (and most similar coastal cruisers) and our current Hylas 54 from the standpoint of automatic bilge pumps. The first big difference: on our Sabre, a variety of sources would cause the (single) automatic bilge pump to run regularly quite apart from any leaks that would be alarming to the crew or a threat to the vessel. For example, rainwater would run down the center of the mast into the bilge which could cause the bilge pump to run periodically during rainy periods. Also, the Sabre’s air conditioning and refrigeration drained condensate directly to the bilge (neither of which were particularly desirable) which would trigger automated draining of the bilge by the pump. Whatever the cause, while aboard we regularly would hear the bilge pump run and therefore had an awareness that that the bilge pump worked.
With Rover still ashore getting the final touches put on our winter projects, we have been doing quite a bit of local racing! In addition to Wednesday nights on the Beneteau 36.7 and a few weekend double handed races, Lisa and I have teamed up with our friends Lynda and Craig to race a rented yacht club J/22 on Thursday evenings. I am driving the boat while Lynda does tactics, Lisa does foredeck and Craig trims.
We are beginning to shake off our winter slumber and get Rover ready for the 2021 cruising season! Brian has been working very hard cleaning & polishing the boat and managing a variety of contractors who have painted the bottom, made repairs to the plumbing in the forward holding tank, and repaired a variety of leaky hoses and other related items on the generator. Below is the dodgy repair I had to make last summer to keep a cracked cooling hose from failing; hoses like these have all been replaced along with a badly corroded heat exchanger. The contractor raised the generator off of its mounts to do the work – something I could not do while were still cruising and living aboard.
Be careful what you wish for. Years ago, I learned from Annapolis locals that those who had a passion for sailing and tried to make a career of it quickly figured out that making a job out out of a hobby could kill the fantasy. As my sailmaker in the late 1990s put it to me about why he wasn’t psyched to go on test sails with me after work: “If you were a porn star, would you really want to go home and F— after work?” I saw his point! Consider this level of stress for the legendary Ken Read leading the gazillion dollar mega yacht Comanche at the start of the 2014 Sydney Hobart race (even though she’s leading – just listen for a few minutes after the start of this clip, and also note the stress in Mark Richard’s voice aboard Wild Oats):
So with that background, guess what it took to reignite passion outside of “work” for sailing for that same Ken Read? Short handed sailing! Given my recent experiences, I totally get it, but don’t take my word for it:
I am becoming legitimately obsessed with double handed racing. This past Saturday may have been the best and most enjoyable experience of my racing career, which dates back to 1996. And this was only my second double-handed race! In fact, I think I’m growing to love this version of sailing almost as much as single handed passage making. Both push the crew to find a whole additional gear in sailing – intellectually and (especially in Saturday’s weather) physically.
Much of the 25 mile race was covered flying the symmetrical spinnaker down the Bay, followed by a douse, a beam reach, and finally a (slightly overpowered) true beat to the finish. Tim’s excellent writeup is here – be sure to read to the end for the adventure delivering home after the race!