There must be something in the water. Why else would Roger Hewson leave Montreal and his construction business and move to Raymond, Maine, and open a boatyard? (Probably because of Maine’s centuries-old boatbuilding tradition.) In 1970, along with his wife, Charlie, and his childhood sketch of a sloop, that’s what he did. One year later, he introduced the first Sabre 28 at the Newport Boat Show in Rhode Island. (“Sabre,” which is what a thin, curved cavalry sword is called, was the ideal name for his long, sleek boat.) From ’71 to ’86, the company built 588 Sabre 28s. Other Sabre Yachts models included the Sabre 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 42, 362, 402 and 452. Sabre stopped producing sailing yachts in 2012.
Hewson’s dream was to build a Downeaster style sailboat using today’s fiberglass technology and other innovations. Thanks to his classic designs and a committed crew of versatile craftsmen, Sabre Yachts achieved that and produced a line-up of dual-engine, pod-drive, joystick-controlled sailing yachts. Even with all that high-tech know-how, Sabre sailing yachts still provided the comfort, stability and space Downeast boats are known for.
From Sailboats to Motor Yachts
Interested in expanding its market, the yacht builder began producing tri-cabin motor-yachts in 1989. Today, these high-performance powerboats – all built on planing V-hulls – makeup half of the boats built at Sabre Yachts. Current models range from 38 to 66 feet and include the Salon Express 38, 42, 45, 48, 58, 66 Dirigo and the Fly Bridge 42, 48, 66 Dirigo. Dirigo, which means “I lead” in Latin and is Maine’s official motto, is the first American-built Downeaster motor-yacht of its size. And it truly does lead in quality, comfort, design and smart technology.
In 1991, Ed Miller acquired Sabre Yachts. Four years later, he and co-owner Daniel Zilkha acquired North End Marine – a major manufacturer of fiberglass parts and marine molds – located in Rockland, Maine. Today, the Raymond facility builds the 38-to-54-foot motor yachts, and the 240,000-square-foot Rockland site produces the 66 Dirigo.
What separates Sabre Yachts from its competitors is the company’s extensive quality assurance program, where owners and dealers are encouraged to provide feedback. Their input is incorporated into the Model Year Improvement program, which starts with each boat being assigned a “parent.” Boat parents follow their boat through the manufacturing process to make sure every part, subassembly, build stage lives up to Sabre Yachts’ reputation for superior quality and performance.
After 50 years, Sabre Yachts is still true to its motto: Crafted in the Maine Tradition.
If you’re looking for a Downeaster crafted in the Maine tradition, check out our Sabre yachts for sale database. We use cutting-edge cloud network technology, enterprise-level software tools and real-time, reliable information to make your search easier.