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Sabre Yachts thinks smaller

Sabre Yachts is taking a road less traveled by today’s powerboat builders, as it unveils a smaller, rather than larger, model of its Sabreline express boats.

Sabre Yachts is taking a road less traveled by today’s powerboat builders, as it unveils a smaller, rather than larger, model of its Sabreline express boats. The Sabreline 34 Express Hard Top, a twin-engine Down Easter designed with cruising couples in mind, follows Sabre’s successful 42- and 38-footers.

Often, builders that look into building smaller boats crunch the numbers and find it unprofitable. But instead of talking about what could be taken out of the bill of materials, Sabre looked at ways to build the boat more quickly and efficiently, says Bentley Collins, vice president of marketing and sales for the South Casco, Maine-based builder.

“We just wanted to take a shot at taking a boat down a size and see if we can be competitive, and then maybe even go down a size again,” says Collins.

The 34 Express shouldn’t compete with Sabre’s Back Cove 26 and Back Cove 29, he adds, as they have a different look and feel. In addition, the Back Coves have a single engine and a bow thruster, whereas the Sabreline 34 has twin engines.

“I’ve never been able to talk a single-engine guy into buying a twin-engine boat, and I’ve never been able to talk a twin-engine guy into buying a single- engine boat,” he says.

Topside, the 34 Express is laid out with aft- and forward-facing bench seats in the cockpit, and a starboard side galley and port side L-shaped settee with a table under the hardtop on the elevated helm deck. There’s a Stidd captain’s chair at the helm station, and the galley comes equipped with a two-burner electric stove, microwave, refrigerator and molded sink.

The arrangement below is open, with an island berth forward, enclosed head compartment with stall shower to port, and settee to starboard with an ottoman in lieu of a table. The layout lends itself to cruising for two or with a young family, and the LCD television swivels to be viewed from the settee or the berth.

“We see more couples acknowledging that they’re not going to have tons of people on board,” says Collins.

The cabin has a teak and holly sole, cedar-lined hanging locker, and plenty of storage, including in the ottoman and settee. The cabin interior and helm area are finished in cherry, with ash hull ceilings. A generator and air conditioning below are standard.

Construction materials include vinylester resins, biaxial E-glass structural reinforcements, vacuum-bagged Divinycell foam core in the hull bottom, and a foam- and plywood-cored fiberglass stringer system. Various hull colors are available, as are an optional hard aft enclosure, helm deck air conditioning, teak decking in the cockpit and helm deck, teak cockpit coamings, and a fold-away aft bench seat. Twin 315-hp Yanmar diesels are standard, with optional engines from Yanmar and Volvo Penta to 760 hp total.

The 34 Express is designed for more than just saltwater use, Collins says, and he expects it to be popular in the Great Lakes region and overseas. The new boat sells for $335,000, and Collins says he expects prospective owners will be moving up from contemporary U.S. production express cruisers, as well as moving down from larger boats. He says the smaller Sabreline will provide the same amenities as the larger boats but with the lower price tag.

Sabre also has a new powerboat in the 50- to 54-foot range in the pipeline, as well as a smaller sailboat to join “the throng of gentlemen’s daysailers,” Collins says. He says those two boats can be expected early next year.


LOA: 34 feet, 6 inches BEAM: 12 feet, 6 inches DRAFT: 3 feet DISPLACEMENT: 15,850 pounds (dry) HULL TYPE: modified-vee TRANSOM DEADRISE: 16 degrees TANKAGE: 275 gallons fuel, 80 gallons water, 30 gallons waste ENGINE OPTION: twin diesels to 760 hp SPEED: 35 mph top, 27 mph cruise (with twin 315-hp Yanmar diesels) PRICE: $335,000 CONTACT: Sabre Yachts, South Casco, Maine. Phone: (207) 655-3831.