Jupiter is an attractive, upscale community on Florida’s Atlantic coast, home to a number of celebrities in the sports and entertainment fields. Sitting in its slip in front of Down East Yachting, the Jupiter-based dealer for Sabre Yachts, the new Sabre 58 Salon Express fit right in. With its traditional lines, wide teak decks and exquisite cherry interior woodwork, the 58 SE rivaled many of the town’s finer coastal homes both in appearance and architectural detail.
I would have been happy to spend the day chilling out on board at the dock. But it was a beautiful morning, and we were here for a sea trial. In fact, Capt. Thomas Freeman had arrived early to switch on the boat’s optional Seakeeper 18 so it would be spooled up and ready when we cast off (the process takes about 45 minutes.) The Seakeeper gyro stabilization system is designed to minimize boat roll, and its primary utility kicks in when the yacht is in rough or sloppy seas. But, as Freeman demonstrated, it also can help when you are maneuvering in the marina. “It makes your close-quarters docking so much easier‒the boat’s not rocking,” he said.
Not that undocking the Sabre 58 SE would be difficult without a Seakeeper. Sabre Yachts are equipped with Volvo Penta IPS pod drives, so you can use the joystick mounted on the arm of the Stidd helm chair to “walk” the boat in pretty much any direction you please at low speed. “The Seakeeper works really well in conjunction with the IPS drives in docking mode. It keeps the boat flat, and very manageable,” Freeman added.
This up-to-the-minute propulsion system nicely illustrates the fact that boats by Sabre only look traditional. Beneath the skin, they are state-of-the-art motor yachts. Literally so ‒ they are built using Sabre’s advanced Vacuum Infusion Process (VIP) resin-infusion technology for greater strength and durability.
The 58 SE, which fills a gap in Sabre’s Salon Express series between the 48 SE and the company’s flagship 66 Dirigo, represents a new evolution for the range. Instead of putting the galley down, where it is on those other two models, the Sabre design team located 58 SE’s galley on the main deck aft, where it serves the dining areas in the salon and the aft deck with equal convenience. During the 58 SE’s design phase, the Sabre team consulted with current owners about the position of the galley, whether it should be down or aft, according to Bentley Collins, vice president of marketing and sales for Sabre and Back Cove. “They were about evenly split,” he reported. “Then, when they saw the boat at the Miami Yacht Show, they all loved it.”
The well-equipped galley occupies the full width of the main deck, configured with a U-shaped counter area with sink and stove to port and a single counter to starboard that holds the fridge and freezer drawers. Storage cabinets over the counters are set high so they won’t block the yacht’s extra-large windows.
The 58 SE’s striking curved-glass aft windows, which also can be found on the 45 SE and 48 SE models, are another good example of Sabre’s ability to incorporate contemporary technology‒in this case, developed by the automotive industry‒seamlessly into its classic Downeast designs. As we ran along the ICW toward Lake Worth Inlet, these curved corner windows added to the large overall expanse of glass that gave us sweeping views of the waterfront mansions lining the waterway.
Another evolutionary design goal for the Sabre 58 SE was to incorporate a full-beam master suite into its three lower-deck accommodations. This was accomplished by positioning the master’s king-size berth athwartships, opposite the vanity and head compartment, which features a large separate shower. Three hanging lockers the size of home closets are located in the stateroom’s aft bulkhead. Headroom here is 6’6”.
Forward of the master suite is a companionway with a washer/dryer hidden in a cabinet. There is a guest stateroom to starboard with twin berths that can be converted into a queen, along with an ensuite head and shower. Forward is the VIP stateroom, which has a private “Jack-and-Jill” entrance to the third head.
Each of the 58 SE’s three staterooms features a staple of traditional wooden boat building: horizontal slats called “hull ceilings” that were used to protect a boat’s sides and forepeak. Now they are a stunning part of Sabre’s Downeast DNA.
Back up on the main deck, the 58 SE’s helm area also is a testament to Sabre’s woodworking skill, with gorgeous details and even a holly-splined footrest. But 21-century technology is very present here as well. Mounted in the cherry helm are two standard 17-inch multifunction displays which, in addition to displaying feeds from the Garmin electronics and Volvo Penta IPS2-950 propulsion system, can pull up the CZone digital switching system, which monitors all of the ship’s systems and alarms, as well as giving you touch-screen control of the lighting throughout the yacht. “You really do not have to leave this helm unless you have an emergency,” Freeman said.
After emerging from Lake Worth Inlet into the Atlantic Ocean, we ran north and south along the beach in a sloppy 3- to 4-foot beam sea and 15 knots of breeze. Sightlines were good from the comfortable Stidd helm chair. The yacht responded nicely to the wheel and tracked true. The 58 SE accelerated smoothly through the rpm band to reach an average top speed of 29.8 knots at wide-open throttle, about 2500 rpm. Volvo-Penta has recorded the yacht running at just over 31 knots top end.
The Seakeeper stabilization system kept the yacht from rolling, but equally impressive was the onboard Volvo Penta 900mm Interceptor trim system with Active Ride Control, which kept the bow down and the yacht level when we were hit by waves or wakes from other boats. “It keeps the boat at its best performance,” said Freeman.
All in all, on rough seas and flat, the new Sabre 58 SE provided us with an exceptionally smooth and quiet ride. For an experienced owner-operator, this is an ideal step up in size to large-yacht accommodations without losing small-yacht maneuverability. Freeman, who provides orientation sessions for new Sabre owners, agrees. “This boat is amazing. The company has really grabbed the cutting edge of yachting, so to speak,” he said. “I could teach anyone to run it and to dock it.”
Fuel: 800 gals.
Water: 230 gals.
Displ.: 63,000 lbs.
Power: (2) 725-hp Volvo Penta IPS2-950
Price (as tested): $2.5 million
To learn more about Sabre Yachts, go to