In the real world, boats spend most of their time anchored, moored, or tied up, so it only makes sense to provide adequate gear to do so. Before boarding the Sabre 452, you notice the substantial stainless-steel anchor-handling apparatus on the bow, the massive mooring-line cleats, and the sculpted chocks and fairleads.

The same thoughtfulness is evident in the deck hardware, all sized to make the generous sail plan easy for a small cruising crew to manage (for example, Lewmar 64 self-tailing primary winches). The companionway is recessed forward into the house by about a foot; it allows one to lean in and address a pair of winches to which all the mast control lines lead aft. Nicely done, but one of the problems with this arrangement - and it's common to many boats - is that the tails of those lines create a huge and very localized tangle, one that is usually just tossed down below. We should have seen bins or bags here to hold the tails so that they don't end up dripping all over the upholstery and the hand-rubbed cherry.

Sabre 452 SpecificationsSpeaking of cherry, there's lots of it in the Sabre 452. Too Much? Cherry is so easy on the eyes that it would be difficult to overdo it, especially when it's as well done as it is in this boat. The saloon upholstery is plush without being too suburban-living-room, and you could make a sea berth out of the starboard settee or the U-shaped dining arrangement to port, is generous and secure, with ample stowage and counter space. Deep stainless-steel sinks close to the centerline have spigots for foot pumped freshwater and salt water. To starboard is a large and comfortable forward-facing nav station.

In a 45-footer, you can get two nice double cabins and, if you must, two decent heads. Go for the third cabin and things get tight. Sabre has stuck with two of each, and that means plenty of elbow room everywhere. The standard layout has a forward owner's cabin with centerline double, small seat, hanging locker, and access to the large forward head with stall shower. Aft under the cockpit is a very usable double cabin, which owes its volume largely to the companionway being set forward. Also, carrying the beam aft helps to provide room outboard of the cockpit well, though if it's badly done it can create handling problems when the boat heels. We didn't notice any on this boat.

In fact, under sail the Sabre 452 was everything you'd expect of a Jim Taylor-designed hull. The steering, from balance rudder to carbon-fiber stock to Edson system, was smooth and light, and a real mainsail (with roach and battens) provided power. The consensus was that this was one of the year's best-sailing boats. Those few that performed better were more obviously intended for competition and were grouped together in our Cruiser/Racer division.

The 6 feet 6 inches of headroom are well contained in a trim profile that doesn't resort to excessive freeboard. A steep bow lends an aggressive look to the hull, which should warn off most nearby skippers who might wish to engage in a little one-on-one.

Often, a builder will get the big picture right but fall down on the details. This isn't the case here. While peering into the lazarette, where many electrical and plumbing details are brought to tidy conclusions, one judge said, "Everything is done right, even the awkward little jobs." Most visible are the well-labeled through-hull fittings and their seacocks, all located conveniently for inspection and maintainance.

In this category, Sabre still sets the standard of quality.


Sabre Yachts Corporation has been crafting sail and motor yachts for over 27 years and has built over 2,000 hulls to date. Sabre currently builds three sailboat models from 36 to 45 feet in length using the Sabreline name. Sabre sail and motor yachts are sold worldwide, through a network of competent, professional dealers who are chosen for their reputation, location, and visibility within a local market and for the quality of their sales and after sales service.

Sabre's manufacturing facilities are located approximately 25 miles north of Portland, and a little over two hours from Boston. In the main, 65,000 square foot facility in South Casco, 120 Associates build all sailboat models as well as the Sabreline 34's and 36's. At a nearby site in Raymond, an additional 30 Associates build the Sabreline 43 and 47 motoryachts.

In 1991, Sabre acquired North End Marine of Rockland, Maine, a major builder of marine molds and production fiberglass parts. The company's name was changed to North End Composites in 1996 and it has since diversified into industrial, commercial and architectural composite construction while maintaining an active presence in the marine mold making and part production business, for Sabre as well as for other boat builders. North End Composites is the proud builder of Cray Valley, the successful Around the World Alone, Open 50 Class II racing yacht.

The Sabre story began in 1970, when the company's founder, Roger Hewson, set out to build the finest possible 28-foot sailing yacht using production line methods and fiberglass technology. In a small, 4,000 square foot building, with a handful of employees and a vast amount of market research which he had done on the marine industry, he designed and built the first Sabre 28, and introduced it to the market at the 1971 Newport Boat Show in Newport, RI. The boat was a success, and over the next fifteen years, 588 Sabre 28's were built. The 28 was followed by the Sabre 34 in 1976, the Sabre 30 in 1979, the Sabre 38 in 1981 and the Sabre 34 and 36 in 1984. The Sabre 42, which later evolved into the Sabre 425, was introduced in 1986.

Through the years Sabre has listened carefully to it's owners and dealers, and has constantly refined each product with a Model Year Improvement program. Regular client surveys, participation in owner's associations, and an annual owner's reunion have allowed Sabre to remain abreast of the market and in touch with existing and prospective customer's needs.

Sabre is very proud of the success of the current sailboat range in Cruising World Magazine's Boat of the Year Award. These Jim Taylor/Sabre Design Team collaborations have each won awards in the prestigious contest. The Sabre 362 won for the Best Mid-size Cruiser in 1994. The Sabre 402 was elected both the Mid-size Cruiser and the Overall Boat of the Year in 1997 and now the Sabre 452, their latest offering, has been chosen as the best Full Size Cruiser (41 -47 feet) in 1999.


This review/article originally appeared in Cruising World Magazine, March 1999. For more great sailboat reviews, visit their website at:


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