Sabre Spirit: A Spirited Daysailer
Maybe the boss has decided to reward me for all my year of service at Cruising World by sending me on fun assignments. This one was certainly a pleasure. "Take the day and go match race the brand new Sabre Spirit in Marblehead, Massachusetts," he said. "Try not to crash into the other boat."
Sabres are built in Maine and designed by Jim Taylor who not only has a reputation for drawing good-looking boats but boats that are well-behaved, as well. The Spirit is nearly 37 feet long with a six-foot seven-inch deep fin keel and a high-aspect balanced spade rudder. A big main and a self-tacking, fractional 100 percent jib are hung on a carbon-fiber mast from Hall Spars that's stepped on the keel. A low house compliments the hull lines and keeps the boat looking sleek even though there's full headroom below. Typical of the new breed of daysailers, the Spirit has a large cockpit-10-feet long-and weekend accommodations for two below.
|The boat we sailed is so new they haven't even unwrapped the cushions yet. That's a nav table off to port of the carbon mast.|
The interior woodwork is satin-finished in gorgeous cherry with a teak and holly sole. A small galley to port of the companionway is opposite a walk-in head/shower; two settees flank a table aft of the mast and a comfortable V-berth. The lack of a bulkhead between the saloon and the forepeak makes the airy interior seem bigger than it really is.
The purpose of my excursion to Marblehead was to match-race against other magazines for the resurrected Volvo Press Cup trophy (which had been sitting on a dusty shelf at Sailing World for about 17 years). We started out sailing in very light airs that built to about 10 knots by the end of our session. The boat sailed beautifully. It was light on the helm all day, asking only fingertips on the four-foot teak-trimmed wheel to control it. Any boat would have been under-powered when we started and so we were, but the Spirit was still responsive enough to be fun to sail. As the breeze came up and we got out of light-air mode the boat became downright lively-as a refined daysailer should be. With the mainsheet winches either side of the cockpit next to the helmsman and a self tacking jib there was little for the crew to do except enjoy the sunshine and chat.
When the folks from Sabre told us it was time to go in none of us was anxious to comply, least of all designer Taylor who was obviously very happy with his creation.
As we short-tacked through Marblehead's mooring-crowded harbor we talked about the boat's neat touches like the easily-removable stanchions and lifelines and under-deck Furlex jib furler. The boat was so enjoyable to steer that I never did get around to firing up the engine instead opting to sail this nimble little yacht alongside where lunch awaited.
The racing you ask? Well, if I'd won don't you think that would have been at the top of the page? Josh Adams--a former college All American, ex-team racing world champion, and publisher of Sail magazine--beat me in the second of our two matches to take the trophy. But I got him in the first one, and after all, we are Cruising World.
Sabre Spirit designer, Jim Taylor, adds:
"I think the part of the day that I enjoyed the most was short tacking up through the mooring field on the way in for lunch, with Andy putting the helm over whenever he needed to, and the rest of us doing nothing at all,
not even having a break in our conversations. That's what we're really after with the Spirit, being able to go sailing quickly and easily--even singlehanded--in a boat that's responsive, nimble, quick, and fun to sail."
Sabre Spirit Specs
|The halyards and jib sheets are
led back to the winches on the house. Halyard tails are stowed in
the varnished box by the
LWL: 28' 4" (8.64 m.)
Beam: 10' 5" (3.18 m.)
Deep Keel: 6' 7" (2.01 m.)
Wing Keel: 4' 11 1/2" (1.51 m)
Deep Keel: 9,300 lbs. (4,220 kg.)
Wing Keel: 9,920 lbs. (4,500 kg.)
Deep Keel: 3,740 lbs. (1,700 kg.)
Bulb/Wing Keel: 4,360lbs. (1,980 kg.
Total Sail Area: 668 sq. ft. (62.1 sq. m.)
Water: 30 gal. (114 l.)
Fuel: 20 gal. (75.7 l.)
Designer: Jim Taylor
Price: About $275,000
Sabre Yachts, (207) 655-3831, www.sabreyachts.com