When the folks at Sabre Yachts decided to replace their previous 45-footer—the 452, which was launched over a decade ago—with the new Sabre 456, they did so at the urging of many satisfied Sabre owners who were ready to move up to a bigger boat. Early indications prove that the requests weren’t just idle chatter. After all, the four sailors who placed orders for the 456 in Annapolis last fall had already owned Sabres ranging from 38 to 42 feet. However, even they may be surprised to find how substantial and seaworthy their new yachts will seem in comparison with their former vessels.
Below decks, there have been a couple of major alterations, in the accommodations and systems departments, and a few minor but subtle and attractive changes in the aesthetics of the boat. First, in the forward owner’s stateroom, the builders have added a huge queen-size island double berth by sliding the berth aft and rearranging the furniture and lockers, which has also increased the overall storage. The second stateroom, aft to starboard, now features a double that also accommodates a queen-size bunk.
Next—and this goes directly to the boat’s offshore capabilities—the deep sail locker to port and just aft of the L-shaped galley (with its cool drawer-style stainless-steel fridge) has been reconfigured into a “mechanical room” that houses the generator, freezer, hot-water tank, air-conditioning compressor, and other systems. There’s still room for sails and spare parts, as well, but any sailor with long-range ambitions will be pleased to discover this well-reasoned dedicated space—accessible through a door in the galley—where the inner workings of these various systems lie readily at hand.
Aesthetically, the look of the interior has been made over with the simple but handsome additions of shoji screens on the cabinets above the settees and on the sliding passageway to the forward cabin. As is often the case, little tweaks like these can go a long way.
Topside, Sabre has switched to a full Harken hardware package and a Seldén three-spreader aluminum mast. The double-ended mainsheet system, inspired by a German Admiral’s Cup raceboat and specified by the owner of hull number one, is so nifty and efficient that all four subsequent owners have gone the same route. With a pair of winches situated well aft to either side of the big, destroyer-style wheel (one electric, but with controls to port and starboard), the helmsman can quickly and easily trim the mainsail, without assistance, at all times. And with its inboard shrouds and chainplates, which promote tighter headsail sheeting angles, the 456 should be a rocket upwind.
As the former keel molds were no longer available, designer Jim Taylor has reshaped the appendage into what might be described as a “flat-bottomed torpedo” that’s a little heavier than the foil on the old 452. But because Sabre hulls and decks are now resin infused—using about 10 percent less resin than before—the all-up displacement is about the same, and the added weight—low, in the keel—should also advance stability and performance.
The new Sabre 456 isn’t quite what it used to be. As it turns out, for all concerned, that’s a very good thing.
LOA 45′ 6″ (13.8 m.)
LWL 38′ 4″ (11.7 m.)
Beam 14′ 1″ (4.3 m.)
Draft 5′ 6″ (2.7 m.)
Sail Area 1,043 sq. ft. (97 sq. m.)
Ballast 10,850 lb. (4,921 kg.)
Displacement 27,150 lb. (12,315 kg.)
Water 200 gal. (750 l.)
Fuel 100 gal. (375 l.)
Holding 45 gal. (206 l.)
Mast Height 65′ 00″ (19.81 m.)
Engine Volvo Penta D4-180
Designer Jim Taylor