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Old 23-04-2010, 07:44   #1
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1987 Sabre 34 as First Boat ?

I'm a new-ish sailor planning to ease into cruising (Great Lakes to start) now that I've recently retired. I'm an engineer with fairly good technical skills. The boat is priced low enough that I can afford some replacements and upgrades.

From my research, Sabres are very solid, well made boats suitable for extended cruising. A survey and assistance from more knowledgeable friends are part of my purchase process. I don't mind doing some work on the boat but I'm not looking for a two-year restoration project. At first inspection all appears to be in good working order.

Two questions:

1) Is there anything inherent in the size or basic design of the boat that makes it a poor choice as a novice's first boat?

2) Any particular concerns with the age of the boat, other than what a survey should reveal?

Thanks!
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Old 23-04-2010, 08:52   #2
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I have no particular knowledge of the boat, only that Sabres are generally well thought of. As a first boat it's probably at the upper end, size wise, but probably ok for you.

My first recommendation is the get a copy of this book:

Amazon.com: Inspecting the Aging Sailboat (The International Marine Sailboat Library) (0639785803447): Don Casey: Books

and plan to spend the better part of a day going through the boat yourself, maybe with the help of a friend or two. If you don't see too many problems after this self-inspection, and the price is right (remember this is a buyer's market) I would make a low offer, subject to survey. Then start looking for the best surveyor in the area, one who can give you comparable sales of that boat recently. Your surveyor should be prepared to go over the boat thoroughly including the engine and sails. Ideally, the survey should be both in the water (including running the engine) and out of the water so the bottom, rudder, prop and shaft etc. can all be inspected.
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Old 23-04-2010, 09:32   #3
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Good advice. Thanks!
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Old 23-04-2010, 21:21   #4
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RB, Sabres enjoy a reputation as being solid, sensibly made, good performance boats. Certainly nothing that would create a problem for a first-time buyer, except they are often pricier than much of the cheaper boats!
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Old 24-04-2010, 15:21   #5
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This may be your first and last boat~ provided it was well maintained, you will love it!
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Old 24-04-2010, 16:14   #6
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Two friends and I chartered a Sabre 34 for a week on the Chesapeake a few years back. It was a great boat. It handled very well, and felt like it could take a lot more than we exposed it to on that particular trip. I'd say go for it.
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Old 24-04-2010, 16:21   #7
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I bought an 86 Sabre 36 new as my second boat and sailed it for 30 years. All the construction, mechanical and electrical systems are first class. Lots of stuff needed maintenance and repair in 30 years but nothing due to shortcoming in the manufacturing.

Have fun with it.
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Old 24-04-2010, 16:29   #8
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Richard-
"86 Sabre 36 new as my second boat and sailed it for 30 years. "
+86
+30
=116

So was that an 1886 model, or have you been using the Wayback Machine to revisit the years when you had the boat? (VBG)
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Old 24-04-2010, 16:33   #9
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Sorry, make that 20 years.
It's hard to hit the right keys after a few Rum and Cokes.
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Old 24-04-2010, 16:38   #10
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Check out the mast step very carefully.
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Old 24-04-2010, 18:34   #11
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I think it's an excellent choice for a first boat. If it's a 1987 model, I assume it's an Mk II. Does the one you're looking at have a keel or a centerboard? Sabre offered both options.
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Old 24-04-2010, 19:48   #12
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Sailing it on ther Great Lakes...I presume you're purchasing it on the GLs and it's a freshwater boat. Lot to be said for both of those things. A 23 year old boat that has been used for 5 mths per year and no saltwater corrosion on top of a well-made domestic boat whose mfr. is still in business. Subject to survey it sounds like a great deal...and, like the man said, could be your last boat.
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Old 25-04-2010, 13:27   #13
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I have had my 34 Sabre for 20 years. the only change I made was a Maxprop that helped under power. I still love the way it sails. D.C.
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Old 25-04-2010, 15:03   #14
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Thanks to all for the supportive comments and good advice.

And to answer a few of the questions: Yes, it's a Great Lakes boat, and the fixed keel version.
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Old 18-01-2012, 05:55   #15
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Hi Curtis,

The Sabre 34 is a great boat, and other than the design flaw of water not having an escape from the base of the mast, she will be a good first boat. Typical signs of this past problem are mold stains on the flooring near the mast, an item that should already be addressed. . These boats have also been raced heavily from my looking so be picky and at your price range, there are plenty to look at.

Also consider a Tartan 34-37, a bit more interior space, and another well accepted model. Based in the GL area, and factory support should be better now with new owners.
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