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Old 12-10-2010, 13:34   #1
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Sabre 42 - Any Thoughts vs IP 35 and 38 ?

I have been narrowing down to IP35 and 38s, we are a couple heading out for two years to the Caribbean and the second year across the Atlantic and back with the ARC. I went on my brokers Sabre 34 Sunday and liked the build quality. I happened to see a Sabre 42 for sale in the same price range as the IP 35 and 38s I've seen. The Sabre is the shallow draft edition and the space and layout seem very comparable to the IP38. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts on comparing these boats or just general thoughts on the Sabre 42. I believe the Sabre may sail a little better in lighter winds and the 42 looks like it is big enough to get over some of the light tankage issues of smaller Sabres. Thanks for your thoughts!

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Old 12-10-2010, 14:57   #2
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We love our Sabre 42. I haven't sailed an IP, but I like the concept. Still, they are quite different boats, with a wide selection of other boats between them. It's likely that one of them is a better fit for your tastes and priorities.

Comparing Sabres and IPs of a similar displacement (ie, the IP 38 and Sabre 42), these boats still have different hull shapes, waterline length, foils, mast height, rig design, etc. They're both well-built boats, so if you prefer the Sabre it's likely because of its sailing characteristics. On the other hand, the Sabre's wing keel and spade rudder are not bullet proof, and it's probably more sensitive to weight in the bow and stern. It also has less tankage. As for the aesthetics, it's personal preference.

The Sabre 34 won't give you a very good sense of what it's like to sail a Sabre 42, so it might help to sail the Sabre. Also, reading reviews might help you decide which boat best fits your priorities and tastes. If you like the Sabre then maybe take a look at similar boats, too, like a Tartan? If you like the IP, maybe a Caliber?

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Old 12-10-2010, 15:22   #3
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Cfarrar- Thanks for your comments and I would definitely like to get more of your thoughts on your 42. Have you done must extended cruising on it or mostly coastal? How does it handle the rolls at anchorage? I know they are very different hulls and keels. I would imagine the IP would handle tracking on course easier and the Sabre would turn and point much better. The tankage issue was why I was looking at the 42 which seems to overcome some of the shorter Sabre's issues there. I've read a lot of reviews on the IPs, but couldn't really find them on the 42, may be looking in the wrong place. Any further thoughts on the 42 as a liveaboard cruiser would be great!
Have a great night!
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Old 12-10-2010, 15:40   #4
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They are both good boats. It will depend on your sailing style.
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Old 12-10-2010, 15:52   #5
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About ten years ago, when we were a family of four, I owned a 1987 Sabre 42 and loved it. You can read about our trip to the Bahamas here


The boat was sold due to divorce and a child going to college.

Some issues have been resolved and now I own a 1990 Caliber 38, which I also think is a great boat. The Sabre was on my shopping list this time around, but I couldn't afford it.

For my plans this time around, the extra water tankage and fuel make the Caliber the better choice.

The Sabre pointed better than my Caliber, but not so much that it would make a difference if you aren't trying to race around the buoys. Maybe the SAbre is somewhat faster as well, but if you aren't racing then who cares; the difference could only be a few tenths of a knot.

Furthermore, when I have the sails trimmed correctly, my Caliber has LEGS!

Tough choice: It's a matter of personal preferences and budget.
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Old 12-10-2010, 16:10   #6
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Sabre is a racer/cruiser; Island Packet is not a racer. For long distance cruising, the IP would carry more fuel and water. Remember that fuel and water is heavy - for example, with full tanks, I carry about 4000 pounds of water and diesel. The Sabre's sailing design could not carry this weight without slowing way down.
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Old 12-10-2010, 17:04   #7
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Somebody's going to end up mad at me but my honest opinion is that the Sabre is a much better choice. In the interest of full disclosure, I have never sailed on an IP and am speaking from second hand knowledge. I base my experience on discussions with others who have and what I have read about them

In my opinion, the IP's chief virtues are that they are built very heavy and have relatively large accommodations below. On the negative side, they are sluggish and are not known for their sailing characteristics, although they are considered to be safe because of their solid build. I think they are boxy looking but others love their looks.

The Sabre is not built quite as heavily but is also very well built. However, it is a far better and far faster sailer. For example, the IP 35 is rated about 185 and the Sabre is rated around 96. What this means is that the Sabre will sail a mile in about a minute and a half less time than the IP 35. This will really add up over a long passage. It will point higher and be a much better all around performer. You could even do some ocean or beer can races on the Sabre. IPs are not good racers as they are hard to race even to their high ratings.

As a further disclosure, I love blue water cruisers but I would prefer a boat that also performs a little better, such as a Sabre, Tartan, Hallberg Rassy, Najad or even an old Swan. Sorry IP owners, who I know are very loyal and love their boats. It all depends on what your priorities are. Speed and performance may be second to weight and space below, which I would entirely understand and respect.
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Old 12-10-2010, 17:11   #8
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If you want to live on your boat in a marina and motor from place to place, the IP is the boat for you. If you love the feel of a good sailing boat, go with the Sabre.
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Old 12-10-2010, 17:15   #9
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In response to your questions:

We cruise as a family of four (7 and 9 year old) during the summers - coastal cruising and overnights from Cape Cod to Maine. My parents did a 10-month cruise: Maine - ICW - Bahamas - Maine. They found the boat plenty comfortable for a cruising couple. They carried large stores of food, dive gear and 4 tanks, many tools and spares, etc. With 120 gallons of water (no watermaker), they watered via 6 gallon jugs in the dinghy. They didn't need much diesel in the Bahamas (plenty of wind and solar panels on the bimini).

Does it roll at anchorage? No more than other boats its size, I guess. It's not exceptional in that respect.

I'm not sure about an IP "tracking" easier. I suppose a heavier displacement-to-length boat has some stability advantages, if that's what you mean. Still, the Sabre does not get its stability from a beamy, high volume hull, and it's quite comfortable in chop or big swells. Compared with an IP 38 the Sabre has finer entry fore and aft, a big balanced rudder, more waterline.... so I would guess that it sails as well or better in the majority of conditions you'll face, unless you want to heave to and go below.

We all have our preferences. My wife and I grew up racing dinghies and small keelboats, so we're partial to a nice sailing boat with a pointy bow. However, we meet plenty of Island Packet owners who love their boats, too!

Here's a link to another post I made a few weeks ago about the Sabre 426.

Sabre 426 - User Reviews Needed !
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Old 13-10-2010, 07:55   #10
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Kestrelbuck- checked out the website and it sounds like you had a fabulous trip! Sorry to hear about how things turned out but it seems like things are going much better and glad to hear you are enjoying your Caliber, I've heard a lot of good things about them.
Thanks for all of the other great posts and information, I also checked out your review cfarrar, thanks for posting that.
CBinRI- thanks for your honest assessment, that is the kind of feedback that I need
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Old 17-10-2010, 09:21   #11
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lawdawg: We too had been looking at the IP's, but have settled on a Passport 40 or something similar in design for a West Coast version of your planned voyage. I often refer to Ted Brewer's "Comfort Ratio" calc to get an idea of the sailing/cruising characteristic of a particular boat.

Motion Comfort Ratio

Just ran the IP 38 and it came in at 32.52. The IP 380 is 30.21. The Sabre 42 is 25.43, although there appears to have been several different models and hull forms over the years.

The Passport 40 is 33.03

According to Brewer, the higher the number, the better the motion under way. We had an IP salesman tell us that "displacement was our friend" but it would appear that too much beam will upset the ration a bit.

We recently got into an unofficial tacking dual with an IP 44 going to weather to get back into port. Wind was about 12-15 kts with fairly short choppy seas. Neither boat had reefed and the IP had a staysail as well. Our Columbia 28 has been significantly modified to singlehand to Hawaii and as such is pretty stiff. She has a comfort ratio of 32.17 and a different under body (fin keel, spade rudder) than the IP but we pointed much higher, never put the rail under and got into the West Basin at San Pedro about 20 minutes ahead of the IP.

So much for displacement being our friend. Having said that, we don't want a light displacement boat either. We've been trying to find the balance between performance and comfort (who isn't ?). Anyway, we've decided too much beam will really hurt performance and once you're into the 40 foot range, the interior volume will still be okay.

There are obviously tons of other factors to consider, but thought you might find our experience helpful.
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Old 17-10-2010, 10:20   #12
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When I run my Sabre in the calculator I get a 32.5. Still, the formula is obviously simplistic and does not account for the subtleties of hull shape.
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Old 17-10-2010, 10:33   #13
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My boat is 23.58 and is a comfortable as a babys bassinet in a park on a summers day. So anything more should be fine

I love these calculators!
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Old 17-10-2010, 13:36   #14
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I'll open this reply by saying that I am no expert on the IPs or Sabers, but I have looked at a few in the last year, all in the 38-44 foot range. Based on the boats we looked at, the IPs seemed to hold up better than the Sabers of similar age and seemed to have a better quality build. Obviously the quality of a used boat is largely dependent on the care and maintenance, but the materials used in the Sabers were certainly inferior to the IPs - one example is where laminates were used in the galley and heads. The Saber laminate was seperating from the wood on more than one boat, and laminates were used often where IPs used solid wood. Unfortunately I cannot recall all the details that helped form the opinion, but I definitely saw a higher quality build in the IPs. Haven't sailed either yet so I don't know the tradeoffs from that perspective.
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Old 18-10-2010, 04:28   #15
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I have no knowledge of Sabres, but we looked at an IP 35 and sea trialed it in conditions that went from slightly breezy to really snotty- choppy, confused seas, winds at 25-30 knots and pissing down rain. The IP just kept her course and wallowed happily. The husband had to admit that the IP pointed much, much better than he expected (can't remeber the numbers). In crap weather with flukey wind and a less than elegant sail trim we were chugging along at 6.8 and doing it comfortably. Fit and finish is what you would expect from IP-solid.

If speed is your first criteria, this might not be the boat for you. I might ask you if speed is your first criteria why you are buying a sailboat and not a power boat but nevermind. I think it depends on what you are planning on doing with the boat. Cruising or living aboard in comfort? Good choice. Weekend racer? Others will make you happier.

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