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Old 20-09-2010, 14:24   #1
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Sabre 426 - User Reviews Needed !

Hello,

I have a friend looking to buy a Sabre 426 for mostly coastal cruising and the occasional bluewater adventure. I'm looking for user reviews of this particular boat (and am not looking to be convinced to buy your type of boat instead!).

If you have sailed on a Sabre 426 I would be very interested in your thoughts! And if you own a Sabre 426 then I would absolutely kill for your thoughts. Can you provide us your brutally honest user review?

They look great on paper, they look great in person, but how do they sail? Any quirks that you noticed? Anything to look for in terms of build quality or construction through the survey process? Suggestions for how to make the boat better? These would be very valuable tips.

Thank you cruiser forums! Have a sunny sailing day...
3eagles
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Old 20-09-2010, 16:19   #2
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Location: Brooklin, Maine U.S.A
Boat: Allures 44
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3 Eagles,

We bought ours used, a 2004 with shoal draft. All boats are tradeoffs, and ours is no exception, but it has met our expectations and more. Our priorities? A boat that's a joy to sail, well built, and a pleasant place to spend time while anchored in beautiful places. We sail as a family of four, with two younger children, and my parents also sail the boat by themselves (they are in their early 70s but physically fit). We also looked hard at the Tartan 4100, which had the edge in terms of affordability and stowage space. We chose the Sabre because my wife much preferred the interior aesthetics, and I preferred the upwind sailing qualities.

The helm is balanced, and it loves to go upwind and close reach. We carry a 135% jib and throw in the first reef at about 15-17 kts true, then roll in some jib by 20 kts. We also carry a 90% blade job for heavy air, like in the Bahamas. We've rigged the main to reef from the cockpit, and the main is rigged with the Dutchman system, which flakes the sail on the boom amazingly well. Off the wind we launch the cruising spinnaker with a snuffer (at least I do - my parents don't). Don't get me wrong, it's not a J-133; it's a still a cruising boat. Still, the PHRF rating is the same as a J42, and it seems like we usually sail when many other boats choose to power, because we enjoy it. Let's see, other deck equipment that's desirable? The adjustable backstay is helpful, of course, and the cockpit adjustable genoa cars are super handy. We also have electric main winches - not essential if you're physically fit, but my parents really like them.

Systems are largely high quality and well designed. Wiring, plumbing, through hulls, engine installation, winches, windless, hatches... all well done. Of course the joinery is excellent. I'll tell you the exceptions, so you know what to look for. The wing keel is beautiful, and it gives amazing upwind ability for a boat of this size with only 5'3" draft, but there is a downside. It definitely snags the lobster pot and crab warps, so you need to sail around them carefully. No problems with the hull or rudder, except that the epoxy seal at the leading and trailing edges of the keel - where it joins the hull, are constantly developing a hairline crack that requires a dab of epoxy and paint. Cosmetic, really. The 12 gal. Force 10 water heater is junk. The aluminum tank was corroded and useless after 4 years of use. We replaced it with a smaller (5 gal.) Isotemp. It's quicker to heat up, and it holds heat much longer. The TankWatch 4 holding tank monitor is useless, since we run salt water through the head, creating salt/urea deposits, and these clog the monitor's floats. We replaced it with a Fireboy unit that senses air pressure and is (hopefully) less prone to failure (and now we run vinegar through the head periodically). The dishrack drain is not well conceived - there's a lip on the fitting, so a little water remains trapped under the grate and invites mildew. I need to redesign this. Speaking of design flaws, the port water tank needs to be turned off when sailing, otherwise it gravity flows through the manual water pump at the galley sink, fills the sink, and floods the galley. What else? The boat is dry, except for a tiny weep down each of the chain plates during heavy seas or heavy rain - maybe a few drops an hour, though it's hard to tell whether this is condensation or actually leakage. You get some water down the mast, of course, into the bilge sump. The sail locker and stern locker hatches could be better sealed. I always get a little water when washing down with a high pressure hose (usually not under way, but then I've never blue water into the cockpit except over the bow and washing down the deck). I intend to improve the gasket seals and latch. Of course, we've had our share of crapped out Jabcso and Rule pumps and so forth. And our entire Raymarine suite was wiped out when lightening hit a neighboring boat at a marine and jumped aboard us, as well (I never did find any physical damage except for the electronics). Fortunately, our insurance company came through for us. One final gripe - the beautiful main salon table is wonderful, but the folding legs don't secure well enough to the underside. We've modified the hinge brackets for a more secure attachment.

Equipment we've added: KATO davits - they work well. I probably wouldn't have installed these just for me and my family, but for my parents they're great, since it means they don't have to lift the dinghy onto the foredeck. It's certainly faster and quieter than towing the dink, and there's nothing on the deck blocking the view of those lobster pots.! Solar panels - I installed 3 panels with 216 watts on the bimini, wired to a Blue Sky Solar Boost (via 12 gauge above deck and 2 gauge below) and thence via the Link 10 monitor. Yeah, I know, this and the davits add some weight in the wrong places, but the panels are visually unobtrusive. Moreover, the main thing for your friends to know is that we can leave the boat on the anchor or mooring indefinitely with the Seafrost 12V fridge running. Sabre has done a pretty good job of insulating this fridge box, and the foam coring in the hull probably helps, too. In Maine waters the fridge demands about 30-40 amp/hrs a day, and more like 50-60 amp hours down in Southern New England / L.I. Sound. One thing we did modify on our fridge - we ran a duct to draw fresh air for the Sea Frost from the cabin, behind the microwave, instead of the sail locker. Sabre can tell you how to do this. It seems to help the condenser's efficiency somewhat, since it avoid recirculating the warm, discharged air. With all LED bulbs installed for lighting, we almost never run the engine for charging, except for long sails in the rain with autopilot, radar, etc.

Oh, one more thing. Sabre designs their anchor roller for a 45 lb CQR, which looks pretty on the bow. I like to sleep at night, though, so we got rid of the CQR and put a 25Kg Rocna up there, with 55 ft HT chain and then nylon (100 ft chain in the Bahamas).

Maybe that's too long a post for many readers, but Cruiser's Forum has given me so much over the last couple years, and now I finally have something to offer in return. I could write much more, but it's probably easier if you ask particular questions.
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Old 21-09-2010, 11:24   #3
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cfarrar, thank you so much for your detailed response. This is exactly what we were looking for - you can consider your debt paid to cruisersforum!

I've sent your comments to the person looking to buy the boat. Would you happen to know anything about the difference between the 2003 models and newer? It appears that the engines switched to a Yanmar, the mast height increased and a couple other modifications were made. Any thoughts on the 2003 models and if he should buy one of those (there are currently three available on Yachtworld, but also some newer versions).

Also, do you have a genset on board and if so, how large is it and where did you install it? Is it easy to access and how have you found the noise inside the salon? I personally hated my genset and agree that solar is the way to go (nice job with your installation!), but sometimes they are unavoidable with the systems these days...

Have you found Sabre to be responsive to owner questions and how have they handled second hand sale concerns?

Lastly, do you find it necessary to have a Navigation Table with chartplotter? There are some versions available without a full Nav Table and a plotter (and include an extra head instead). Thoughts on that?

Thanks again. We really appreciate your reply and are happy to hear you are so pleased with your boat . The problems you listed seem pretty typical for a cruising boat - nothing serious. And from the looks of the image online you got down to the Caribbean - looks nice! Wish I was there now (well, maybe after hurricane season)!

Thanks again,
Seth (3Eagles)
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Old 21-09-2010, 12:24   #4
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Boat: Allures 44
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3 Eagles,

Let's see, to answer your questions. I don't know about changes after 2003, but I am sure Sabre would be happy to answer your friend. Yes, the Westerbeke used to be standard, with the Yanmar as an option. Now the Yanmar is standard. I would be surprised if the mast height was different, but maybe.

We do not have a genset. The only logical place would be the starboard cockpit sail locker. It would fit, but I'd hate to give clutter up that space. Like I wrote before, I prefer solar. Six weeks of cruising in Maine this summer, and I probably ran the Yanmar for a total of 1 hour on the anchor, after several days of fog and rain, autpilot and radar use, and kids watching movies. Otherwise the solar panels, plus standard engine use while underway, kept the batteries up.

Glenn Chaplin at Sabre is great. I have contacted him for information, advice, schematics, etc. Of course, they're really not in the business of facilitating second hand sales - you'll need to look closely yourself and get a surveyor - but they will answer any technical questions about their boats.

I've seen the Sabre 426 layout with the second head. I believe it is less common. Here are my thoughts. On rare occasions it would be nice to have a head that is aft, close to the companionway. On our boat when you need to use the head in rough seas, you must transit forward across the main salon, holding onto the handrails above either settee, then take care of your business on a seat that's about 2 feet forward of the mast. It's not very difficult, but there is more motion than there would be in a head opposite the galley. On the other hand, I would definitely not trade our layout. First, the nav table is a really useful, well designed station. It has great storage in the side drawers for tools, cabin supplies, and all the odds and ends that you want to keep in a central location, handy to the navigator, the cook, or the cockpit. It's a great navigation station, and at anchor it's also a comfortable, spacious workstation for your laptop, reading, whatever. The nav table is also useful as an extra counter top for preparing dinner, when you have an extra cook in the galley. You can place a the large cutting board from the stove on it. I also use it as a workbench, with a cutting board and a blanket for protection. Finally, the forward facing seat, with the open vista across the table, makes the entire salon feel spacious and social. You can sit at the nav table and talk with whomever is on the settees or in the galley. Oh, and I would prefer not to clean two heads (I keep spare motors and parts for our one toilet and macerator, and we've never been without a head for more than a few hours).

Our boat has a couple of other differences that the original owner specified from Sabre. I like them all.
1) In the aft cabin we have a plain wooden vanity top instead of a vanity sink, with an extra storage shelf below instead of the plumbing.
2) We do not have the privacy door between the main salon and the passageway outside the head (designed so persons can transit from the forward cabin to the head without being seen by anyone in the main salon). This results in a cleaner layout, with easier access to the closets outboard. I don't mind being seen in my boxers by my shipmates, anyway, though maybe they do....
3) We have an extra large garbage can door, sized for a standard large kitchen garbage can. Very handy.

The pictures with the nice looking water is the Bahamas in 2008.
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