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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum
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  #1  
Old 02-01-2007
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Going decision MAD-Saber Vs Caliber

We are trying to decide between a Sabre 36 and a Caliber 35 as our next family boat ( late 80's or early 90's vintage). We have cruisied in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years and are beside ourselves trying balance the pros and cons. I would love to hear opinions!
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Old 02-01-2007
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They are very different boats.. One should just jump at you and say buy me.

The Sabre is a great all around boat assuming your talking 362. We have a good friend with one and it's a really nice boat and he gets great factory support when he asks. Reasonably quick, good looks etc.. a step up from most production boat IMHO..

The Caliber is more of a cruiser [so I'm betting more tankage], not finished to the same standard, buy not a bad boat by any stretch.

I would just get the one that says buy me... no question
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Old 02-01-2007
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Agree fully - both are great boats! Given my screen name, I'm obviously biased, so I'll go on a Sabre rif..... We've had 2 Sabres over the past 19 years, a 28 and now a 38. Before that, we crewed on a 34. Since I do my own work, I know both the 28 & 38 intimately and can say without reservation that Sabre is constantly improving their construction processes and the boats just get better all the time. We've been in 31kts with short 5' head seas and the boat performed flawlessly. The joinery is flawless and the engineering is sound without being trendy; Sabre is correct when they say "elegant". My wife recently gave me a copy of "The World's Best Sailboats - Vol II" and I was gratified to see Sabre listed, with merit in my opinion. It is true that the boats are different - Caliber is cutter rig and Sabre is sloop. Cutter has its advantages, but I still favor Sabre. The exterior look is better, although it requires a little more maintenance for the teak, I like the interior layout better, and the construction is sound and extraordinarily well done. All in all this is a good dilema - both are great boats and it's a nice problem to have! Good luck!
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Old 02-01-2007
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The Sabre is a better built..

The Sabre is a better built boat than the Caliber. I surveyed two Caliber's about eight years ago and did not buy either. Both myself and my surveyor were both astonished at the poor constructon methods compared to other boats. The Caliber is billed as a solid cruiser but I can assure you the Sabre is a far better built boat and I don't own either brand..
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Old 02-01-2007
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Sabre all the way.

The Sabre is better built and will be a better performer for you. Calibers are fine boats, but they are heavy and not very agile. Most Caliber owners I have met (and I looked hard at the 33 before I bought my current boat) are proud to tell you how much their boat weighs -- as in the more the better. Obviously none of them cared about performance.

You don't say which Sabre 36 because in that general period you're looking at Sabre changed from an older style 36 to the 362. The 362 is a terrific boat, if your budget allows.
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Old 02-02-2007
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I forgot to mention that the ONLY downside that I'm aware of in the older Sabres is a tendency for water around the mast step to backup if the drain at the keel becomes plugged. We looked at 2 34s and both had discoloration on their cabin soles due to water pooling. The 38 that we eventually purchased had the sole replaced (beautiful job) several years earlier and the drain cleaned up. We simply make sure that the bilge is SPOTLESS and remove the bilge boards when we haul for the winter. This way, everything is open and the floor is not at risk. We're three years into this boat and there is NO issue with the mast drain any longer.

By the way, my wife just stopped by and asked why I've been typing so long. After I explained tbann's dilemma, her reply was "Sabre!", then she turned and walked away. She's a direct sort of girl ......
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Old 02-02-2007
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No doubt the sabre is a beautiful boat The only thing that would concern me on a twenty year old cored boat would be the core. Id have to look at that real hard. Im no big fan of cored hulls especially balsa. Not knockin sabre and dont want to debate the realative merits Im fully aware of the bennefits and draw backs just prefer solid laminate.
Mitch theres differant levels of performance if I wanted to go fast I wouldnt owne a sail boat And besides Momma thinks my tractors sexy
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Old 02-02-2007
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You are right to go crazy over this choice but in 20 year old boats, the real choice will come down to the individual vessel unless you want to restrict yourself to looking for one specific model and then try to find one in the condition you want.
If your sailing style is tweaking everything and trying to make the boat go as fast as possible and you want a well built, good looking boat then the Sabre is probably the right boat and it is family friendly but I would absolutely worry about the core before I put my $$ down on one.
On the other hand, if you take longer trips with the family, prefer a more kindly motion to speed, like the flexibility of a cutter rig and don't want to run out of water in remote anchorages, then the Caliber is probably the best choice.
Have you and your spouse been aboard both boats?? My guess is that ultimately it will come down to spouse approval factor so that would be where I'd start! Both nice cruising boats with different attributes.
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Cam said it best.
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We have seen the Caliber but there are very few Sabre's out here in the Pacific Northwest and all the Sabre that are worth buying are out east. Thanks for your input, we have a better start at actually making the decision. We just sold our old boat and want to have another ready to go for this spring and summer.
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