Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Yeocomico River, VA
Thanked 18 Times in 15 Posts
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I owned a Sabre 28 for 16 years so I'm pretty familiar with the boat. My father owned Catalinas 22, 27, and 30. I worked for 2 Catalina dealers while in High School & College so I know them too.
The Sabre quality of construction, especially in the 80's is exceptional and conservative. Sabre has never trended toward gimmicks which is one reason why the resale prices are comparatively high (we purchased our 28 for 35k and sold it for 25k 16 years later). A new or used Sabre will cost you more but is refurbishing is worth the cost. The 28 interior is beautiful and made almost entirely of solid teak & teak plywood.
The finish of a Sabre excels, the customer service is excellent (even for owners that didn't purchase from Sabre), the design is conservative but not archaic, and the ride is excellent. The World's Best Sailboats (Vol II) by Ferenc Mate profiles Sabre in detail. While he discusses current Sabres, I can say that Sabre takes the idea of design evolution seriously - they are constantly improving each boat, not just each new model.
Catalinas in my view, are good boats, well constructed and largely without gimmicks. The detailing and components are good quality and buyers get quite a bit for the money. There are loads of Cats on the market, so the prices tend to be lower. The Catalina 30 in particular is very popular but IMHO without the tall rig, is a underpowered and had quite a bit of weather helm, so I wonder about the balance. Others may have had better success with sail combinations. Also look seriously at the engine power. My father's Cat 30 had a single cylinder Yanmar and was seriously underpowered at 11Hp (look for something like 2Hp for every 1000lbs).
Good luck with your search.
Sabre 38 "Victoria"