1980's Sabre balsa cored hulls - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 11-03-2010
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1980's Sabre balsa cored hulls

Anyone have some experience with surveys and damage from intrusion on older Sabre hulls? esp 34,36,and 38
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Old 11-08-2010
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AlanGSYS on here is head of the Florida Sabre group and if you PM him should be able to give you a good bit of information the boats
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Old 11-08-2010
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Sabre mast step & chain plates

Like any + 20 year old boat you should check both the mast step and chainplates for water damage on both the SS and hull attachments. There's a very interesting article in the current " Good Old Boat " re a chainplate repair on an early Tartan.
I've looked at a few recently where the current owner's have fixed the mast step. As well member's here have documented their repairs to bulkheads. (check Sabreman's website)
Sabre's are a very attractive boat and on my shortlist to purchase when the time comes. Right now the Mark II version looks to be very expensive especially compared to alternates in the + $100,000 market.
I too would like to see comments on the condition of the hulls.
My guess would be that if well maintained and previously barrier coated the hull should be sound.
They were and are a well made boat and should have stood up well.
Mster
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Old 11-08-2010
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I had a 38 for a few years and no hull problems at all....save scraping 10 years of accumulated paint...much like Sabreman has documented here

the mast step was a different story... it had been rebuilt along with the sole around it just prior to my purchase...IN the midatlantic it can cost several thousand to have it repaired/rebuilt. I was told my whole repair - step and unstep, rebuild and update step, and about 10-12 sq feet of sole to match the rest of the boat was a touch over $4k, dealers cost...but they knew they had to make the repair to sell the boat.

NO bulkhead repairs were needed, nor did I have any leaking in the time I owned the boat, nor did it appear the previous owner did. I did redo the deck seals around them every year, per MaineSails suggestions.

All in all a great boat, and were it not fro getting older and annoying the Ms. getting in and out of the Vberth, we would still own her. Very easy to single hand, and dock.

all the best
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Old 11-08-2010
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Regarding the original posted question, my understanding is that Sabres are cored from the waterline up to increase insulation qualities. I know of no issues on my 38 or any others regarding hull coring. I don't worry about it.

Regarding chainplates, those woes are well documented by myself and others for many boats. Sabres of the 80's & early 90's had a habit of poor drainage around the mast step as kd3pc indicated. Virtually every Sabre that I seen of this vintage has had the problem. Beside the structural issues, it really makes the floor unsightly. I'm sure that our boat had the problem because the PO had an entirely new floor built from teak & holly (no plywood). It must have cost a fortune. In fact, I think that I bought the boat just to have that floor. The repair seemed to comprise opening the mast step up for better drainage and pulling the floor away from the mast. You can see some of the floor in the following link.

VICTORIA (and her mistress)
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Sabre 38 "Victoria"
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Old 11-08-2010
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Sabreman- gorgeous boat!!! you have really taken great care of her
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Old 11-08-2010
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Thank you. When we bought her 5 years ago, she wasn't in bad shape, but all her running rigging and dress canvas needed replacement. Most everything else needed modernization (lifelines, faucets, battery charger, lighting, cushions, Nav, etc.), repair (the bulkheads, parts of the engine, pressure water), or cleanup (acres of mold, 10 years of bottom paint, etc.). I also replaced everything from the transmission to the prop (shaft seal, shaft, cutlass bearing). There was no finish on the wood so I cleaned 21 years of grime and finished it with a combination of gloss and satin varnish. Now we're working on some big ticket stuff; we have a new symmetrical spinnaker, genoa, and a main is coming this winter.

The first week that I had the boat, I got real depressed. But I kept working at the highest priority items over 4 years. Right now it's mostly routine maintenance items.

I'm a huge DIYer, for practicality, cost savings, and to know the boat. I encourage everyone to learn to sew, splice & whip, and basic engine work. The cost savings will be huge and the satisfaction priceless.
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Sabre 38 "Victoria"

Last edited by Sabreman; 11-08-2010 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 11-12-2010
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Sabre 38 vs 402

Hi Sabreman:

Your 38 MK I looks fantastic and you seem to be the right person to talk to about Sabres. You did a great job on your boat. I too am looking to do alot of work to restore a Sabre. I am interested in purchasing an early 90's 38 MK II or a 402. Is there anything I should be careful about when purchasing either boat? I am leaning towards the 402 for the forward facing nav station and the galley seems to be in a better place than the 38 MK II. I am concerned about the spider cracks all over the outside deck of Sabre's and especially near the cockpit area. Does your boat have them also and what have you done to repair them, if any? How old is the standing rigging and what is your recommendation for how many years you can go without changing it? How is the Westerbeke vs the Yanmar? Have you cruised with your boat and how does she handle in heavy seas and was the Motion Comfort ok? One last question I have is on the 38 MK II is I need a shoal draft and it is my understanding that the 38 with the shoal draft is a centerboard. Any issues with the centerboards on the Sabres?

Thanks so much for your advice,

Ray
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Old 11-12-2010
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Rayjanine,
Sabreman is a great guy to get information from and has been incredibly helpful as I am in the midst of buying a Sabre 42, survey next Tuesday. He can give you a much better idea of things, but I have pasted a comment he made to one of my threads, hope he doesn't mind. You also may want to PM Alangsys, who is head of the Florida Sabre group and also the broker I've been using, he owns a Sabre and has been very helpful.

1. Chainplates where they enter the boat and attach to the bulkheads. Pay attention to rotted bulkheads where the bolts enter. Pretty common for Sabres to have delam.

2. Mast step. Many Sabres of this vintage have had clogged drains at the base of the mast. The result can be a compromised mast step and delaminated floor.

3. Lifelines. If not replaced by now, they probably should be since Sabre used coated lifelines. Check for rust stains where they enter the swaged fittings. Since the rest of the standing rigging is new, I suspect that teh lifelines are too.

4. Electrical fittings are not necessarily up to modern standards. But the electrics & electronics look very new.

5. Fresh water fixtures and hoses will probably need replacement. The head may need rebuilding. WM sells Wilcox & Crittendon rebuild kits.

The boat I am looking at is Centerboard and I haven't heard any problems in my research, just have it thoroughly inspected. Personally, I much prefer the centerboard option for the type of cruising I want to do. The mechanics I have spoken to have all had nothing but praise for the Westerbeke engine, they have all said it is very solid and dependable. I only noticed one spider crack on the boat, but Alan had more on his. The key is to have the surveyor make sure it is only surface and not structural, all of his were just aesthetic, which you can fix if you want to. As far as rigging, due to the age of the boat, I don't know if anyone can answer a question about the condition of what is on your boat. The one I am looking at was just upgraded to rod rigging, but again, the key is a good surveyor that will go over all of it and report to you any problems.
Best of luck and hope some of my limited knowledge was useful
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Old 11-12-2010
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First, thank to everyone for the kind comments. This is my "ultimate boat" and I have no intention to go any larger. So I'm intent on maintaining and modernizing the boat over time.

Lawdawg summarized the big things that I found. As with any older boat, regardless of pedigree, stuff will deteriorate and break. That's entropy in action, so expect it. With that said, Sabre has very high quality standards which is why their prices hold over time and why it's worth putting money into the boat. Answers to your questions:

1. You will hear a lot of discussion on the boards regarding stability, motion, etc. but simply put, these are great boats and sail very well. One of the primary reasons that we went up from our 28 to the 38 was to have more weight under us when it blew. Within 6 mos of our purchase we found ourselves transiting the Lower Chesapeake (56nm) on the fringes of Hurricane Wilma in 33 kts sustained and 5' faces. We had 1' of white water over the cabin top at times. The boat was extraordinarily stable. You'll be happy with the motion, but understand that these are generally not light air boats. Mine likes 15+ kts.

2. I have no crazing to speak of. A couple of hairline cracks, but not much. Gelcoat crazing is generally not cause for concern but your surveyor will pay attention to moisture in the area and will give you a better synopsis of the situation. If there is no water intrusion, it's aesthetic (but I'd repair it anyway). You may want to consider a fabric cover for winter (not shrinkwrap) to keep snow and ice from crevices, which can exacerbate crazing.

3. Lots of discussion regarding rigging longevity on SailNet. Ours is original from '84 and we're going to replace it in stages to spread the cost out. We replaced the lifelines this year and probably the uppers next year. If you are comfortable going aloft, you can cut costs by pulling the original rigging and sending it to a rigger for reproduction. Use halyards for temporary stays, remove one side, and have them make 2 copies. PM me if you want the name of the rigger that we used.

4. Westerbeke is a good engine and I have had to do nothing other than maintenance (new FW pump, raw pump, exchanger ends, hoses, starter solenoid, oil changes). Westerbeke is a rebranded engine and their parts are exorbitant so we crossmatch as much as possible (FW pump, filters). As near as I can tell, my W33 is a Mitsubishi sold to Vitus sold to Westerbeke. Or something like that. Yanmar is a fine engine and they sell a lot of them. Parts are cheaper since there are so many.

5. I've had a difficult relationship with my CB. Right now, it won't go down. I think that the problem is that I froze the pivot when I faired the keel last spring. Before that, it wouldn't go up all the way. Make sure that case is cleaned of barnacles each year or it will really hinder movement. When we bought the boat, the end of cable had some meathooks, but that was an easy fix. Make sure not to over-tension the cable when you crank the board up or you'll deform the cockpit hatch to which it's attached. Don't let the CB turn you off. My issues are workable, but I need to dedicate the time to fixing it. Note that the CB is only ~110#. It's not there for righting moment; it's to reduce lateral movement and may increase pointing a little. Our board increases draft to 8' from 4'4"
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Last edited by Sabreman; 11-12-2010 at 11:37 AM.
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