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seaparrot 11-05-2012 02:47 PM

Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
We're down to two boats from our list of prospects: a Bristol 29.9 and Sabre 30 (Series 1). I think, for a variety of reasons, that the Sabre is probably the wiser financial move, and I think she might fit our needs very well too.

I'm about a hair off from making an offer. So quick ... tell me why I am a nut and should not buy a Sabre 30 to be our first family boat ...

Our plans are to sail the Chesapeake weekends and weeks. I want to work up to taking longer trips along the East Coast and ICW. If I can get the time off, I hope we can eventually get down the Caribbean. Besides these sailing goals, our big reason for wanting to get the boat now is that we want to travel with our son. So this would be the boat our little fellow would learn to sail. Needless to say, my husband and I will be doing a fair amount of single-handing, since we have to keep one eye on the baby.

BTW, one side question, on engines: the Bristol has an old Universal (16 HP), while the Sabre's original engine was replaced by a relatively new Yanmar (30 HP). Is there any reason not to prefer the newer, more powerful Yanmar? Can the engine be too "big"?

chef2sail 11-05-2012 03:14 PM

Re: Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
Two different types of boats. Sabre is a well made cruiser which is also a good performance and sailing boat. Very responsive and will go into the wind at a much closer angle than the Bristol. bristol is also a very well made boat, more of a cruiser. Sabre displacement 8800 lbs...sail area 432, Bristol Sabre newer 30 hp Yanmar...Bristol 15 hp Universal. 30 hp yanmar is certainly not to big for the Sabre at all. Thats a big difference the newer engine if the boats are in the same condition otherwise.

For me all else equal....the Sabre is the choice.


seaparrot 11-05-2012 03:33 PM

Re: Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
Admittedly, cruising, not speed, is more important to us. Which is why it does pain a bit pass over Bristol. She's closer to what I originally pictured. (Also the Bristol has some gorgeous wood inside!) However, it strikes me that the Sabre could be a lot of fun to sail (esp. in lighter wind?) and would still make a good cruiser.

If the Sabre is in any way too "light" for what I am proposing (extended traveling off the coast), of course that might cause us to pause.

SloopJonB 11-05-2012 03:45 PM

Re: Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
Assuming they are in reasonably similar condition, buy the one that gladdens your heart more. Both boats are known to be good quality and they are similar sizes so the "lightness" factor isn't really a factor.

Sailboats are essentially an emotion purchase - there isn't a whole lot of logic in owning one. :)

Edit: The Sabre is about 1/2 minute a mile faster by PHRF rating - that's a lot for two 30 footers.

misfits 11-05-2012 04:18 PM

Re: Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
Based upon how you're planning to use her, I'd go for the Sabre but be sure to check for Sabre Rot. Bottom of bulkheads, compression post support in the bilge. Take a hard look at the structural beam & be sure the head doors can close.

I'm surprised there's such a large HP motor in her, the 28' & 30's had 13-15 HP.

chuck53 11-05-2012 04:32 PM

Re: Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
The newer Yanmar is tempting, but agree it's a fair amount of HP, way more than most 30 footers. More than I have in my 34'
Is it too big...I'm not qualified to answer, but I'm guessing no.

SloopJonB 11-05-2012 05:00 PM

Re: Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
There's no such thing as too much horsepower - just ask any hot rodder. :D

Seriously though, as long as the bigger engine doesn't rob valuable space, it should only affect your fuel consumption a bit and on a sailboat that ain't exactly a major factor.

Keep in mind that big alternators can place a MAJOR drag on a small engine.

Faster 11-05-2012 05:14 PM

Re: Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
We have 40+ hp on a 11,000 pound 34 footer.. more than most but it's good to have the reserve sometimes, esp in choppy headwinds.

kd3pc 11-05-2012 05:54 PM

Re: Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
In a word,


but as others have mentioned make sure she is solid, and of course a survey...

I am biased, having owned a Sabre 38, an awesome boat in every way.

4arch 11-05-2012 06:15 PM

Re: Quick! Talk me out of Purchasing a Sabre 30!
Not to throw a wrench into the works, but have you considered the Lippincott 30? I know I'm biased, but we chose it over a Bristol 29.9 with similar needs to yours. It has a similar nice wood interior to the Bristol with performance characteristics more in line with the Sabre.

Ultimately these 70s/80s production 30 footers are probably more similar than they are different so it's just a matter of choosing the one that you'll have the most fun sailing and will be the most comfortable to live aboard. On a lot of them they skimped either on the length of the v-berth or the width of the double berth in the salon, so be sure to test out whichever berth you plan to use regularly.

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