This handsome 46-footer, drawn in the New England tradition, shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, Sabre Yachts, the boat’s creator, makes its home in South Casco, Maine. More to the point, though, is how enduring this style has been, how readily it attracts new fans and buyers, and how well it fills the requirements of a diverse universe of yachtsmen.
Although the styling draws heavily on traditional New England lobster boats and bass (as in striped bass) boats, the underbody and general arrangement plan reflect current thinking. The 46X rides on a modern V-shape bottom, a moderate version of the deep-V pioneered by C. Raymond Hunt in about 1960. Chine flats provide stability when the boat is at rest or under slow way and, along with strakes, add lift. This type of hull tracks well, rides smoothly, and runs economically.
For a handful of years, Sabre has championed the advantages of pod drives. These units, the company expects, will give the 46X remarkable maneuverability at displacement speeds, provide exceptional response to steering inputs at planing speeds, and be fast and economical in operation. Maybe more important to the buyer and his family, pod drives, with engines located a short distance forward of the transom, permit Sabre to give the 46X the sort of accommodations you’d be happy to see in a boat of 50 feet, or more. The standard layout has a large stateroom forward, the master stateroom amidships, and a utility room/ workshop under the pilothouse. The optional layout exchanges the workshop for captain’s quarters, accessed from the cockpit. The seating arrangement in the house and cockpit promote the easy mingling of guests when the owners entertain at the slip or on the hook. The cockpit sole is only a single step down from the pilothouse.
Anyone who has followed trends in the exterior styling of motoryachts during the past 25 years will understand the need of designers and builders to create a “different” look. Significant changes in style give buyers a very good reason—other than moving up in size—to trade their current yacht for the newest model. As each new style succeeds in the marketplace, boats begin to look very much alike, until the next new look comes along. Why then, you may ask, does this New England style continue to draw buyers?
Like Colonial architecture, which is a conservative, straightforward approach to designing houses that represents staying power, traditional boats make buyers feel that they are getting lasting quality. And even though this styling only hints at the look of real workboats, that’s enough to suggest a shared seaworthiness. The sheerline of the 46X, for example, though it has a lovely subtle spring, may just as well be dead straight when you compare it to the sheer of a true lobster boat.
The pilothouse, on the other hand, holds truer to workboat tradition. The windshield is flat and only slightly raked; the side windows are flat and tall. At the after end of the house, elegant curves in the structure, matched by the curvature of the safety rail, soften the 46X’s appearance, establishing it as a pleasure boat. The longish trunk cabin, too, has softer lines than anything you’ll see on a workboat, or even 1950s iterations of the New England style. More important than a styling exercise, the trunk cabin’s length extends standing headroom in the accommodations forward of the house.
Sabre embarked on the design of the 46X in response to its customers wishes, so she’s likely to gather her fair share of fans—and her appearance, spacious accommodations, and sprightly performance promise to reward those who buy.
Power: 2 x 550-hp Cummins QSC8.3 diesels linked to Zeus pod drives
Fuel: 525 gal.
Water: 170 gal.
Sabre Yachts, (207) 655-3831; www.sabreyachts.com