New Boat: Sabre 58 Salon Express

Sabre 58 Salon Express

One thing about the new Sabre 58 Salon Express—just a glance and you know you’re in the presence of New England design sensibility. Maybe it’s the long, portlight-arrayed trunk cabin or the ever-so-subtly upswept sheerline. Or maybe it’s the fine, lofty, deeply flared bow sections, the cutaway forefoot or the angular, swept-back pilothouse. Whatever feature you zero in on, it certainly doesn’t take long to see that the 58 is a proud Down Easter, with a raised-pinky pedigree that, fortuitously enough, sits quite comfortably alongside the hundreds and hundreds of rough-and-tumble lobster boats that work the rocky coast of Maine.

I had a chance to check out the 58 during the Miami boat show earlier this year. And although shelter-in-place directives have so far foiled my plans to actually sea trial the vessel, I suspect that, whenever I’m actually able to get behind the wheel, she’ll perform rather like a boat I delivered from Portland to Rockland, Maine, several years ago—the Sabre 48 Salon Express. And indeed, the 58’s interior is much like the 48’s, except for a couple of significant differences.

For starters, as with her sistership, the 58’s interior proffers wood just about everywhere. Most of the lot (ceiling planks, paneling, cabinetry, doors, trim etc.) is brightly varnished cherry, although the decks are laid with teak and holly (also varnished) and the cabinet drawers are of precisely crafted, dovetailed maple. The layout itself features three staterooms (with three heads) on the lower deck (a full-beam master aft, a VIP forward and a twin guest to starboard in between) and a galley, salon and helm station on the upper.

The ambiance of the entirety is both traditional and yachty. And there’s also a high level of fit and finish, in no small part due to the boatbuilding tradition that’s distinguished the Pine Tree State for virtually all of its long, storied history. The incorporation of raised-panel doors that replicate translucent shoji screens both enliven and brighten the staterooms belowdecks, and sightlines from the upper deck are nearly unlimited. Indeed, thanks to the stainless-steel-framed doors and curved corner windows at the rear, as well as the three expansive windshield panels forward and the tall, lengthy side windows (with a door opening onto the starboard side deck at the helm), the main deck’s bright, vibrant vibe is almost fully circumscribed by glass.

As I noted, there are a couple of ways the new 58 differs from her 48-foot sistership. First, the trunk cabin of the 58 has been shortened somewhat, at least by comparison with the 48’s configuration. And second, the superstructure has been moved further forward.

These changes are subtle, but they afford a layout rearrangement that’s significant. While the 48 had a galley-down layout that put the cook well below decks in a somewhat darkened, semi-isolated spot, the aforementioned modifications to the 58’s profile have allowed Sabre’s designers to add space to the boat’s main deck. And this, in turn, has allowed them to incorporate a bright, socially connected U-shaped galley aft, with easy, open-air access to the cockpit for the cook, once the big, stainless-steel-framed glass doors at the rear of the salon are swung back.

I, of course, don’t mean to imply that the 48’s galley arrangement made her a hard sell. According to Sabre’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Bentley Collins, the boat has been and continues to be “super popular.” But, Collins continues, the 58 makes a Goldilocks’ choice for potential customers trying to decide whether to purchase the Dirigo 66 or the 48. “If the 66 is just a bit too much in terms of dockage and other factors,” says Collins, “and the 48 is just a little bit too small, we think the 58 is a perfect fit.”

Another of the 58’s virtues that Collins touts resolves a performance issue that has been occasionally associated with her smaller sistership—a tendency to run slightly bow high with an exceptionally heavy dingy stowed on her swim platform.

“We’ve deepened the buttocks angles at the stern of the 58,” Collins explains, “so the driver doesn’t have to trim the boat down so much to get the appropriate sightlines forward. Otherwise, the 58 has much the same hull shape as the 48 you took up to Rockport some years back. She should run about the same.”

I remember getting a wide-open speed of roughly 30 knots out of the 48 on that sporty little jaunt, thanks to a total of 1,100 horses in the engine room. Standard total horsepower for the 58, with twin 725-hp Volvo Penta D11 diesels under her cockpit sole, is considerably more, but then so is her displacement.

So, how will the 58 perform once I have a chance to ring her out? Well, actually, I’m hesitant to predict, at least officially. But I will say that, given the extra underwater fullness and buoyancy at the stern promised by the “deeper buttocks angles” Collins specifies, she’ll probably come close to duplicating the cruise and top speeds that Sabre’s test engineers recorded in Casco Bay back in January. Moreover, she’ll probably improve on the 48’s maximum running attitude of 3.5 degrees. And hey, these optimistic speculations get me to thinkin’. How about, at some point in the not-so-distant future, making a cheery little trip up to the Pine Tree State for a boat ride?

Sabre 58 Salon Express Specifications:

LOA: 63’9”
Beam: 16’2”
Draft: 4’9”
Displ. (half load): 65,700 lbs
Fuel: 800 gal.
Water: 230 gal.
Standard Power: 2/725-hp Volvo Penta IPS950s
Cruise speed: 26.7 knots
Top speed: 31.1 knots