DEY Team | Down East Yachting

2018 Top Products by Boating Industry

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Sabre 45 Salon Express named a 2018 Top Product

The fifth-annual Boating Industry Top Products list features 50 of the newest products in boating including everything from engines and electronics, to gadgets and apps, as well as boats, tenders, and even wake-surf boards. According to Boating Industry, winners were chosen for their innovation and their impact on the industry.

Sabre Yachts is thrilled to be included among the many notable winners. None of our considerable success would be possible without the unfailing excellence of Sabre’s production team, who tirelessly raise the bar on what it means to be “Crafted in the Maine Tradition.”

You can see the 45 Salon Express for yourself by scheduling a Sea Trial or catching us at our many Shows & Events!

Mooring and Docking

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My favorite thing as Engineering Manager is performing sea trials to validate a new model or engineering change. Launching a boat that is fresh off the production floor is always exciting, though there have been moments of nervousness as I departed the dock knowing one of our infamous New England Nor’easters was brewing. But what better time for a sea trial?

Nevertheless, after a rough-weather trial, it is always a relief once the boat returns to harbor and is securely tied. I take comfort that any Back Cove or Sabre will be safe and sound at the dock during a storm, primarily because of how the strong points are designed.

Technical Details

All of our models meet ABYC guidelines so, if we use the Back Cove 41 as an example, all mooring cleats and the structure to which they are attached must withstand a working load of almost 10,000 pounds. Maybe this seems like a lot to ask from a single metal part, but a fully-loaded Back Cove 41 weighs about 30,000 lbs, and the 5/16” diameter mounting posts on our stainless steel cleats can withstand a 35,000-pound pull-force before failure.

Since it is unlikely the cleat itself will fail, detailed attention is given to the strong points to which the cleat is mounted.

Cleat Mounting

All Back Coves and Sabres have cleats mounted into solid fiberglass. The mounting studs pass through ½” of solid fiberglass and a ½” backing plate. We finish the connection with stainless washers and nylon lock nuts. When force is applied to the cleat, it is distributed from the threads to the nut, then to the washer, the backing plate, and finally to the fiberglass deck. It would be a terrifying force that could rip these cleats off the deck, and I hope never to witness a storm generating those conditions.

Dock Lines

Dock lines and fenders are the final elements necessary to make any boat genuinely secure at the dock, no matter the conditions. For many boaters; a proper spring line can be masterfully used to maneuver a vessel under challenging conditions. Because all Back Cove yachts have a bow thruster, and many have the optional stern thruster, using spring lines to move into or off of the dock is typically not necessary. However, midship forward and aft spring lines to secure a vessel for long-term docking are advantageous.Dock Line Diagram

Once spring lines are in place, a boat can easily be moved forward/aft to make the best use of dock space. Finally, adding bow and stern lines keeps the vessel tight to the dock. I prefer to use the outside transom cleat to maximize access to the swim platform and transom door as illustrated in the drawing above.

Cleats can accept two spliced loops of 5/8" braided dock lineWe have significant tidal changes in Maine, so short spring lines perpendicular to the dock are usually avoided, as they do not allow an adequate vertical range of movement. The 10” deck cleats mounted to the toe-rail on all Back Coves are good for 5/8” braided dock lines and can accept two spliced loops each.

When tying up to a mooring, I recommend a 5/8” rope bridle to split the loads between the starboard and port forward cleats. The length of the bridle and painter should be 2.5x the height of the strong point above the waterline.

Fenders

Last but not least, I recommend three fenders on the docked side of the vessel, as illustrated below. The first located aft on the pop-up cleat (on 2016 and newer Back Coves), one amidships at the beamiest part of the hull and one somewhere in between on the rail or stanchion. I like to make my fender whips out of ½” dock line, so they are long enough to tie up to the highest part of the bow rail. Using the bow rails to tie off the fenders also keeps the cleats free for dock lines. Felt fender covers, of course, add to the presentation of the boat and cover up smudges on the unprotected rubber fender.fender diagram

Now that we know everything is secure boat-side, how reliable do the dock-side cleats look at your favorite tie-up spot?

Introducing the Back Cove 34O

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New Back Cove 34O Rendering

Yes, the “O” is for Outboard

The Back Cove 34O will make her debut at the 2018 Newport International Boat Show. Her entirely new hull, fitted with standard bow thruster and designed specifically for outboard propulsion, offers cruise and top end speeds approximately 10 knots faster than the traditional single diesel engine Back Cove.

Her cockpit and helm deck are meant for entertaining…

…with an aft facing seat that converts into a U-shaped helm deck dinette, or second berth. The standard 5kW diesel generator and cabin A/C below deck coupled with the spacious island berth, separate head, and shower, remind one that this Back Cove is still intended for cruising.

Sea trials will begin in August, with full production beginning in September 2018.

Join the 34O mailing list to receive additional information and updates!

Yacht or Boat?: What’s the difference?

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Back Cove 37 Downeast - Luxury Motor Yacht

Yacht, Ship, or Boat – which is it?

The English language is full of this kind of intriguing conundrum. Definitions of words like yacht, boat, or ship aren’t always sufficiently indicative of which is appropriate and when. The result is that most of us develop and use our own (unspoken) rules within our boating communities or, when the rules don’t apply, we just wing it!

If ‘winging it’ isn’t your style, or you’re new to the boating community, we have some guidelines to help you along the way to nautical fluency.

YACHT

I don’t think anybody would argue that ‘yacht’ connotates something fancier than a boat or a ship. Interestingly enough, outside of the United States, ‘yacht’ generally refers to a sailboat unless specifically called a motor yacht. Unhelpfully, those of us in the US still have to contend with the power/sail question, and ‘boat’ is still used interchangeably. Back Cove and our sister company Sabre refer to our products as ‘yachts,’ (if that wasn’t already obvious). We craft personal luxury vessels designed for recreation, relaxation, and comfort, so yacht certainly seems the most appropriate.

SHIP

Cargo or Container ShipMost associate ‘ship’ with something larger than a boat, and less recreational than a yacht. In short, a “working” vessel. One person pointed out to me that a ship generally needs a full crew, while a yacht sometimes doesn’t, and a boat almost never does. For example, a 200-foot cargo ship (or mega-yacht) almost certainly requires a crew, but an experienced team of two can safely and masterfully handle any Back Cove or Sabre yacht. Meanwhile, if we consider the rowboat, a single person could well manage on their own – with a little practice.

BOAT

A rowboat is a great example of the definition of "boat"Defining ‘boat’ seems to be stickier than ‘yacht’ or ‘ship.’ We hear many captains referring to their ‘boat,’ irrespective of size, function, or fit-and-finish. Short of being deliberately confusing, it seems as though the word boat has become a colloquialism, pet phrase, or slang term for any floating object more complicated than a raft. So, setting slang aside, the rest shakes out pretty cleanly. A boat can be used for recreation or pleasure but is generally smaller than either a ship or a yacht, and with fewer amenities. Boats tend to be powered either by small engines, or elbow-grease (again, think rowboat).

When in Rome…

As we mentioned above, everybody has their own ‘rules.’ Moreover, the plasticity of language means that any guidelines have a substantial amount of grey area. So always be aware of those familiar with the vessel in question. If you are invited out on ‘the boat,’ it’s safe to say that is an acceptable term. If a captain or owner refers to their vessel as a ‘yacht,’ then use yacht. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!

There is one bit of unequivocally good news in all this confusion – when it’s yours, you can call it whatever you like!

Back Cove 32 - A Downeast Motor Yacht

PS – Do you find any other nautical terms confusing or unclear? Let us know in the comments!

Why Swimming in Your Marina is a Bad Idea

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Imagine: it’s a beautiful hot, sunny afternoon. You’re at your favorite marina getting your boat provisioned and equipped for a fun-filled weekend with your family. The sun’s shimmering on the water enticing you to dive in for a refreshing swim.

Don’t do it.

In the water of even the most pristine marina, there could lurk a silent and invisible killer – stray AC electrical current. Boats plugged into a shore power service at any given marina may have an electrical “leak” that could prove lethal.

It can happen more easily than you think, here’s how:

Electricity flows along the path of least resistance to complete a roundtrip loop called a circuit. Every time a boat is connected to shore power an electrical circuit is formed, flowing from shore to vessel and back again. Similar to hydraulics, this current puts “pressure” (called voltage) on the boat’s AC electrical devices and appliances. Any number of scenarios can cause a leak where some portion of this electricity may escape from its intended circuitry.

At best, the device’s safety ground (typically a green wire) will carry the leaking electricity back to the source and safely complete the circuit. However, because the AC ground circuitry is also connected to the boat’s bonding/grounding system (including underwater hardware), sometimes the path of lesser resistance is through the water.

When electricity is leaking through the water and flowing towards shore, a swimmer may become a better conductor than the water itself. This is especially true in fresh or brackish waters where the human body is inherently a better electrolyte solution, and therefore a better conductor than the surrounding water.

As little as 50 to 100 milliamps of electricity conducted through the heart can be deadly.

There are no visible signs to indicate stray electrical current, and therefore no way to know when one may be present. So, don’t take the risk; don’t swim in or near marinas.

– Glenn Campbell, Head of Engineering, Sabre Yachts

Downeast Origin: 800 Back Cove Yachts

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Back Cove Production Team and Associates gather with the 800th Back Cove yacht.

In the autumn of 2017 Back Cove launched our 800th yacht. It’s an impressive milestone that becomes even more significant when you consider all that it implies: 800 Downeast-style yachts, crafted by more than 200 of Maine’s best boatbuilders, championed by a network of more than 20 dealerships, in locations around the globe. Suddenly, our founding question of whether a simple and nautically sensible design could capture the heart of the boating public had a clear answer.

It was 2003, and the popularity of Downeast style was growing rapidly. Designs that had once only been popular in New England quickly were becoming the boats of choice all over the USA and in many export markets. Sabre dealers were selling all of the production that we could build and they wanted more. They asked Sabre to come up with a smaller less complicated Downeast style boat that could be made in larger volumes to satisfy the growing demand.

That spring, the Sabre Design Team met with six dealerships in Manchester, NH ( a common airport location for Southwest Airlines) to unveil the first ever Back Cove yacht. Differentiating Sabre and Back Cove would be reasonably simple; Back Cove was to be smaller, with a single diesel engine and a bow thruster, and interior fiberglass liners to simplify assembly. Sabre would remain larger, with twin-engine propulsion, stick built interiors, and their sizes would range from 38 to (eventually) 66 feet in length.The dealers fell in love with the concept, and the Back Cove 29 was born.

Then the issue of location. The company had previously purchased the assets and facilities of North End Composites, in Rockland, Maine, but the custom fiberglass and tooling business was on a bumpy road. The shop needed something to build on a consistent production-oriented basis that would smooth bumps in the road and support a strong workforce. The Back Cove range suited the facilities perfectly, and the plan was off and running.

Building upon the success of the Back Cove 29, seven additional models were introduced over the next 14 years. The Back Cove 26 debuted in 2004, and the 33 followed two years later. In 2009 the Back Cove 37 expanded the lineup over the 35′ range, and we knew things were really cooking. By the time Back Cove celebrated our 10th birthday the 33 had evolved to become the 34, and our design team had introduced two more models coming in at 30 and 41 feet in length. Since then Back Cove has introduced the Downeast 37, a second version of the original Back Cove 37, and most recently we introduced the new Back Cove 32. Back Cove yachts can be found in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the UK, France, Italy, Greece, and Norway.

Today, as hull 800 left our facilities, we resolved the question of whether a Downeast boat with a simple but consistent trade dress, built in the Maine tradition, could succeed in a market full of white plastic cruisers.

The answer is a resounding “yes.”

Back Cove’s New Lead Project Engineer

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We are excited to announce that Joshua St. Germain has been promoted to Lead Project Engineer.

Josh will take a leading role in the planning, scheduling, and execution of complex technical projects within the Back Cove Engineering Department. Josh’s judgment will be critical to the successful implementation of the challenging assignments required to maintain Back Cove’s outstanding reputation in the industry.

In the nearly five years that Josh has been on the Engineering Team, he has been instrumental in engineering new models and introducing them to production. He will continue to validate new product design during prototyping, support production, and make improvements to our products; all things at which Josh has proven to excel during his time on our team. Josh’s knowledge and enthusiasm for all marine products make him a perfect candidate to grow with our company and to assume more leadership within our technical team.

Our sincerest congratulations to Josh!

Sabre 45 Shakedown Cruise – Numbers Two and Three

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Q.E.D’s owners put the new Sabre 45 Salon Express to the test with their second and third “shakedown” cruises. First, a 27 day trip to the Bahamas followed by a week in the Florida Keys. And the verdict? “The Sabre 45 did everything we asked her to.”

When last we wrote, we had just returned from our initial shakedown cruise on hull number 1 of the Sabre 45 Salon Express. While that was very successful, the boat was designed for a lot more than a nine-day cruise along the Florida coast. So to make sure we put her to the test, we traveled with our yacht club to the Bahamas for an extended cruise.

Seven islands, eight ports, and 27 days later, we can report that Q.E.D. did everything she was designed to do.

While we have cruised the Northern Bahamas on several occasions on our Sabre 38, those trips were two weeks or less in length. This time, we had to provision differently given our itinerary. The storage capacity on board was unbelievable. With the space in the pantry, below the main cabin, and in the utility room coupled with the two refrigerators and two freezers, we were able to stow enough provisions to probably last four months and enough drinking water to last at least two. With a decent weather window, we left Stuart Florida en route to West End. It was a reasonable crossing, although we are still waiting for the “smooth” water that we hear some have had for their crossing. Once we arrived, the rain started in earnest and continued for most of our two-day stay. The entire time we were out, the weather was hot even for this time of year. Even when we had to spend time inside the boat, the salon express design meant we never felt confined.

We left Old Bahama Bay en route to Green Turtle. The seas outside of West End were high and confused until we entered the bank South of Memory Rock. These were the roughest seas we had experienced in the boat so far. The rest of the trip to Bluff House was uneventful. After three days there, we traveled to Hopetown where we stayed six days spending time at Tahiti Beach, Pete’s Pub, Man O’War cay, and explored the area.

We then traveled to Harbour Island via the Devil’s Backbone. This is a cut North of Eleuthera which has a reputation of being extremely difficult to navigate. We hired a pilot to bring the group through but decided that we could have been just as safe following the details on our Volvo/Garmin glass cockpit. In fact, we decided to do it ourselves when we left.

The marina assigned us a slip which was parallel to the coastline. All day long and for part of the night, there were boats on plane just off the marina. Other boats that were in slips like ours, rocked heavily all the time. We turned on our Seakeeper and Q.E.D. just settled in.

The pink beach at Harbour Island is terrific and we spent a good deal of time on it over the next six days. As in most of the Bahamas, there are very nice resorts close to really poor neighborhoods.

The next passage, to Highbourne Cay in the Exumas, was probably the most difficult due to the route across areas which had scattered coral heads. When we arrived, we fueled and again found out that we had used less fuel than any of the other boats, including the smaller boats.

This is a wonderful island, well worth the trip: great service, protected marina and absolutely gorgeous grounds and hiking trails.

Next we traveled to Staniel Cay. This is one we would miss next time as the marina is falling apart and exposed to lots of wash and the boats are all side tied to a long dock. Again, the Seakeeper kept us safe while other boats were rocking so badly that they had damage.

We did get to feed the swimming pigs, iguanas, swam with nurse sharks and snorkeled Thunderball grotto.

From Staniel we went to Nassau for one night dockage and to fuel. Nassau is also a stop we could miss. We then on to Chub Cay the next morning. This has been completely rebuilt with outstanding floating docks, reliable power, and really nice facilities with an infinity pool overlooking the beach.

Our last stop was Lucaya on Grand Bahama. One night there and then home.

We traveled more than 700 miles, used 948 gallons of fuel including running the generator when underway, and had no real boat issues. We cruised in the mid-to-upper 20 knot range the entire trip. The Volvo IPS 600’s performed flawlessly; the Volvo/Garmin Glass Cockpit provided us with great navigation and engine management tools, and the Sabre 45 did everything we asked her to. In fact, we came back with enough food and water (and even other beverages) to go back out for another month or more. The Sureshade proved to be a real asset in helping to protect us from too much sun and the window blinds not only gave us privacy but also kept the boat cooler. Even with significantly hotter weather than normal, the air conditioning kept us comfortable the entire trip. We had enough water pressure to use both showers at the same time and plenty of water aboard.

Update cruise three:

The cruise was so much fun and we had so much food left, that we left on cruise number three, a week in the Florida Keys. Loads of fun and again the boat was terrific. Eight for cocktails in the salon proved to be no problem at all although a dent was made in the contents of the wine cooler. And the salon table worked fine for six for a formal dinner. We now have almost 100 hours on the engines!

When we started this process three years ago, we never thought that the boat could meet the objectives so completely. Thanks again to all at Sabre and Volvo for providing us with this traditional example of modern technology and craftsmanship at its best.

Shelly and Naomi

Lobstering – A New Look at a Downeast Tradition

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Our heritage as a Maine boat builder is not just an integral part of Sabre’s identity, but a defining element of the entire Maine boat building community. This community, born in 1607 on the banks of the Kennebec River, has forged a culture and a livelihood in spite of the inhospitable climate and geography. Challenges that have not altered in the intervening 410 years. Sabre owners Kim and Randy reflect on the Lobstering industry and the working-boat heritage that informed the design of their own Sabre 48 Salon Express. Their clarity and perception are an excellent reminder of what’s on “the other side of chic.”

Long Cove, Vinalhaven Island, Maine –

Dating back to the 50’s, there has been a fascination with and a high demand for, the highly prized lobster. In chic white table clothed eateries in NYC or Chicago a 1 1/2 pound Maine lobster may cost $60 – at Red’s Lobster Shack in Wiscasset, Maine $19. From a lobsterman stopping by our boat $5 – but we do the steaming!

Long considered a delicacy in and outside of New England and now spreading global, lobster is a routine way of culinary life here in Maine; however, you may not see it on the menu at highly acclaimed Primo in Rockland because James Beard award winning chef/owner Mellisa Kelly might say it is available in most other restaurants in the area.

She would be correct.

What we and others fortunate to spend time on Maine’s pristine coastal waters see is the other side of chic – the efforts expended by Maine’s lobstermen & women to bring this delicacy to our tables. Apart from the popularity of lobster, the economy of many rural coastal Maine towns and hamlets like Carver’s Harbor, completely depend on the lobster industry.

The lifestyle can be brutal.

Harvesting from May to December, the weather either side of July-September is problematic. Rain, fog, fierce winds accompanied by angry seas are routine challenges to this first leg of the lobstering industry. It’s a “rain or shine” business often handled by husband and wife teams. It is physically demanding, often disappointing as to the catch and worthy of respect from everyone with an understanding of what is required to bring lobster to the table. For us it is pure pleasure in pulling close, but not too close to interfere with their work, then coming to a stop, to wave or say hello and interact – they always wave back or will tell us how their “haul” for the day is going.

Right now, not too well. “The ‘lobstah’s’ are late this summah”.

As a group, they know the seas and are the penultimate boat handlers, can feel the weather forecast in their bones, are territorial as to their fishing grounds and fiercely protective of their industry.

We hope they understand our appreciation for their dedication, work ethic and for the delicious product they harvest. One of them mentioned that we have a remote connection with the lobsterman in that, from the deck up, their “Down East” styled boats were the design template for Sabre, our boat’s manufacturer, when they went into production in 1989. One lobster man said to us, “You are a lobster boat – on steroids”. We took it as a compliment, and Sabre would too. A Raymond Maine-built boat, partially fashioned after those lobstering in the lower, mid and down east coastal regions of Maine.

Regardless of your opinion on global warming, the locals are telling us Maine waters have not been this warm in 50 years – off-shore right now, 59 degrees. Lobsters prefer cold water and the warming trend is sending them farther east, towards Stonington, here to the islands of Vinalhaven and further east to Nova Scotia where the industry is in a hyper-bull cycle. This is due in part to the general abundance of the crustaceans and a newly cultivated market exporting to Asia. What the warming means for the lower and mid-coast Maine lobster industry is up for discussion.

There are multiple levels in the sale of a single lobster. From the lobster boat to the co-op, to the distributor to the food purveyor and finally to the food store or restaurant. Next time you buy a lobster you might think of the husband and wife team that it first came into contact with, quite possibly in foul weather.

They were paid between $3.30 and $4.00 a pound.

All the best from the three of us.

Lacey, Kim and Randy