John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Sabre Spirit 36
LOA/LWL  36'8" / 28'4"
Beam  10'5"
Draft (Deep Keel)  6'7"
Draft (Shoal Keel) 4'11.5"
Fuel Capacity  20 gals
Base Price( excl. sails) $241,904

In recent years boatbuilders have been producing a number of high-end daysailers featuring traditional lines coupled with modern rigs, keels and amenities. With the focus on aesthetics, performance and ease of use, the end result is a beautiful modern boat that sails well in a variety of conditions. For those of us with a soft spot in our hearts for classic designs, it's refreshing to see these vessels under sail.  

Sabre has joined the mix with its new offering for 2007–the Sabre Spirit, designed by Jim Taylor and the Sabre design team. I met with Garth Hitchens, owner and president of Annapolis Yacht Sales, a Sabre dealer and provider of our test boat, to review the Spirit. Sitting in his office, Hitchens said he prefers to think of the Spirit as more of a "weekender" than a daysailer, because the boat has quite comfortable overnight accommodations. He further explained that although the Spirit is a departure from the other boats in the Sabre line, it still has the "Sabre DNA". I also learned that our test boat had just been launched, and we would be taking her on a shakedown sail.

The Spirit is 36 feet 8 inches long, with a slight overhang aft and a traditional transom. She has a clean modern look overall, with a nod to traditional styling. While the Spirit comes equipped with stainless steel lifelines, pulpits and stanchions, they are removable for those who like a more traditional look. The deck hardware from blocks to chocks is all stainless. Even the Spinlock line stoppers have a stainless finish to blend in with the rest of the hardware. A teak toe rail is standard, but our test boat also had an optional teak cockpit coaming and sole. The cockpit features long settees port and starboard, each with a very large cockpit locker beneath.  The wheel is stainless with a teak rim and is large enough for someone perched on the coaming to handle easily. Aft of the helm seat a large lazaret provides even more storage. The carbon fiber mast is painted above deck for UV protection.

Below, the accommodations are simple and elegant. I had no problem with 6-foot standing headroom, but some of my taller friends would have to duck a little. Forward is a 7-foot V-berth, with a forward-facing chart table aft, to port. Settees line the port and starboard cabin sides. A drop-leaf table sits between them. Aft on the port side is the galley, equipped with ice box, sink with hot-and-cold pressure water, and a Force 10 two-burner range with oven. On the starboard side aft is the head compartment, equipped with a standard electric head.

Underway the Spirit felt light and quick. We headed out under power. At 2400 rpm, the 27-hp Volvo pushed us along at 7 knots in flat water. Wide open (3000 rpm), the Spirit made 7.5 knots.  

Out in the river, we put up the main and jib just as we heard an overheat alarm from the engine. Shutting down the engine, we surmised that perhaps an air bubble in the freshwater cooling circuit was the issue–a common problem with new installations.

Under sail in 5 to 7 knots of breeze, the Spirit was fun and light to the touch. With the self-tending jib, tacking was as simple as turning the wheel, and we glided along effortlessly. Reluctantly we turned to head in, but due to our little engine glitch we had to sail all the way into the dock. With such a light agile boat, docking was no sweat and actually a lot of fun. Under sail or power, this boat is a nimble little vessel that's fun and simple to use. (We're told the engine glitch has been corrected and the Spirit is ready to go sailing.)