There has been a lot of cross-fertilization in yacht design over the past six years. Some of the harder lines of demarcation have turned to hazy gray and hybrid types have appeared that seem to combine the best of the different schools of yacht design.

The Sabre 38.

The Sabre 38.

In so doing, the designer always takes the risk of stepping on the toes of the purists, but in the case of the new Sabre 38, the end result is a healthy compromise yacht. Please do not read "compromise" as a negative qualifier. I'm not going to go so far as to say all yachts are compromises. Some are not. But careful; weighing of priorities and balancing of performance goals can give us versatile yachts that show no real areas of weakness. I think the Sabre 38 is a good example of this.

The hull form is contemporary and owes some of its general styling to the IOR tradition. The BWL is moderate, the bilges are quite slack and the midsection is tangent at centerline. The rudder is a semi balanced spade, hung below a small skeg.

The forefoot is knuckled and the sections forward are U-shaped and relatively flat on centerline. You have the choice of a deep fin keel or a shoal keel with centerboard. The plan view shows a hull with a very moderate distribution of beam and a shapely transom. The D/L ratio is 243. If you take for granted that the Sabre 38 will be a fast and weatherly coastal cruiser and IMS racer, you should also add to that picture the 38's ability as an offshore cruiser. Tankage may be a little short for long passages, but I wouldn't doubt the boat's ability to make it.

Going below, we see a thoroughly modern layout. The head is aft and is very spacious. Note the excellent engine access. The galley is tight for counter space and the refrigerator looks small, but you must balance these items against the benefits of the large aft cabin and roomy V-berth areas. Headroom is 6 feet, 4 inches in the main cabin.

I like the look of the Sabre's deck. Note that the corners have been faceted off almost everywhere. The whole picture is attractive with generously wide side decks and very trim house lines. The companionway is notched into the house aft with very precise sculpting. There is a recessed anchor well forward. There are five ventilation hatches on deck. Genoa tracks are located well inboard for close sheeting angles.

One of the most striking design features is the rig. The mast is quite far forward, reducing the J dimension. This puts the spar in an advantageous position in the accommodations and generally helps the sailing manners of the boat. The mast position should result in a forgiving helm and smaller jibs. The SA/D ratio is 16.73.

The Sabre group has given us a boat that combines racing performance with family cruising comfort. This is a formula that Sabre has been perfecting over the last few years.

Boat Specifications
Draft6'6" or 4'3"-8'
Displacement16900 lbs. or 17300 lbs.
Ballast6600 or 7000 lbs.
Sail Area689 sq. ft.
SA/D ratio16.73
D/L ratio243
AuxiliaryWesterbeke 33 hp
Fuel45 gals.
Water106 gals.


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.