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What's the Brokerage Market for Down East-style Cruisers?

We spoke to three brokers who had a Sabre 38 or similar boat listed on Here’s what each of them had to say about these Down East-style cruisers.

Ken Petzold, Petzold’s Marine Center;
“Sabres in general, that whole Down East segment of the market, is doing very well, from the Sabre 38 to the preowned Sabre 42, they’re all excellent. They’re good values: If they go on the market, they don’t last long. Sabres have a good reputation, they’re well built, and they survey out well. The design of the boat is always in style, so it’s not a boat that’s like a fad, that’s going to go out of fashion. The Down East style is always ‘in.’ It helps keep the value up in the boats—they don’t depreciate hardly at all. They’ve always been popular. There’s quite a bit of engine room space on all those Sabres. The way they design those boats with the shafts and the engines, there’s plenty of room in the engine room—the 38s and 42s have terrific engine room access. Our service guys really like them. We take a lot of customers out of other brands that go into the Sabres because they maybe looked at them from afar with a fondness. These boats have some nice character to them, where other boats may not have that. When somebody gets into a Sabre they’ll stick with the product line and move up in size. They might start out with a Sabre 38 from 2008, and then trade it in for a 2015 42-footer with all the updates and upgrades, going from shafts to pods, those are a common direction for people to go. But we love the trades—those trades are excellent.”

Sabre 38

Dave Tischer, DiMillo’s Yacht Sales ,
“In this size range, people really want to move to diesel power and they like Down East-style boats. For my clients, Euro-style boats are not so popular and neither are midsize cruising boats with twin inboard gas engines or inboard-outboards. They like the lines of the Down East boats, they aren’t crazy about canvas and arches anymore. With the Sabre 38 Hardtop Express, they like the lines of the boat. If you’re going to get a hardtop they like a composite hardtop—a real hardtop with sliding-glass windows, windshield wipers and fresh-water windshield washers: Something that’s not just like a fishing hardtop with isinglass all around. They also like the fact that it’s a boat that’s built up in Maine. They like the carpentry work that’s on the boat, and they like the layout, but most of all they like the ride of the boat. I think the composite hardtops that are a very big thing for boats, I think everybody is ultimately going to go in this direction, you can have air conditioning or cabin heat up at the helm. Big, wide walkaround gunwales on the boat are a huge thing, it has safety rails everywhere you go on the boat, whether you’re on the outside of the boat, or on the helm deck or inside the cabin. With the center entrance to the cabin you’re not twisting and turning as you’re coming down—it’s a very big thing for people. The headroom, too, and basically what they’re looking for, most of these people in this size and style boat, is a large island bed forward that allows you to get out of both sides of the bed in the middle of the night.”

Ken Comerford, North Point Yacht Sales ;
“Because of the recession, not a lot of boats were built from 2008 to 2011. That means that there are not a lot of boats available in the brokerage ‘sweet spot,’ which is just a few years old but with the initial depreciation hit already taken. These are great boats to find, particularly if they have low engine hours, are well taken care of, and are fresh enough to compare favorably with new. These open-back style, Down East express boats, of which the Sabre 38 is one example, are popular and versatile. They work well for entertaining but have sufficient accommodations for more extensive cruising; they have a lot of uses. Buyers know this, and they are so much better informed through the Internet and can compare features and asking prices over a wide range of boats. This style of boat has a lot of appeal.” 

Read our used boat review of the Sabre 38 on here ▶

See more photos of the Sabre Hardtop 38 Express here ▶