at the 2015 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
VP Marketing and Sales, Sabre and Back Cove Yachts
It’s my understanding that Down East boats have been doing really well in the last couple years, to what do you attribute that success?
Timelessness, I suppose is the word that comes to mind. Our designs are timeless. They will be as appealing in 20 or 30 years as they are today. Others in the industry are chasing Italian and French designers and they all look and feel alike. I was browsing through a magazine yesterday and that reinforced my feeling that there is just too much sameness out there. Our clients are looking for unique looks, not a “me too.”
Are you seeing any customer or design trends in your market that are influencing the design of new Sabres and Back Coves?
Nothing startlingly new, really. I suppose Seakeeper is the latest thing for a lot of buyers and we get into a lot of Seakeeper conversations these days. We don’t install them in the Back Coves but we will do it in the larger Sabre designs. Many folks see it as a way to make life better onboard but with our planing hulls and given the fact that the genset needs to run to support it, most folks think about it and then decide against it. In our 66 I think more than 75 percent will get the option.
Are today’s Down East buyers different from the new customers of 10 years ago, and if so, how?
The shift to timeless designs has moved to a younger generation of boaters. Ten years ago we were worried that our clients were aging out but now we see another generation buying into our style. I also feel that client’s expectations are extremely high. After all, when was the last time your luxury automobile broke down? We are being held to a very high standard and systems on board are better than ever. When (if) the boat breaks down and is out of service for a few days our clients are very disappointed. Their time on board is limited and they want to take full advantage of every moment.
Looking 10 years into the future, how do you think those new customers will differ from the customers of today?
I see the current trends continuing. Euro design will continue to drive styling and we will try to be edgy without joining in; modifying our designs to be more contemporary but retaining our unique Down East look. We are dedicated to improving reliability and are working with our supplier partners to get the best possible components in each build. I also see owner-operators running larger and larger boats as boat-handling equipment continues to improve. Our 66 is an owner-operator boat and we think that can be stretched well into larger sizes.
Do you have a favorite Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show memory you don’t mind sharing?
I have several but the first one that comes to mind is the year of Hurricane Sandy . That was a bad week for the show but we all went down there because the show was going to go on regardless. Many hearty clients showed up and the hotels were getting back on their feet as the week went by. It was actually a lot of fun enjoying [post] hurricane parties with all of our industry friends.
Down East Cruisers
Peter Van Lancker
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.