Boat Review: Sabre 456

A reincarnation of the Jim Taylor-designed Sabre 453, the 456 is built using the latest resin infusion techniques to create a strong, light hull. This is a long-legged passagemaker that'll get you where you're going quickly and comfortably.
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A reincarnation of the Jim Taylor-designed Sabre 453, the 456 is built using the latest resin infusion techniques to create a strong, light hull. This is a long-legged passagemaker that'll get you where you're going quickly and comfortably.

Once a sailor starts yearning for a customized boat, he or she has two choices: hire a designer and builder to create a dream boat from the drawings up, or find a builder who has standard hull and deck molds but can extensively alter the layout and rig. The second choice is a lot cheaper than the first and has long been Sabre's specialty.

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The ospreys had flown south and Canada geese were arriving on the Chesapeake when I sailed the Sabre 456 on a crisp November day. The boat’s new owners were also planning to migrate to warmer climes and the 10-15 knot northerly wind provided a taste of what their trip would be like. As we reached out of Annapolis at 8 knots, I saw that they would have a swift passage.

This experienced sailing couple had previously owned a Sabre 426 they cruised along the coast. When ordering this new boat, they knew just what they wanted. They ordered the boat with a slightly shortened mast to slip under the many bridges on the Atlantic ICW and a big freezer to hold a month's supply of food. They also added a door from the galley to the deep portside storage locker and added a utility space for tools and spare parts. This space also houses the fuel filters and circuit breakers and affords excellent access to the engine and genset.

The interior layout was optimized for two people who will sail with occasional guests and entertain aboard from time to time. With this in mind it features plenty of seating around the saloon table, a large retracting TV, and places to cozy up with a book. The owners work primarily with electronic navigation tools, so the nav station was reduced in size. Displays in the saloon, the cockpit and the owner's cabin provide instant information on the boat's status.

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Sabre’s joinery is all beautifully hand-finished and customized to the buyer's specifications. Our test boat had a cherry interior with white opaque inserts and a forward passageway door that resembled Shoji screens, producing a calming, elegant effect.

Of course, none of this is worth much if the boat doesn’t perform, but that is hardly a problem with the 456. The boat locked right into speeds in the high 7-knot range sailing close-hauled and tacked effortlessly through 90 degrees. The 125 percent jib overlaps enough to really drive the boat, but is still easy to tack and trim. The boat seemed happy at a 20 degree angle of heel, with a completely neutral helm that an autopilot will have no difficulty managing.

[Motoring back to the slip, a 2,400 rpm setting yielded 7.6 knots of speed and a modest 76 dBA sound level. A wide-open throttle pushed the boat right up to its theoretical hull speed. Docking was a snap, as the Sabre 456 turned in one and a half boatlengths and stopped and backed exactly as it should. Unlike most builders, Sabre puts the tachometer up where it is easy to read.

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It was a perfect day to sail on an excellent cruising boat and the owners can anticipate many more.

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LOA 45ft 6in
LWL 38ft 4in
BEAM 14ft 1in
HEADROOM 6ft 6in
Berths 6ft 8in (both fwd and aft)
DRAFT 5ft 6in
DISPLACEMENT 27,150lb
BALLAST 10,850lb
SAIL AREA 1,043 sq ft
DESIGNER Jim Taylor
BUILDER Sabre Yachts

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