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It's inherent in the category's name

by John Curnow, Global Editor, 5 Jun 2020 08:00 UTC
Back Cove 32 © E Marine Motor Yachts

Maine Lobster Boat. Downeast, fast trawler, and a bunch of other descriptions may also get used, but it is the Maine part that says so much. From right up in the North East of the American continent where the seas can be quite nefarious, they build tough, no frills boats, and for ages, they have even raced them.

It is from this very region that Sabre Yachts, and sister brand Back Cove originate. Both represent some of the very finest attributes of the real Maine Lobster Boats, and have quality of design, engineering, and construction to stand by. It is no wonder they look the way they do, and they'll be smart for years to come, as well.

Yes, 'Crafted in the Maine Tradition' as Sabre puts it has been with them since they started building sailing boats in 1970, before the first Sabreline 36 fast trawler arrived in 1989. The conversion over to exclusively motor yachts was well and truly complete by the time Back Cove arrived in 2003, and the two facilities at Raymond and Rockland in Maine, with the later building all the Back Coves and the larger Sabres of up to 66 feet.

Talking with Jed Elderkin of E Marine Motor Yachts in Sydney may not appear to have any correlation on the face of it. Yet he grew up in Maine, and since 2006 has been the agent for both brands here in Australia. Jed and I certainly had a sort of meeting of the minds when I found out he too had worked in Florida, way back when.

"Yes, South Florida in the early eighties is the stuff of legends and whilst I was young and just starting my career in the industry at the time, I was fortunate to have worked for Yacht Harbour Marine in Sarasota, who were the largest Wellcraft 'Californian' Dealer in existence at the time. These were a high speed trawler style vessel of the era", said Eldurkin.

"After that I worked on boats going up and down the Intracoastal, took a lot of boats to New England from Florida, and spent loads of time in both places before I moved to Queensland (AUS) in 1993. The opportunity to work in Boston saw me move back there, but I returned to Sydney in 2002 and I created E Marine in 2006", said the long-term veteran of the marine industry, who still has strong connections to both States in the USA.

"It was the original Back Cove 29 that caught my attention, so I reached out to Sabre, and here we are. Our first boat show was at Sanctuary Cove in 2007 and we took orders from that first boat we had on display. We have now delivered just over 50 Back Cove models into Australia and New Zealand, as well as five Sabre models to date. To the best of my knowledge, we are the only true, Maine built, Downeast boat dealer in the region. One of our owners has gone on to buy five boats from us, and we have numerous multi-boat owners as well."

Elderkin has sold one or more of each of the Back Cove models along the way, with 12 37s probably the stand out. The beautiful Sabre 48 you see here is the latest, and a 45 arrived last year for her owner, with two 42s and a 38 making up the Aussie fleet.

Having seen so many shifts in the market over his time, like me, Elderkin has really seen and then appreciated firstly the emergence, then might of the large, high-powered outboard segment. Recently, the first Back Cove 34O arrived in Australia, "We had to wait 18 months due to the incredible uptake in the US of this awesome new model, and it is hull #35 that you see here."

"This is a totally new design, specifically created for 4-stroke outboards and a different performance envelope. The divergent offering in terms of pace, shallow draft and dynamics will suit some buyers, and it is just wonderful to see all manner of vessels from 30 to 70 feet getting the outboard treatment for various purposes, with lower maintenance and extra room on board all part of it. So yes, it is great to have this additional offering to attract more new buyers to these well-proven hull forms from a truly significant and trusted US brand."

Not that long ago the first of Back Cove's new 39O hulls popped out of the mould, and with triple outboard power on offer the market has already spoken, as Elderkin states, "I am keen to have one of these make Australian shores soon, as it too has a very long order book!"

The disappointment of not being able to have the kind of 50th anniversary celebrations they wanted due to COVID-19 was fairly evident when talking with Sabre's VP of Marketing and Sales, Bentley Collins. Yet the strong order book, loyal customers will go a long way to appeasing that feeling. Evidently they are also really clear of who they are and what they do, stating elsewhere, "This community of craftspeople and artists breath life into each vessel, making them so much more than the sum of their parts."

New Maritimo M55

In a way, it was kind of the end of our recent online walk through and reveal of the new Maritimo M55 that shed the most insight. We had just had an exclusive, walk-through tour of the full-scale mock up of the boat that we'll first get to see for real at the end of the year.

Now as Maritimo wound up the conference, Paul Wilson made reference to the last question from our video, In conversation with Maritimo's Tom Barry-Cotter. Tom's response to the question, "What's the one project that really excites you?", which had been asked by our Managing Editor, Mark Jardine was simply, "The next one." Well, the M55 is that very 'next one', and they are justifiably and suitably impressed with their latest offspring.

Like everything, the detail does reveal all, and such was the case during a chat with the team afterwards. Overall, you might say that it is merely a fresher take on a look that is Maritimo's hallmark, yet this belies a huge number of man-hours and some cool items happening all over the craft.

There is still a genuine keel that is just about deeper than the tips of the screws at the end of the shafts running at an impressively shallow 9.1 degrees. Barry-Cotter commented, "We worked hard on it this. After all, we're known for it, and we achieved it without tunnels, and still maintained a shallow draft overall."

There is also a pretty aggressive variable deadrise from 53 degrees at the bow and then that deep V entry goes to just 5.8 degrees of deadrise at the stern. Combined with significant reverse chines out aft, it will make for a flat, fast (by virtue of added lift) and stable vessel (the chines press against the water as opposed to dispersing it) - a genuine, soft riding, ocean performer. Now in conjunction with her substantial 5.23m beam this will also be the case at rest.

As is the norm with a lot of boat design, there is a taper in the hull as it comes aft. Barry-Cotter said, "The transition from maximum beam is less distinct than other of our M-Series craft, but it is not completely straight, either." It does allow for extra payload out aft, with the M55 offering a below deck tender storage option with crane. However, it is the extra real estate up on deck that will be what attracts buyers to her. In addition to a mezzanine deck just aft of the galley, Maritimo have created an 'Adventure Deck' that in combination with the massive swim platform offers over 20m2 of space to do as you will.

Now the M55's maximum beam is carried at about 50% of the way along her running surface, and she then carries an impressive 91.5% of that through to her transom, and all of this is important to note because the maximum is right where her 12 Iron Ladies and truly significant 4500l of bunkering are all kept - perfect. As a further nod to understanding the fundamentals that their race pedigree delivers, the inline shaft drive means that she has a slower screw speed at cruise, courtesy of the larger wheels she can spin, and that blade area to water ratio of those screws is exactly what affords her the ability to carry her load effortlessly.

Yet is not only out aft where you'll see the benefits of her new volume, as down below she is capacious, and the bridge deck with a massive Juliet deck will provide splendiferous accommodations for you and all your guests. Yes. The M55's distinct volume all over makes it compete with vessels five to 10 feet longer, and she'll have the range to be a real passage maker. Having the option of a pair of 800s spinning her wheels should be enough for even the most ardent of us speed freaks.

Maritimo delivered 14 of their X50 vessels in the first 12 months of that model. Maritimo's Operations Manager, Phil Candler, tells me that they will do six M55s in the first part of 2021, so if this vessel looks like something for you and your clan, then it might be best to make your enquiries now... Just saying.

OK. Today you will find that the site has an abundance of material from right across the globe, and if you cannot find something, just try the search button right up the top of the landing page, above our logo.

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Speak with you again, very, very soon.

John Curnow
Global Editor,

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