Sabre 58’s Land-to-Sea Commissioning is a Novel Process
It is quite the spectacle to behold: a 66-foot motoryacht making the 24-mile journey from the landlocked town of Raymond, Maine to the coast for final commissioning. Situated on a custom hydraulic trailer, her height is nearly as great as her 16-foot width. A convoy of utility trucks, law enforcement vehicles and spotters caravan ahead and behind the precious payload, carefully making their way through the city streets. Traffic is diverted or temporarily blocked as bucket trucks raise utility lines and adjust traffic signals to make space for this commanding yacht’s only on-road journey.
From the moment the in-house design team sat down to pen the 58, it was clear this new larger model would require special handling to safely transport it to the Maine coast for final preparation and delivery to their new owners. In the case of boats headed to Bluewater Yacht Sales, they run from Maine to the Hampton, Virginia Yacht Yard where the final punch list items are completed for delivery.
Throughout the design process, considerations were made to allot for on-road transport and the localized disruption it would cause, along with the custom hydraulic trailer required to move the boat. Finally, the blueprints for a unique commissioning process were drawn up to ensure zero compromise on maintaining the ‘Crafted in the Maine Tradition’ mantra that has carried Sabre through their 50-plus year history.
“The birthplace of every Sabre 58 is at our Rockland, Maine facility, where the skilled lamination team lays the keel and pulls the hull from her mold,” explains Glenn Campbell, Engineering Manager at Sabre Yachts. The Rockland facility is also responsible for large component lamination like the deck and cabin structure. Based on current model demand, a specific 58 hull may remain at their Rockland facility for the duration of the build or be skillfully loaded on a trailer and transported to their Raymond location two hours away.
Both their Rockland and Raymond facilities are equipped to manage the build through to the point of the on-road journey to a boatyard for commissioning. A Sabre 58 hull departing the Rockland facility also requires a convoy to mitigate traffic and obstacles in town, although the journey to the water is a bit shorter.
Several exterior appendages remain uninstalled ahead of the 58’s crosstown journey to Sabre’s launch and make-ready (LMR) facility on Penobscot or Casco Bay, making for a multifaceted final assembly. The first step involves a Volvo Penta factory technician aiding in the installation of the IPS pod drives, including corresponding cooling and supply hoses and wiring harnesses. Once each pod drive unit is torqued to the proper specification, the exhaust system and related components are connected and the props are fitted.
The team then works on installing the hardtop mast and electronics hardware which may include SAT domes optioned by the customer. As the commissioning process nears the launch phase, the fuel and water tanks are filled, engines and generators primed, and sending units calibrated.
Once placed in the water, but ahead of her first sea trials, engineers must board the boat to perform systems checks of the shore power, generator inputs and switching. They test all major electronics and the standard CZone system is calibrated to accurately read both AC and DC currents and voltages. “The air conditioning systems are another unique piece of the Sabre 58 commissioning puzzle,” Campbell explains. “The A/C system on the 58 has enough water and power demand that our facility cannot provide that rate of water flow required to operate the systems.” In this case, the commissioning process also encapsulates quality checks and control as the air conditioning system is charged with refrigerant and operated for the first time in the water.”
After all this prep at the LMR site, the time has finally come. The efforts and long hours of Sabre shipwrights and engineers, along with the aid of certified technicians from Volvo and the shipyard, culminate in the first sea trial in Casco or Penobscot Bay.
Fruits of their Labor
Sabre engineers invite dealer representatives, owners and their captains along for the final commissioning process and even initial sea trials. The commissioning team will spend the day with a dealer, owner or captain going through the boat from stem to stern providing a full orientation of all systems and equipment while answering any questions. “We love to have a customer and their captain join us with the dealer for the commissioning process.” Campbell concludes, “Great questions come out of it and more folks are listening in and engaging in the conversation making this in-depth orientation a great opportunity to educate the new owners on their boat.”
“We love to have a customer and their captain join us with the dealer for the commissioning process”
“…a great opportunity to educate the new owners on their boat”
Bluewater will soon be engaged in two such deliveries to repeat Sabre customers. Both the Worth and Olinger families are expected to receive their new Sabre 58s in late 2021.
The ingenuity involved in not only building a yacht with a high level of fit and finish, but mapping out doing so to accommodate an on-land journey before final seaside commissioning is a testament to Sabre’s practical design sensibility. The 58’s commissioning process is almost as equally impressive as the checklist to ensure the complete satisfaction of every Sabre 58 owner at delivery.