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Next month Sabre Yachts of South Casco, Maine, plans to launch its new 46 Salon Express which will fit nicely between its popular 42 and 52 Express models. Word on the street is that already six of the new model have been ordered at retail. And just wait until Sabre 42 owners see the two large staterooms with queen beds and ensuite heads. With classical 20th century Downeast lines on the outside and 21st century propulsion and control on the inside, the new 46 will likely make the short list of many boat buyers looking for something new and innovative in the mid-40 foot range.

Key Features

  • Modified Deep ā€œVā€ Planing hull design, with shallow pod drive tunnels
  • 14 deg deadrise at transom, 23 deg deadrise amidships
  • ISO NPG white gelcoat withvinylester back-up resin
  • Bottom, topsides and transom vacuum-infused biaxial E-glass with Airex C70 foam core
  • Stringer system biaxial E-glass with foam core
  • Bulkheads vacuum-bagged biaxial E-glass with polypropylene honeycomb core
  • Molded E-glass swim platform with molded-in anti-skid surface
  • Hull side rubbing strakes
  • PVC rub rail with stainless steel cap
  • Painted (IMRON) double boot top
  • Gold recessed cove stripe
Length Overall 46' 0''
14.0 m
Beam 15' 4''
4.67 m
Dry Weight 34,700 lbs.
15,740 kg
Tested Weight N/A
Draft 3' 9''
1.14 m
- Draft Up N/A
- Draft Down N/A
- Air Draft N/A
Deadrise/Transom 14 deg.
Max Headroom 6' 6''
1.98 m
Bridge Clearance N/A
Weight Capacity N/A
Person Capacity N/A
Fuel Capacity 500 gal.
1,892 L
Water Capacity 160 gal.
606 L
Length on Trailer N/A
Height on Trailer N/A
Trailer Weight N/A
Total Weight
(Trailer, Boat, & Engine)

Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

Std. Power 2 x 550-hp Cummins QSC 8.3
Tested Power Currently no test numbers
Opt. Power 2 x 600-hp Cummins Zeus QSC 8.3

Captain's Report

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
The new Sabre 46 Salon Express has two ensuite staterooms and Zeus pod drives with joystick. The image above is a computer drawing.

The folks at Sabre Yachts know their customers and how they use their boats ā€“ which is mostly for day trips entertaining friends, with some occasional coastal cruising for a week or so. The key to the new boat -- and giving Sabre buyers what they want -- is the Zeus/CMD pod drive propulsion package. It allows all sorts of good things to happen.

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
The Sabre 46 Salon Express layout features two queen beds in two ensuite staterooms.

The "Utility" Room

By using the pod drives Sabre is able to move the engine room aft into space that would otherwise be a lazarette in a conventional inboard-powered boat of this type. As a result Sabre has picked up 6'6" (1.98 m) of fore-and-aft space that can be used for any number of purposes. The folks at Sabre tell us that this space is highly customizable and that its customers are having a lot of fun deciding what they want to do with the new found room.Access to the space is clever and quite unconventional. In the salon on the port side the two seats nearest the door to the cockpit slide toward the centerline of the boat revealing a staircase going below and forward. The L-shaped "navigator" seat forward provides 5'10" (1.77 m) headroom, once below. The rest of the space has over a foot less headroom and measuring 4'8" (1.42 m) on the centerline. The first buyers are using the space as crew quarters, for a full-size washer and dryer, for bicycle storage, and for a cabin complete with bed, TV and AC for kids, among other things.

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
The 46 will have a door next to the helm similar to the one pictured above on the Sabre 40.

Features We Like

Another feature we like on the new Sabre 46 is the door next to the Stidd helm chair. It opens from the forward side (and is hinged aft) so that the skipper can easily swing it open and step up onto the side deck. With this door the captain can quickly jump to the side deck to help with docking chores. And it is ideal for a single-handed skipper who can use the boat's joystick to glide into a slip, then pop on deck and tie up the boat in a few seconds himself or herself.

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
The master stateroom is amidships which is the most comfortable place below decks.

The folks at Sabre are proud of the fact that they have managed to get two staterooms with queen-sized beds into the 46, each with its own head and separate stall shower. We might add that they have also done a good job of providing hanging locker space in both of these cabins. Sabre has used Shoji screen doors on the boat wherever possible below to distribute natural light, a technique that has been used on large motoryachts for years (and it also saves weight). The boat comes standard with teak and holly cabin soles and cherry wood interior joinery.

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
The galley on the 46 is along the portside of the boat. Note the refer and microwave at the extreme left.


With the lazarette gone the question naturally arises as to where one will stow all of the fenders, dock lines, hoses, mops and wash buckets that are usually kept there. Sabre's designers have thought of that: There are designated spaces forward in the bow for a couple of fenders, plus all of the seats in the cockpit open up to provide loads of space for most of the stuff boaters usually squirrel away in the laz.

Made for Entertaining, Too

The cockpit has been carefully designed for both entertaining and easy movement. There is a transom door on the port side with low steps that make it easy for even grandma to get into the cockpit. The cockpit sole has been raised slightly to make way for the engines and drive units below and another benefit of that is only one step up to the salon.Most Sabre customers like the idea of having the aft end of the pilothouse open in good weather. Rather than using cruising canvas which is always a hassle to roll up and stow, Sabre has fitted the 46 with a window that retracts into the aft bulkhead when not wanted. The door to the cockpit is bi-fold which stows out of the way to port, leaving the whole aft end of the pilothouse open to the great outdoors.

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
Note the bi-fold doors, low-riser steps to the wide side decks, small step up to the pilothouse and recessed window in aft bulkhead.

Details of the Build

The hull is constructed with Airex C70 foam coring which is laminated with biaxial E-glass and resin-infused. This process is costly and time-consuming but it creates a lean glass-to-resin ratio that reduces weight. Airex core material is tried and true for over 40 years in the marine industry. Because it does not soak up water from osmosis Sabre uses it below the waterline without worry. It also does not "sugar" when laminates are in sheer which makes it a preferred hull coring material. Sabre's design and engineering staff are dedicated to removing as much weight from of their boats as possible. The heavier a boat the harder it is to push, the larger the engine must be, and the more fuel is consumed. As a result Sabre cores the boat's deck and superstructure with end-gain balsa, resin infuse virtually all of its major fiberglass parts, and even use polypropylene honeycomb material in the vessel's bulkheads. The result is a boat with a dry weight of 34,700 lbs. (15,740 kgs.)

Engine Talk

The 46 is powered by CMD (Cummins MerCruiser Diesel) QSC 8.3L engines which develop 550-hp each and drive through ZF pod drives. Twin 600-hp CMD 8.3s are available as an option but the folks at Sabre figure that the extra 100-hp will only produce an extra knot in speed, if that. The engines are controlled by single lever DTS (Digital Throttle & Shift) controls, otherwise known as fly-by-wire. The DTS is part of the CMD SmartCraft system which includes Vessel View display, giving you fuel consumption, range, temperature, gps, and fuel-to-destination among many other factoids. The now-famous joystick is located on the horizontal just abaft the controls.

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
The CMD 550-hp diesel engines being installed in hull #1 of the Sabre 46.

Most important of all perhaps -- since at least four different companies are involved with the manufacturer of the engines, joystick, computer software and hardware, pods, props, and the diesel engines -- CMD is taking full responsibility for the entire enchilada from joystick to props, according to a Sabre spokesperson. That means if there is a problem somewhere in the system, there is no finger pointing -- except at CMD.The boat was designed by Sabre's in-house team, headed by Kevin Burns; they wanted the Sabre 46 Salon Express to go as fast as possible without its costing more than a million dollars. The hull, with tunnels, was designed specifically for the Zeus pods to maximize their efficiency and boat speed. The bottom shape is a warped modified-V that has a deadrise of 23-degrees midships and 14-degrees at the transom. That seems to be the magic deadrise number for most designers who want fast boats with minimum power for offshore use.

Unanswered Questions

The questions everyone has are how fast will the 46 go with the 550s, what will be her best cruise speed, and what is her max range at both cruising and displacement speeds? Despite all of the figures we have seen floating around the Internet about the speed of the new Sabre 46 Salon Express, the fact is that hull #1 has yet to be launched and she has yet to be tested by anyone.

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
Let the sunshine in! Note standard high-low table and teak and holly cabin sole. The teak cockpit deck and Ultrasuede upholstery are both options.

The new Sabre 46 Salon Express comes standard with the CMD/Zeus pod and joystick system and conventional drives are not an option. The pod and joystick system with DTS, Vessel View and all of the rest of it is expensive -- something on the order of $100k of an up-charge. So the question naturally arises: is the added expense of the pod drives worth the money? After all, the prime market for the 46 is supposed to be traditional yachtsmen -- people who should have learned by now how to dock a boat with conventional inboard drives.Our observation after testing pod-drive boats for four years is that they are, indeed, 30% more fuel efficient at best cruise compared to conventional inboard propulsion. That translates to more miles per dollar and also greater range per tank of fuel. The joystick is great to have even if the owner doesn't really need it because the spouse might and the kids certainly will -- and we are firm believers that everyone should get their turn at the helm, not just Capt. Bligh. It is hard to put a price tag on having the whole family be able to participate in the operation of the boat.

What, No Rudders?

Certainly the space opened up under the pilothouse is worth something, such as possibly avoiding the necessity of buying an even bigger boat. But maybe one of the most valuable aspects of the pod drive systems is the handling of the vessel in rough offshore conditions and nasty inlet running.

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
Looking forward in the new Sabre 46 Salon Express. Access to the space in the "basement" is under the two seats to the left which slide out to the center of the salon.

Remember, the rudders on planing powerboats are small and are not effective in certain conditions. But pod drive systems have no rudders. The "rudders" are the thrust of the dual props on the two pods. In our opinion pod drives simply give the skipper greater control of the boat in all conditions, and a boatowner only needs to call on that attribute once to make the extra expense worth it.

Important Standard Equipment

In looking over the list of standard equipment we see several items that are often not included in boats of this size, or which we think are worth mentioning. Those items are: three-zone reverse heat and A/C system, Onan 13.5 kW generator, sliding windows on the cabin sides, 1-1/4" diameter safety rails on the side decks and bow, dual anchor rollers (for the real cruising yachtsmen), ss opening portlights, teak toe rails and teak cabin-side eyebrows (a "must-have" if you want the boat to look "right" and they're not that hard to keep up), three windshield wipers, gel-coated engine room interior surfaces, autopilot in the CMD control system, Glendenning 50' Cablemaster, Ocean Air screens/blinds on overhead hatches, and single Kahlenberg horn. One standard item that we had a question about is the molded bi-axial E-glass swim platform. While the platform is solid and strong, the weak points of swim platforms in a seaway are the struts, and the nuts and bolts on the transom which hold the platform in place. Having once had a solid swim platform ripped partially off 20 miles into the Atlantic years ago on another brand boat, we have come to prefer the traditional teak grate type of swim platform that lets the sea wash through it without stressing the fastenings.Sabre is aware of this potential problem in truly nasty conditions and has taken impressive measures to make sure the platform stays put. The fiberglass platform sits on a one-foot hull extension and is both mechanically and chemically affixed. Stainless steel struts support the aft end of the platform, and the aft corners of the platform have also been tapered to eliminate drag in turns.

Sabre Yachts 46 Salon Express
Both ensuite heads have separate shower stalls.

Optional Items to Consider

Items on the optional list that we would add for anything more than marina-to-marina cruising: fuel polishing system, Reverso oil changing system, Freeman Lift dinghy lift, dual Kahlenberg horns, hot and cold transom shower, saltwater wash down, and Splendide washer/dryer installed in the master stateroom (where it will be handy).Add to these items an inflatable tender with outboard engine, ground tackle, radar, gps, chartplotter, depth sounder, a VHF radio or two, and a few other things and this boat will be ready to go most anywhere.

The Cost of Cruising in Style

The base MSRP price of the Sabre 46 Salon Express is US$920,000. Add the optional items listed, plus the other necessary gear and you're at one big bean. But for that price you have a boat that can go most anywhere except across an ocean, which is not the mission of this yacht anyway. And you will be doing all of that in a boat you won't have to worry about and you can do it with pride. As someone once said -- you only live once. So perhaps the real question should be, what is the cost of missing the wonderful cruising lifestyle (in style)?

Marine Electronics

Autopilot Standard
GPS/Chart Standard


Air Cond./Heat Standard
Battery Charger/Converter Standard
CD Stereo Optional
Head: Fixed Standard
Shore Power Standard
Trim Tabs Standard
TV/DVD Standard
Washdown: Fresh Water Optional
Washdown: Raw Water Optional
Water Heater Standard
Windlass Standard


Icemaker Optional
Microwave Standard
Refrigerator Standard
Stove Standard

Exterior Features

Hardtop Standard
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
Swim Platform Standard
Transom Shower Optional
Wet bar Optional

Boats More Than 30 Feet

Generator Standard
Glendinning Cablemaster Standard
Oil Change System Optional
Washer/Dryer Optional
Washer/Dryer Optional


Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!


Pricing Range: $920,000.00

Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.