ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — One of Maine’s best known yacht builders literally rolled out a new model on Monday, and people on the streets of Rockland were given a close-up view.
The 66-foot boat is built by Sabre Yachts at its plant in Rockland. The big boat –the largest Sabre has ever built– made the two mile trip by truck through the downtown to Journey’s End Marina on the city waterfront. Traffic had to be stopped at intersections, and a small fleet of utility trucks moved along the route, lifting wires so the 19-foot high boat could pass safely underneath.
The yacht, which the buyer intends to name “Prevail”, is the first of the company’s “Dirigo” line of vessels to be completed. Sabre vice president Bentley Collins said they have five more 66-footers on order. He said it will take two years to complete those boats.
Sabre is well known for high-end production motor yachts, but the Dirigo line is much larger than any of the company’s other models. Collins said several customers asked if Sabre would build a larger yacht, which prompted the firm to design the new model. The yacht has Sabre’s hallmarks of elegant interior finish work, including a master stateroom that spans the full 19-foot width of the hull. It also features twin Volvo 950 HP diesel engines, each connected to special drive units that can propel the boat in any direction. That elegance and technology come with a hefty price tag.
Collins said the yacht will cost $3.3 million dollars when it’s complete and in the water. But he added there is a lot of interest in the boats, and that Sabre should be able to capture enough of that small U.S. market for 64 to 66 foot luxury yachts to continue building three per year.
The new project is also helping create new jobs. Sabre built a new production line, specifically for the 66-footer, in the Rockland plant of its subsidiary Back Cove Yachts. Bentley Collins of Sabre says the Rockland facility now employs 200 people working on Sabre and Back Cove, boats and Sabre’s Raymond facility employs another 150 workers.
The project has also created jobs and investment at Journey’s End, where the new yachts will have their finish paint and exterior varnish applied, electronics installed and other final work completed. The marina also bought a special hydraulic trailer, described as the largest in New England, to haul the new yachts from the plant to the harbor.
Sabre said the yachts can only travel a short distance on the highway. So the plan is to launch each vessel into Rockland Harbor, and then sail it to the final destination, or to a port when it can be loaded on an even larger ship and delivered elsewhere. The first boat, “Prevail”, will sail to Miami in January, and be exhibited at the Miami boat show before delivery to the new owner.