March 31, 2015 (Updated February, 2017)
The popularity of traditional Downeast yachts has soared in recent years, that’s a fact. Once the domain of a few New England custom builders, today’s Downeast market is led by products from Hinckley, Sabre/Back Cove, and Grand Banks/Eastbay. For those with an interest in this diverse market, the models profiled below have been selected to represent a cross-section of the current Downeast brokerage market. Some are luxury-class cruising yachts, a few are pure dayboats, and all embody signature styling touches that add to their brand personality.
12 Classic Downeast Cruising Yachts with Worldwide Appeal
At a Glance: One of the most acclaimed yachts of her generation, an impressive mix of traditional Downeast styling and impeccable craftsmanship. Built on a modified deep-V hull with a short keel and prop pockets. The SX model has a fully enclosed salon while the HX version has semi-enclosed helm, i.e., no aft salon bulkhead. The Eastbay 49 offers an excellent turn of speed, exceptional blue water performance, and spacious and comfortable accommodations. If the Eastbay’s elegant two stateroom interior comes up a little short in salon space, her spacious semi-enclosed helm deck (where guests will certainly prefer to congregate) provides comfortable seating for a small crowd. Note the power-assist center windshield panel and teak swim platform. Cat 705hp Cat C12 diesels cruise at 24–26 knots (30+ top).
Price Range: From the mid $300s to low/mid $700s.
Sabre 48 Salon Express
Grand Banks 49 Eastbay SX/HX
At a Glance: Currently the best selling yacht in her class, a classic Downeast yacht of uncommon beauty and sophistication. An enclosed pilothouse with cherry joinery provides a weather-protected environment for cruising or entertaining, and large salon windows provide panoramic views of the water. The fully equipped galley and two double staterooms, each with a walkaround queen bed, are below. Two heads with showers separate the staterooms. The helm deserves special notice for it’s standard Stidd chair, joystick controls, and nearly unobstructed 360-degree sightlines. In the salon, an electrically operated window in the aft bulkhead drops down to open the area to the cockpit. Wide side decks make getting around easy. Cummins 550hp diesels with Zeus pod drives cruise at 26–27 knots (30+ top).
Price Range: From the high $800s to low $1 Million.
At a Glance: An enlarged version of Hinckley's iconic 36 Picnic Boat — old-world yachting elegance with sophisticated boat-building technology. The heart of the Talaria is her spacious semi-enclosed deckhouse with its posh furnishings and handcrafted teak joinery. Forward is the helm area (to starboard) and navigator chair to port. Aft of the port chair is a L-shaped settee with varnished teak table on an electric pedestal that can drop down and form an additional bunk with cushion. To starboard is a second L-shaped settee with a small bolster cushion forward. (The settees can be raised on hydraulic rams for access to the engines.) The Talaria was offered with one or two staterooms. Yanmar 420hp diesels matched to Hamilton waterjets cruise at 25 knots (28–30 knots top).
Price Range: From the mid $400s to about $600K.
Grand Banks 43 Eastbay SX/HX
Hinckley Talaria 44 EX
At a Glance: An enduring classic — easily one of the most popular Downeast yachts in this class. More than just a beautiful yacht, the sunning appearance of the 43 Eastbay makes her stand out in any harbor. She rides on a Hunt-designed modified deep-V hull which provides fast cruising and exceptional open-water comfort. Her spectacular teak interior joinery is second to none. The Eastbay’s near-perfect distribution of space offers a generous cockpit, spacious helm deck, large salon (in the SX version), and galley below with two staterooms and a roomy head with stall shower. Her versatility make her ideal for day boating, weekending, or extended cruising by a couple or family. Beginning in 2006, the salon/helm area is are is open to the lower deck—no hatch. Yanmar 440hp diesels cruise at 24–25 knots (high 20s top).
Price Range: From the mid $200s to $400K-plus.
At a Glance: A beautifully styled cruising yacht with a semi-enclosed helm and luxury-class amenities — Sabre always builds a great yacht. Traditional two stateroom interior is an elegant blend of satin-finished cherry cabinetry, posh leather upholstery, and a beautiful teak-and-holly sole. The forward owner’s stateroom was offered with an island queen berth or V-berths, and the starboard guest stateroom contains a double berth. Both cabins share a common head with a circular shower stall. On the downside, the galley is on the small size for a boat this size. A transom door, teak decks, and foldaway transom seat are standard. Yanmar (or Cummins) 500hp inboard diesels cruise 22–23 knots (high 20s top). Newer models with 425hp Cummins diesels with Zeus pod drives cruise at 24–26 knots. (Called the Sabreline 42 until 2007.)
Price Range: From the mid $300s to the mid $400s.
Sabre 40 Sedan; 42 Salon
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
At a Glance: One of Sabre’s best selling yachts, a solid mix of classic Downeast styling and state-of-the-art construction. Sabre was one of the first Downeast builders to take advantage of efficient pod drive technology—a feature that has much to do with the enduring popularity of this yacht. With her large cockpit, enclosed pilothouse/salon, and spacious two-stateroom layout, the 42 Salon is the consummate cruising and entertaining yacht. The salon includes an L-shaped settee with inlaid table, side-by-side Stidd chairs, dinette, and a step-down galley open to the salon. The opening door at the helm is a nice touch. Forward of the galley is a full head/shower to port and a guest cabin/office to starboard. Cummins 380hp diesels with Zeus pod drives cruise at 24–25 knots. The Sabre 42 FB Sedan is the same boat with a flybridge.
Price Range: From high $400s to the low $800s.
At a Glance: Successor to Hinckley's super popular 36 Picnic Boat. Both are essentially day boats with large cockpits and relatively small interiors, and both come with Hinckley’s JetStick steering and control system incorporating waterjet propulsion and a bow thruster. Narrow of beam, the fully cored hull of the Talaria 40 is notable for its high-tech composite construction and generous tumblehome at the transom. She sleeps two comfortably and includes an enclosed head with shower and full-service galley. There are port and starboard settees in the pilothouse as well as two forward-facing Stidd seats . Both the cockpit and pilothouse are on a single level. With her shallow draft, the Talaria is a great boat for exploring bays and inlets. Yanmar 480hp diesels matched to Hamilton waterjets cruise at 26–28 knots (low 30s top).
Price Range: From $500K to $800K-plus.
Grand Banks 38 Eastbay EX
Hinckley Talaria 40
At a Glance: The first Eastbay model — this is the boat that launched Grand Banks in an all-new direction. The quality and care with which the Eastbay 38 EX was constructed is clearly evident from her varnished teak toerails to her finely finished interior. Stepping up from the large cockpit, the 38’s expansive helm deck includes a bench seat and teak table to port and a custom Stidd chair at the helm. Forward, the main cabin features a full-service galley to port and convertible U-shaped seating opposite. The head/shower is located to port on the way to the master stateroom which was available with standard V-berths or a center island berth. A transom door and teak swim platform were standard. The 38 HX has a hardtop and semi-enclosed helm deck.) Top speeds of 30+ knots were achievable. Over 130 were built.
Price Range: From the mid $100s to the high $200s.
At a Glance: An innovative Downeast yacht — over 100 were reportedly sold. The styling is unique. Twin doors built into the reverse transom can open wide enough to haul a dinghy into the cockpit for storage. A life raft, bikes, or kayak can lie atop the hardtop, and extra-wide side decks provide seating space along both sides of the cockpit. Built on high-tech hull with a deep forefoot and skeg-mounted rudder, the deck plan includes a sliding seat arrangement at the dinette that expands seating from four to six people while also converting to a double berth at night. A “sleeping loft” for young children is located above the V-berths, and the galley is positioned aft in the semi-enclosed pilothouse where it’s convenient to the cockpit. A bow thruster is standard. A single 480hp Yanmar diesel will cruise the True North 38 at 20 knots (24–26 knots top)
Price Range: From mid/high $100s to mid $200s.
Sabre 38 Express
Pearson True North 38
At a Glance: A sophisticated blend of classic Downeast styling and meticulous craftsmanship in a cruising yacht of exceptional beauty. The focal point of the 38 Express is her semi-enclosed helm deck with its Stidd helm and companion chairs, sliding glass side windows, and wet bar with refrigerator and ice maker. Stepping below, the satin-finished cherry interior adds to the Sabre’s sense of luxury. The owner’s stateroom forward has a centerline queen berth and sliding privacy door, making it both comfortable and easy to access. The head (with separate stall shower) can be reached from both the salon and stateroom. The salon is configured with an L-shaped settee with a maple-inlaid table that forms a guest berth. Note the screened hatches in the hardtop.Wide side decks make bow access very secure. Yanmar 440hp diesels cruise at 25–26 knots (30+ top).
Price Range: From the low $200s to high $300s.
At a Glance: Another Back Cove success story — more than just beautiful, this single-engine cruiser is fuel efficient, easy to handle, and beautifully finished. The galley-up layout is ideal for two couples. An island queen bed in found in the forward stateroom, and a double berth in the (smallish) guest stateroom. The large head includes a separate stall shower. Opposite the galley are two Stidd chairs for the helmsman and guest, and aft of the helm is an L-shaped settee with adjustable table and a shorter settee opposite to port. The 37’s enclosed salon is surrounded by large windows, and an overhead hatch provides ventilation. Folding doors completely open up the salon to the cockpit with its built-in seating and centerline transom door. A single 480hp Cummins QSB engine delivers a top speed of 24–26 knots.
Price Range: From the high $200s to high $500s.
Hinckley 36 Picnic Boat
Back Cove 37
At a Glance: A breakthrough design that led to many imitators — Hinckley built over 450 (!) of these elegant waterjet-powered yachts. With a mere 19 inches of draft the Picnic Boat can be safely operated in very shallow water. The long, open cockpit is an excellent entertainment platform (the centerline engine box can be used as a seat or table), and the semi-enclosed helm allows her to be enjoyed even in poor weather conditions. Belowdecks, the varnished mahogany interior contains a V-berth, compact galley, and a big head compartment—upscale, if basic, accommodations for a cruising couple. On the downside, the cabin headroom is a bit less than 6 feet. An extended pilothouse (EP) version became available in 2001. Cruise at 20 knots with a 350hp Yanmar diesel; 22–24 knots with a 440hp Yanmar.
Price Range: From $100K to $400K-plus.