RAYMOND — Sabre Yachts cruised to another milestone this week after competing production on the 100th hull of its Sabre 48 series of luxury motor yacht.
The company has been building boats since 1978, when it began manufacturing 28-foot sailboats, and has made a name internationally with its Maine-made motor yachts. It has built almost 4,000 boats over the decades in their various lines, but company officials see the 100th yacht in the 48 series as an opportunity to celebrate their workers.
“It’s a good excuse to order pizza,” joked Daniel Zilkha, chief executive officer. “Like every family, we look for events to celebrate.”
Zilkha emphasized the sense of ownership and pride that employees feel for the boats that they carefully craft, saying, “they own these boats for a long time until they leave.”
The company held a celebration Thursday at its multi-building facility in Raymond as its 100th 48-foot yacht left on a trailer destined for its new owner.
“I think the 100th boat is as much an opportunity to recognize the work that we do every day as it is a milestone. It’s fantastic that we’ve hit 100 48s, but it’s an opportunity to recognize our work, ” said Aaron Crawford, president and chief operating officer.
Sabre Yachts employs over 150 people in the Lakes Region with a range of career backgrounds, including carpenters, electricians and plumbers. The pride that those workers feel for their products was evident during a tour of the Raymond facility last week.
Joe Lewis of Naples, who has been with Sabre for about a year and a half and started working on the 73rd boat in the 48 series, is one of two workers who put the finishing touches on the interior of the 100th boat.
“I think they’ll be more than happy with what they’ll get,” Lewis said about the owners taking possession of their new yacht. “I’ll think they’ll be ecstatic. Everyone who gets one should be.”
As for those new owners, they too seem to be buying in to the close-knit atmosphere at Sabre. They asked everyone who worked on the boat to sign a panel that goes in behind electrical equipment on the boat.
Wendy Herrick of Otisfield has seen a few milestones in her 20 years at Sabre, and seems to do a bit of everything when it comes to finishing the 48 series – including sealing, pouring and varnishing cabin tables, and working on gelcoat repair.
“Reaching 100 is a big deal,” said Herrick. “To reach that goal, you know, it’s amazing.”
The Sabre 48 costs just over $1.1 million at its base price, depending on what extras the owners want to add. The hull is actually too big to be manufactured at the Raymond facility, so production begins at Sabre’s sister company, Back Cove Yachts in Rockland, and then is shipped to Raymond where it is fused with the deck and finished with in-house woodwork and all the bells and whistles that come with a luxury yacht.
If Sabre occasionally feels like a family workplace, it might be because it literally is for some of the employees. Father and son Bruce and Neal Kelson, both of Harrison, work on the same line of yachts in Raymond.
“It’s actually weird because he worked here in the 70s and 80s, and then he left for a while to build houses, and came back right before I did,” said Neal. “You get to know people pretty well … It’s nice here, the whole Sabre family.”
Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.
The 100th hull in Sabre Yachts’ 48 series.
Sabre Yachts employee Joe Lewis, of Naples, shows off a hidden panel in the 100th hull of the company’s 48 series of luxury yacht. The owners of the boat asked each employee who worked on it to sign the panel.