Friday, December 23, 2016

Business spotlight - Sabre Yachts - By Michelle Libby

When one thinks of luxury yachts, Casco, Maine, doesn’t often come to mind, but it should. Nestled on the Raymond-Casco border Sabre Yachts creates boats that are synonymous with quality, craftsmanship and extravagance. They have a team that takes pride in their work, and the final product. 

In 1970, Sabre completed its first sailboat. When the market began to change in the early 2000s, Sabre began introducing power boats into the production line. Now they build power boat models from 38-feet to 66-feet in length. The last Sabre sailboat was built in 2012. 

“We’ve been building boats in the lakes region for coming up on 50 years and we’re growing,” said marketing assistant Jamie Beaudoin Governale. “That’s huge for a manufacturing industry.”
The boats take their inspiration from traditional Maine lobster boats, but with luxury amenities. “There’s a lot of connection to that heritage,” she added. 

Sabre Yachts is growing with the addition of the newest boat, a 45-footer that just fits into the manufacturing building in Casco. The craftsmen do a delicate dance to move the boat along the production line, and with the new size boat, they have inches to spare when they “deck the boat”, meaning putting the top onto the bottom. The first 45-foot boat should be completed sometime in January. 

Sabre is hiring associates who have Downeast pride, meaning those who learn their craft and continually improve on what they produce. Many of the associates have been working at Sabre for 10 to 20 years, and according to Governale, many of them keep notebooks to take notes on how they can do their jobs better. In a “want based industry” to be looking to hire new associates is a good thing. They are looking for team members with experience in carpentry, electrical, assembly and fiberglass work. 

Sabre employs 300 people in the State of Maine from Casco to Rockland, where they have another manufacturing facility and a sister company called Back Cove Yachts. 

“We’re looking for good people to come to the team. We especially need carpenters because demand is so high,” said Governale. Training is available for the right person. The associates have great benefits and work a four day week. The team considers themselves family. “We want you to come to stay and be here forever,” she added. “You can look at the boats, see the hours, time and craftsmanship. It becomes so much more than a boat. It crosses the line into artistry.”

The yachts at Sabre offer a steady, gentle ride. It’s great for older buyers who were once sailors and want the freedom they have on the water to continue with less work than sailing. One option for the boats is a gyro-stabilizer called a Seakeeper that keeps the boat from rocking too much, said Governale. 

Each boat that goes through the facility is labeled with who the boat will be shipped to whether it’s a family or a dealership, the associates know who the boat will be shipped to. “It belongs to somebody,” said Governale. It makes creating the beautiful boat that much more special because it’s going to a specific family or dealership, then to a family. 

Sometimes the owners do special things for the craftsmen who work on their boats. One couple bought T-shirts for all of the associates with their hull number on the shirt. Another couple invited the craftsmen onto their boat for the day once it was in the water.

Sabre Yachts is run by CEO Daniel Zilkha and COO Aaron Crawford, who will also take over the role of president in 2017. 
For those looking for employment, Sabre is looking for those with a sense of teamwork, dedicated to creating a great product and passionate about what they are doing. 

For those looking to purchase a Sabre Yacht, dealers are selling all of the models, however, there is a waitlist until 2018 to customize a boat from the ground up. The boats are also sold in Australia, Belgium and Canada as well as in the United States. A new boat leaves the facility every 10 to 14 days. 

Those who would like to apply for a job are encourage to walk in to the office on Hawthorne Road off Route 302 in South Casco or apply online at www.SabreYachts/contact.

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