ROCKLAND, Maine — Aaron Crawford said he was hearing from customers of Sabre Yachts that they wanted something bigger than the company’s flagship 54-foot-long boat.
The company saw an opportunity and over the past 2½ years designed, developed and built the 66-foot Sabre Dirigo. The prototype yacht left the company’s manufacturing plant on Moran Drive in Rockland’s Industrial Park early Monday morning and made its way to the newly built O’Hara Corporation’s Journey’s End paint facility.
The approximate 3-mile journey from the Industrial Park to the Journey’s End waterfront facility off Tillson Avenue created an engineering challenge of its own. In the end the company said the coordinated effort of Central Maine Power, FairPoint and the Rockland Police Department made for a seamless and easy move that took about 90 minutes.
O’Hara purchased a custom-made boat trailer to allow the 66-foot yacht to ride lower on the road so fewer utility lines would need to be raised. The yacht also was escorted by a Rockland police cruiser and several utility company workers and trucks.
The yacht, which cost a little more than $3 million, will be painted at Journey’s End and then launched in January, when it will be delivered by sea to its new owner in Florida.
Crawford, chief operating officer for Sabre Yachts, said seven of the yachts already have been ordered.
The interior of the boat, such as furniture, is built at Sabre’s woodworking facility in the southern Maine town of Raymond. Those components are then shipped to Rockland, where the Back Cove yachts are built by Sabre and North End Composites in Rockland,
Sabre and North End together employ 350 people.
The Sabre Dirigo is the “first American built, downeast-style motor yacht of this size to be introduced to the market,” according to Sabre Yacht’s website.
“From her functional foredeck to her spacious and comfortable cockpit, she is every bit a Sabre. The best deck hardware, on-deck walking surfaces that are safe and secure, hand holds wherever they are needed, all speak to Sabre’s 45-year history of building boats for people who know boats, and know how they should be equipped,” the website states.
The 18,000-square-foot paint facility, where the yacht was being delivered, was completed during the past year by the O’Hara Corporation, replacing a former fish processing plant that had been built in 1900 and operated as a fish plant until 1990.