In a serendipitous turn of events, a yacht broker from Connecticut played a part in reuniting a historic guitar with its maker…
Sabre & Back Cove Yachts recently hosted our dealer meeting in Nashville, TN with representatives from our dealerships around the country & the world.
Why did a Maine-based boatbuilder host an event in Nashville? Well, there are a couple good reasons! The first is that logistically-speaking, it is a relatively central location as we have a strong network of dealers all over… Secondly, and much more interestingly, there is a family connection between Sabre and Back Cove and Gibson. Our Chairman, Daniel Zilkha, has lead Sabre since the early 1990’s and Back Cove since its inception, while his son, Nat Zilkha, is the current Chairman of Gibson Guitars. Talk about a really neat connection between two iconic American manufacturing brands from very different industries!
Part of the trip included a night at the Gibson Garage to celebrate our dealers and give out the Dealer & Broker of the Year awards. As a part of the evening, we were treated to an incredible behind the scenes tour of the Garage with Mark Agnesi, Gibson’s Director of Brand Experience. One of the folks on the tour with us was the 2023 Back Cove Broker of the Year, Joe Nadeau, from Petzold’s Marine Center in CT. Joe was also part of the group that toured the Gibson manufacturing facility while we were in town.
Joe Nadeau, 2023 Back Cove Broker of the Year, and his wife, Nancy, at the Gibson Garage
Shortly after returning home, he stumbled across something quite interesting… Nadeau was browsing Facebook Marketplace when he came across a 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG Custom that had once belonged to Mary Ford. Ford was a singer and guitarist who, along with her husband Les Paul, was one of the most popular musical acts of the 1950s.
“I don’t really play the guitar but am interested in the instrument, so I look for old guitars on Facebook Marketplace occasionally. One day while browsing something caught my eye, it was a 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG Custom, and it had been owned by one Mary Ford… the Mary Ford guitar popped up in my search because the owner lives within five miles of my home! The owner lives in close by and is a guitar collector and local business owner.
I’m very familiar with the story of Les Paul and Mary Ford, they were musical superstars of their day back in the 1950’s with several #1 hits. Their story is quite interesting! I knew the guitar was significant in musical history and especially in Gibson’s history. Mark Agnesi was so nice and we enjoyed the Gibson tour so much that I immediately thought he’d be interested. I tracked down his email and sent him the link to the owner’s contact information, he jumped on it right away. The seller drove it down to Nashville and really enjoyed the experience.”
It’s not every day that you stumble upon something as historic as this guitar, especially right after getting the behind the scenes tour at Gibson. To be able to play a part in returning that guitar to the brand for display in the Music City is truly special!
The guitar is now on display at the Gibson Garage, where it is a reminder of the company’s rich history and its association with some of the most important musicians of all time.
And in case you haven’t seen it, here’s a little video recap of our trip to Nashville and the Gibson Garage…
There is a certain standard we hold ourselves to as Maine boatbuilders, and we have an expectation of quality and performance that must be met by every single component of every Back Cove that goes out the doors and into the hands of our owners… When our partners expect the same out of their own products, it leads to some very exciting opportunities to give owners an even better experience on the water!
One of those opportunities has come in the form of the newly released engine option from our friends at Mercury Marine – The Mercury 5.7L V10 Verado outboards – which continue the legendary Verado engine familyʼs legacy of providing premium marine performance. With the strength of the outboard segment’s first V10 naturally aspirated powerhead, they deliver extraordinary power and capabilities so you can confidently explore beyond the horizon. Take command of the water with innovative SmartCraft® technologies and advanced digital controls that make boating effortless. Exceptionally smooth, quiet, and refined, Verado outboards transform your boating experience.
And the best part is that these engines are now available on the Back Cove line of outboards, the award-winning 34O and 39O!
When Mercury Marine announced the outboard segment’s first V10 naturally aspirated powerhead, there was a ton of buzz around the idea of putting them on our own line of outboards. Last week, our team had the chance to sea trial the newest Back Cove 34O equipped with twin Mercury 5.7L V10 400hp Verados. The design and engineering crew headed out alongside the team of boatbuilders to ensure that everything met our standards, and the results were telling… let’s just say there is a lot of excitement around what they saw!
Some of the highlights of the Mercury V10 Verados include:
Effortless Operation Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) controls deliver smooth, quiet shifting and instant throttle response with zero hesitation. You can further enhance handling and performance with available Electric Steering for multi-engine boats.
Exceptionally Smooth & Quiet The rugged, refined Advanced MidSection (AMS) mounting system cradles the powerhead to isolate vibration. Industry-leading technologies minimize noise, vibration, and harshness and ensure the V10 Verado outboards deliver an unsurpassed boating experience that delights the senses without overpowering them. At idle, cruise, and wide-open throttle, they’re quieter than all other outboards in their class.
Adaptive Speed Control The Adaptive Speed Control feature lets you maintain engine rpm despite changes in load or conditions. Climbing large swells is easier. Cruising at low speeds is smoother. Carving out tight turns is effortless.
Precision Gearcase At high speeds, the hydrodynamic gearcase slips effortlessly through the water, maximizing efficiency and enhancing stability. At low speeds, its large-diameter Revolution X™ prop powerfully grips the water, giving you confident, authoritative handling around the docks while providing instant hole shots when it’s time to move.
Advanced Sound Control Choose the sound that moves you with the industry-exclusive Advanced Sound Control feature. It lets you toggle between a whisper-quiet exhaust tone or a throatier growl at startup and idle for those times you truly want to hear the horsepower.
Lightweight & Efficient Calibrated to deliver full performance on 87-octane fuel, with efficiency-enhancing features such as a closed-loop fuel system and Advanced Range Optimization (ARO) that help extend your range. A durable aluminum engine block and weight-saving cowl materials further enhance performance by minimizing weight on the transom.
Thrilling Speed & Acceleration V10 Verado outboards shift your expectations of what high-horsepower performance feels like. They come to life with impressively responsive power, propelling you to sensational top speeds.
…and now with fully-electric power steering!
Electric Advantage With no hydraulics, you get more space in the utility compartment of your boat and a cleaner transom installation. Electric Steering also minimizes noise and distraction – a meaningful benefit for Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) applications when the engines actively hold the boat in position or maneuver the vessel.
Power Savings An efficient design consumes less than half the electrical power as electro-hydraulic steering, leaving more power for running your favorite onboard accessories.
And the best part is, you’re fully covered. Right down to the controls and gauges. When your builder or dealer uses genuine Mercury gauges and controls when installing a new engine(s) on your boat, the warranty coverage for those rigging components matches the total warranty of your engine.
Once again, the 2022 Newport International Boat Show kicked off our fall boat show season, and as expected, it was a great time!
We were welcomed to Newport for pre-show preparation by monsoon-like conditions. Our home for the week became waterfront property as the downpour combined with high tide led to flooding in the streets. Boat shows involve all sorts of moving parts, and a small delay can cause major challenges, so despite the weather, we met the elements head-on.
Move-in went smoothly and all the boats made it into their positions. By the time we dried ourselves out the storms were moving out and the perfect New England fall weather was settling in for the weekend.
Many hands do make light work… the Back Cove and Sabre display went up quickly with a team of folks from our dealer network helping out. From there, the team went through final preparation to ensure we were ready for the gates to open on show day #1.
Each year, thousands of people make their way to Newport and down onto the docks to get a first-hand look at some of the best, highest-quality boats on the market. Our display featured a 3-model line-up, with the Back Cove 34O, 39O, and 372 on the docks. The clock hit 10:00am on Thursday morning and the first wave of attendees funneled down the ramp, many of whom made a beeline towards us. The traffic on the docks stayed steady all day. That evening, we hosted a get-together at the display, serving delicious charcuterie, good drinks, and great conversation amongst all those who attended. It was a treat to host such a wide variety of folks from the Back Cove & Sabre families. There were boat owners, dealers and brokers, vendor partners, friends, family, and more in attendance, and we’re so grateful for all who came out.
The display stayed busy over the course of the rest of the show. It was not uncommon to hear vocal appreciation of the boats, comments about the quality and craftsmanship as well as the practicality of the designs were echoed by many of the visitors. Hearing those things reaffirms that we have an incredibly talented and thoughtful team, and is a testament to their hard work and dedication. Another thing that sets this team apart is their commitment to growth, and that was demonstrated shortly after our return from the show. After the customary “How was the show?”, the follow-up questions from the team were focused on what feedback we heard about how we can get better.
While we have another year until next year’s Newport show, we’re gearing up for the 2022 United States Powerboat Show in Annapolis, MD. You can find us on the F2 Docks from October 6th-9th, so if you’re in the area, please come and see us!
Back Cove Yachts completed production on our 1000th yacht late last month, marking the latest in an impressive string of milestones.
Though we haven’t yet reached our 20th birthday, the Back Cove team’s artistry has led to a worldwide reputation as a manufacturer of elegant and seaworthy vessels. Despite a challenging fifteen-month period dominated by a public health crisis, a reduced workforce, and ongoing supply-chain interruptions, we are thrilled to be celebrating several important milestones.
Back Cove 39O off Portland Maine
After an initial pause in production due to a temporary mandated closure of our facility, our production team took up the task of building the prototype Back Cove 39O. Launched in the autumn of 2020, the 39O took the boating market by storm and has already won recognition as the quietest and fastest Back Cove to date. Our latest model will make her official global debut at the upcoming Newport International Boat Show in September, having made several regional premieres at limited-access events through the winter.
Late in 2020, we reached another landmark as we completed the 200th Back Cove 37. Following an uninterrupted run of more than eleven years, this ultra-popular model was due for a refresh and, after careful consideration of owner feedback, the redesigned Back Cove 372 was announced in March of 2021. The new 372 maintains all the best-loved features of the classic Back Cove 37 while incorporating cutting-edge materials and components that were unavailable ten years ago. She is expected to make her public debut at the 2021 United States Powerboat Show in Annapolis.
Back Cove 372 (rendering)
Early 2021 brought the next benchmark, as we finished the 100th Back Cove 41. Another long-time favorite among our customer family, the ongoing success of our inboard line speaks to the quality craftsmanship and nautically sensible design that forms the foundation of our product line. Since her launch in 2014, the Back Cove 41 has earned popularity among long-range cruisers and weekenders alike, and no wonder. Her single-engine straight-shaft propulsion achieves a 26+ knot cruise using just 28.6 gallons of diesel an hour, with a resultant range of 330 nautical miles.
Finally, in May of 2021, we completed our 1000th overall build with hull #005 of the Back Cove 39O. In some respects, reaching 1000 boats denotes another kind of milestone for our relatively young company. Back Cove Yachts may have begun in 2003 as a “little sister” to long-established Sabre Yachts, but our award-winning lineup of elegant and user-friendly Downeast yachts has earned an expansive family of loyal customers. With 1000 completed yachts under our collective belts, it’s safe to say Back Cove has established a legacy of our own.
The 1000th Back Cove – Back Cove 39O hull #005
Lamination supervisor, Dean Hale, had the following to say about the recent accomplishments:
“It has been truly amazing to see the growth and evolution of the boats we build. Every new model that has come out has brought something new to the shop and continues to be exciting. Having been with the company for ten years, I think it is amazing to see the progress and growth that we have had in such a short time.” – Dean Hale
Today, we celebrate that Back Cove Yachts has become a big name in the small world of luxury boatbuilders. Alongside our sister-brand, Sabre Yachts, we have the honor of employing more than 300 Maine craftspeople, from carpenters and composite technicians to mechanics and electricians, whose passion and talent are directly responsible for our ongoing success. We would also like to take this opportunity to offer our sincerest thanks to our network of dealerships, vendor partners, customers, and friends. The support of the extended Back Cove family is, without a doubt, the magic ingredient in our recent achievements and will undoubtedly be key to our future accomplishments.
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The Back Cove 372 will feature an aft-facing cockpit seat with a folding armrest, a new bi-fold door & window system, a redesigned helm pod, and a black windshield liner, among other innovations.
The Back Cove 37 was launched in 2009 and has enjoyed an eleven-plus-year uninterrupted run resulting in more than 200 hulls. Often the life of a model is dictated by the longevity of the parts and tools used to make her, but the unprecedented popularity of the Back Cove 37 has already seen her through one rebuild of essential molds and tools. Now, the Back Cove Design Team will incorporate customer feedback and advancing technology to put a new spin on this Back Cove classic, resulting in the newly redesigned Back Cove 372.
“In 2007, the Back Cove Design Team embarked on a project which would ultimately be introduced 14 months later as the Back Cove 37. Over time, the BC37 became one of our most beloved models – a point illustrated by the 12-year uninterrupted production run during which the design remained largely unchanged from those original 2007 concepts. For years, we have enjoyed hearing from our 37 Owners about the boat’s legendarily friendly ride and hull characteristics and listened intently to every suggestion for improvement. In 2020, the production molds used to build the 37’s composite parts finally surrendered to boatbuilding wear and tear and needed to be taken off line for rehabilitation. We took this opportunity to reexamine the 37 with all of that owner feedback and our recent design advancements in mind. The Back Cove team gathered together to apply all of our “pent up” good ideas and recognized that the resulting boat really deserved its own designation – enter the 372. The Back Cove 372 is full of fresh details that are tailored to today’s cruising and boating lifestyles, yet it retains the classic character and heart of a proven winner.”
– Kevin Burns, VP of Product Development & Design
Building upon the most popular elements of the Back Cove 37, the Back Cove 372 will feature:
The redesigned Back Cove 372 will preserve the elegant and nautically-sensible layout of the ultra-popular Back Cove 37.
A more efficient 24V DC electrical system with less copper weight will increase run time on the bow and optional stern thrusters by slowing the rate at which components might overheat. This upgrade also allows Back Cove to offer a Volvo D8 engine option, which is not available for a 12V control system.
Standard and Optional Power
The updated 372 will feature the Cummins QSC 8.3 600hp diesel engine with a 7” display as standard and a Volvo Penta D8 diesel with a 7” Garmin display as an option. This adjustment is the direct result of owner preference, with more than 95% of Back Cove 37 owners opting for a larger-than-standard engine since 2009.
A SidePower SE 100 bow thruster offers greater control and precision than the original SE 80 series. Her stern-thruster will remain the same but will benefit significantly from the 24V upgrade. Additionally, the new 24V DC electrical system provides a longer run time and reduces the speed at which thrusters will overheat. As a result, owners facing difficult docking situations due to wind, current, or crowding, will experience a tangible difference in maneuverability.
Glare Reduction & Redesigned Helm Pod
Borrowing from the successful Back Cove 39O feature, the Back Cove Design Team has incorporated a black windshield liner and upholstered helm pod to reduce glare. Her redesigned helm pod takes further advantage of this anti-glare feature while providing more space for navigation electronics and offering a new storage drawer for necessary items. The helm of the 372 features an entirely new layout, increased wheel height, and incorporates a high-pressure laminate for stain-resistance and durability, among other improvements.
A wooden-framed Smart TV and Fusion stereo system enhance the entertainment systems onboard while leaving her much-loved layout unchanged.
Back Cove has largely eliminated traditional aluminum window frames on the 372. Fixed glazed windows in the pilothouse will enhance sightlines and replace the sliding windows. The windshield will incorporate a framed center window with opening appliances for smoother and easier operation.
The Back Cove 372 will introduce a wooden-framed 32” Smart TV in the salon for enhanced visibility and convenience. She will also feature an upgraded Fusion Apollo stereo system.
Cockpit and Salon Door
The focal point of the Back Cove 372’s new cockpit design is a fixed aft-facing seat with folding armrest outboard complete with drink holder. This feature fulfills a frequently noted desire among Back Cove 37 owners while increasing seating in the well-proportioned cockpit. A new salon door to port with a bi-fold window to starboard (above the aft-facing seat) adjoins the two social spaces without sacrificing seating or sightlines. The result is an upgraded variation on Back Cove’s iconic and versatile blending of interior and exterior for optimal enjoyment in all weather conditions.
A reconfigured head in the Back Cove 372 results in an expanded medicine cabinet, a sizeable over-sink mirror, and a redesigned shower stall. A solid-surface has been added to the shower seat (eliminating the in-seat access hatch), while a storage cubby has been added on the shower stall’s outboard facing wall. Pictured below, the new arrangement optimizes this essential space’s comfort and function and is sure to enhance the experience of owners and guests spending time aboard.
The Back Cove 372’s reconfigured head features an expanded medicine cabinet, large over-sink mirror, a redesigned show stall, and more.
Optional EPS Steering
The EPS Steering option on the new Back Cove 372 will replace the Power-Assist option found on the Back Cove 37. The captain will quickly appreciate the increased precision and control at the helm, as well as the color display showing rudder position, programmable/proportional lock to lock turns, and wheel resistance proportional to vessel speed.
Optional MakeFast Shade
This newly available, deployable cockpit shade enhances coverage of outdoor living spaces from the salon door to the swim platform. The built-in tension system and lightweight carbon fiber poles make both set up and storage a breeze.
Optional Teak Cockpit Tables
Optional triangular tables of unfinished teak (for maximum durability) transform the cockpit into the perfect spot for morning coffee or an afternoon snack beneath the cockpit awning.
Last month’s announcement of the new Back Cove 372 caused quite a stir, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about her overwhelmingly positive reception. This update will answer two of our most-asked questions from the last month – read on for more details!
Fixed-Glazed Window Operation
After announcing the updates to the Back Cove 372 (above) there was some concern around the switch to fixed-glazed windows. We are pleased to assure you that these pilothouse windows *do* open. In fact, the vertical latch alignment makes operation smooth and easy. The pilothouse window is bonded directly to the pilothouse (just like a car windshield) and the opening section is inside the perimeter of the glass.
Note: We created this demo video onboard the Back Cove 39O, however, the Back Cove 372 will use the same windows.
Deployable Cockpit Shade (Option)
The optional deployable cockpit shade (made by Makefast) is one of the most exciting additions to the list of Back Cove 372 options. Many readers will have seen this shade onboard the Back Cove 39O, and now our Design Team has released renderings of the shade as it will be arranged on board the Back Cove 372!
Production has begun on the prototype hull of the newly redesigned Back Cove 372, and we can’t wait for the finished result. We are pleased to announce that the first hull has been successfully pulled from the mold (stay tuned for regular production updates as the build progresses). Long-time readers will be very familiar with the process depicted below, but we’ll run down the steps for our new readers!
First, the hull mold is prepared (cleaned and waxed) to ensure a smooth and easy release. The more the mold is used and worn the more difficult it becomes to release a part, which is why the Back Cove 37/372 hull mold was re-tooled (a new mold made with the exact same geometry as the original) several years ago. When the mold is prepped and ready, the fun part begins. During the “layup” stage the dry components of the hull are stacked one atop the other from the outside in, meaning the first thing to go into the mold is the gelcoat.
Following the gelcoat is a layer of “chop” – short strands of fiberglass that both protect the gelcoat during the layup process and help to ensure a fair finish on the completed hull. Next, sheets of fiberglass are laid into the mold so the weave of each layer runs perpendicular to the weave of the layer before, ensuring optimal strength throughout the hull. These layers are temporarily tacked into place with adhesive spray to prevent any shifting or movement.
Back Cove Yachts also dry-installs our hull stringers, a practice that is not always possible for other manufacturers (including our sister company, Sabre Yachts) due to the size and/or weight of their hulls. By infusing the stringers with the rest of the hull, Back Cove creates astoundingly strong hulls that are also remarkably light.
With all the dry materials in place, the layup stage is complete and it’s time for infusion!
The hull is carefully bagged and an air-tight seal is created around the entire part. A vacuum is used to create a negative pressure system within the mold which draws resin through the part using a complex series of tubing and valves. This process ensures that the resin is evenly distributed preventing dry spots and over-saturation. After the vacuum process, the Lamination department carefully monitors the temperature to ensure it cures perfectly.
Finally, it’s time for the big reveal! When the hull is fully cured the Back Cove production team uses a series of chains and winches to lift the completed hull from the mold, revealing a beautifully fair surface and pristine gelcoat.
The finished hull is lowered into a cradle and transported to the next phase of the production process! We hope you’ll continue to follow along with us, as there’s truly nothing quite like watching a prototype hull make the transition from idea to finished product. Our team of craftspeople is second to none, and they give every ounce of their enthusiasm and skill to their work, whether they’re building the first hull of a brand new model, or wrapping up the 1000th Back Cove.
Production continues on the redesigned Back Cove 372 – Her Volvo D8 600 MHP engine was installed earlier this month, but that’s not all! We are thrilled to announce that the Back Cove 372 officially has a deck!
It has been a challenging road for our production team, and words cannot express our gratitude and respect for each and every one of them. They have approached material and manpower shortages with the same unflappable (and characteristically Downeast) attitude as they might when considering snow in the winter. Through “thick and thin” they’ve continued to apply their considerable skills and done so with a smile on their faces, proving once again that they are the heart and soul of the entire Back Cove operation.
We are quickly approaching one of the most exciting milestones for any new model – the Splash and Engineering Trials. Stay tuned on the Back Cove Newsletter for all the latest updates, and details on how you can see her for yourself at the upcoming United States Powerboat Show!
The Back Cove 372 is expected to splash late this summer and make her boat show debut at the United States Powerboat Show (Annapolis, Maryland) in October 2021.
Back Cove 372 Update – September 2021
The first Back Cove 372 is almost complete, and we are beginning preparations for her Engineering and Sea Trials! Take a look below for a sneak peek at the nearly-finished details, and stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as we publish her official performance data!
The new aft-facing seat with folding armrest
Close-up of the folding armrest (upright)
Black windshield liner and fixed-glazed windows
The head now features a large mirror with a beautiful wooden frame