Downeast Beginnings: 800 Back Cove Yachts

Back Cove Production Team and Associates gather with the 800th Back Cove yacht.In the autumn of 2017 Back Cove launched our 800th yacht. It’s an impressive milestone that becomes even more significant when you consider all that it implies: 800 Downeast-style yachts, crafted by more than 200 of Maine’s best boatbuilders, championed by a network of more than 20 dealerships, in locations around the globe. Suddenly, our founding question of whether a simple and nautically sensible design could capture the heart of the boating public had a clear answer.

It was 2003, and the popularity of Downeast style was growing rapidly. Designs that had once only been popular in New England quickly were becoming the boats of choice all over the USA and in many export markets. Sabre dealers were selling all of the production that we could build and they wanted more. They asked Sabre to come up with a smaller less complicated Downeast style boat that could be made in larger volumes to satisfy the growing demand.

That spring, the Sabre Design Team met with six dealerships in Manchester, NH ( a common airport location for Southwest Airlines) to unveil the first ever Back Cove yacht. Differentiating Sabre and Back Cove would be reasonably simple; Back Cove was to be smaller, with a single diesel engine and a bow thruster, and interior fiberglass liners to simplify assembly. Sabre would remain larger, with twin-engine propulsion, stick built interiors, and their sizes would range from 38 to (eventually) 66 feet in length.The dealers fell in love with the concept, and the Back Cove 29 was born.

Then the issue of location. The company had previously purchased the assets and facilities of North End Composites, in Rockland, Maine, but the custom fiberglass and tooling business was on a bumpy road. The shop needed something to build on a consistent production-oriented basis that would smooth bumps in the road and support a strong workforce. The Back Cove range suited the facilities perfectly, and the plan was off and running.

Back Cove 29 - retired in 2010

Building upon the success of the Back Cove 29, seven additional models were introduced over the next 14 years. The Back Cove 26 debuted in 2004, and the 33 followed two years later. In 2009 the Back Cove 37 expanded the lineup over the 35′ range, and we knew things were really cooking. By the time Back Cove celebrated our 10th birthday, the 33 had evolved to become the 34, and our design team had introduced two more models coming in at 30 and 41 feet in length. Since then Back Cove has introduced the Downeast 37, a second version of the original Back Cove 37, and most recently we introduced the new Back Cove 32. Back Cove yachts can be found in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the UK, France, Italy, Greece, and Norway.

Today, as hull 800 left our facilities, we resolved the question of whether a Downeast boat with a simple but consistent trade dress, built in the Maine tradition, could succeed in a market full of white plastic cruisers.

The answer is a resounding “yes.”


– Bentley Collins, VP Sales & Marketing, Sabre Yachts & Back Cove Yachts


Downeast Beginnings: 800 Back Cove Yachts
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10 Responses to Downeast Beginnings: 800 Back Cove Yachts

  1. Charles Rich says:

    Im privileged to own my Back Cove 29 – in my case Hull #100 now 12 years old! – a wonderfully-built convenient motorboat I’ve found to be reliable, easily-handled, economical, and fun. She cruises the Maine Coast effortlessly, and her traditional lobster boat-like lines and spoon bow is still turning heads.

    To Bentley, and all the friendly Back Cove folks, thanks for producing such an attractive, practical and seaworthy boat. Most sincerely, CR

  2. T Quinby says:

    Hull 65 from the 37 line, is proud to be a part of the 800. “Sapphire” cruises the waters east of Rockland and turns heads everywhere she is found.
    Thank you all at BackCove.
    GiGi and Tom
    m/v SAPPHIRE

  3. M. Kapolka says:

    Our 37 Back Cove – Hull 111 is on the Great Lakes and gets attention everywhere we go. Very happy with the boat and the responsiveness to pour service needs.

    If you’re in the Great Lakes, look for ‘MnM’. We love talking about and showing our Back Cove 37.

  4. William Denison says:

    Well done Back Cove Yachts. We have owned hull 32 for a year now and have explored Maine and Nova Scotia last summer putting 350 hours on the new hull. Off to do the Great Loop next summer. Love the boat. Great engineering.

  5. Since 2014, my wife (Denise) and I have cruised over 11K NM’s on our Back Cove 37 (#62) Island Office. We are very pleased with her performance and quality. Everywhere we go we get ask “who made our boat”? We are proud to state the folks at Back Cove Yachts in ME! Keep up the great work!

  6. Steve & Trish Berube says:

    Oh Gosh, you have no idea how much fun we had in our 1st Back Cove 29 Hull#95 for almost 10 years then upgraded to now enjoy our Back Cove 34 Hull#101. A BIG CONGRATS to the fantastic Back Cove Team. We enjoyed meeting some of you when we visited the shop back in early 2007. Wishing you all a Very Happy Holiday Season.

    Boating around LI Sound, Newport, Albany and the Massachusetts islands on

  7. Bill Fluty says:

    Bentley Collins and Back Cove are both superior! We have a 2006, 26 Back Cove and are very proud of her and our relationship with Bentley, Guy and the entire Back Cove team.

  8. Michael Bracken says:

    We usually cruise the Maine coast in Loon, our 2013 Back Cove 34, but last year completed the almost 4000 mile Eastern Circle Loop. Loon drew favorable comments all up the Hudson, Lake Champlain, Quebec City (where she wintered), the Gaspe, PEI and down the Nova Scotia coast. Only one, easily fixed, problem with the depth sounder the entire trip. We sailed for 45 years before hesitantly going to power but Loon helped a lot with the transition and now no regrets. Congratulations to all the Rockland crew on reaching 800 and seasons greetings.

  9. Trent Runyon says:

    My wife and I have owned two Back Coves, a 34 and currently a 37, which we cruise on Chesapeake Bay. Both draw a good deal of interest and compliments every where we go.

  10. Mike says:

    My wife Denise and I purchased our 37 Backcove from Petzolds in Portland CT and we couldn’t be happier. “Gory” is a 2012 Hull #30. Last summer she took us to Manhattan and up the Hudson. We also took a 10 hour ride back up to Petzolds and weekend of fun anywhere we ended up. Looking forward to doing the great loop (God willing) in a couple of years. She, uses about 35% of the fuel we were burning in our 38 silverton convertable. We have gotten creative not having the storage we use to but ther is always a trad off. She’s a great boat!

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