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  #1  
Old 09-01-2014
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Freedom 39, what's the story?

Ok, as with all boat designs , there is a lot of information clutter out there so it is har to get to the specific boat. In the case of Freedom Yachts , ther are several designs all sharing the unstayed carbon rig but most having vastly different hull configurations. So the opinions on quality and performance is quite varied.

The reason I"m posting is i'm interested in specific experience and knowledge about the Freedom 39 ( 1983 - 87?) cat ketch ( not the 40, not the 44, not the 38 vastly different boats). built as a ketch & schooner and also configured as a pilot house with two freestanding rigs.

There appear to be several on the market and were considering the F39 because both the size and layout look ideal for a extended cruising for two and the price range of the boat on the market appear reasonable to our needs. Were entertaining this unusual configuration because the rig arrangement frankly looks very simple to manage.

let's here it , the good and bad but not uninformed retoric, i would like to maintain or eliminate this boat from the "list" and perhaps leave behind useful information for those who may also be interested in a freedom 39.

Many Thanks
candcmk135
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Old 09-01-2014
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Re: Freedom 39, what's the story?

Have you been over to the Freedomyachts dot org site? There is a wealth of information to be had. I read everything I could find there before pulling the trigger and buying my 39' Express cat ketch. Mine is not the pilot house schooner version but uses the same hull. What specific questions do you have?
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Old 09-01-2014
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Re: Freedom 39, what's the story?

Farcry, thanks for the response,

I will check out freedom yachts site.

I currently sail a sloop and I would like to know the benefits and drawbacks going to a cat ketch arrangement. What will I miss, what will I be glad to have changed for.
1. A roller furler jib is pretty easy to put away or reef when you need too. How does managing a second main style sail compare? Have you done much reefing ? And if so has it been comparably easy?
2. Everyone says the cat ketch is not good to windward. Is this true? How has it been for you?
3. The 39 has fairly modern hull comparable to most sloops of the mid eighties. How does she handle? Tender? Stiff?.
4. Anything that really has been a disappointment or a great surprise?
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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Freedom 39, what's the story?

My shipwright is currently rebuilding a Freedom 40 ketch to retire on. According to him it is the best there is, and his, will be the best 40 out there.
A distant cousin, has a 39 for sale near here, with new masts.

Last edited by sony2000; 09-04-2014 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 09-02-2014
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Re: Freedom 39, what's the story?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CandCmk135 View Post
Farcry, thanks for the response,

I will check out freedom yachts site.

I currently sail a sloop and I would like to know the benefits and drawbacks going to a cat ketch arrangement. What will I miss, what will I be glad to have changed for.
1. A roller furler jib is pretty easy to put away or reef when you need too. How does managing a second main style sail compare? Have you done much reefing ? And if so has it been comparably easy?
2. Everyone says the cat ketch is not good to windward. Is this true? How has it been for you?
3. The 39 has fairly modern hull comparable to most sloops of the mid eighties. How does she handle? Tender? Stiff?.
4. Anything that really has been a disappointment or a great surprise?
1. Lets start with some terminology on my boat, a cat ketch. There is a foremast that flies the mainsail. There is a mizzen mast that flies the mizzen sail. It is no more difficult to reef either sail than the mainsail on a sloop. All lines are run to the cockpit on my boat. Reefing is very easy. I have reefed many times. Rarely am I in a big hurry and it's more comfortable to toss in a reef when in doubt.
2. In my experience with a very tired mainsail, it does not go well to windward. But I now tack on headers immediately because it's so easy! On my sloop I was lazy and would take long tacks to save work. On this boat I really pay attention and tack whenever it's to my advantage. I can't help but think that a new main would really help upwind.
3. I would say leaning towards the stiff side of things, but I wouldn't say stiff. I do not have the original masts and mine are much stiffer. The original masts are more flexible and give more in puffs helping to depower the top of the sail. Since I've never been on a F39 with the original masts I can't know how much difference it would make.
4. I'm a little disappointed in the upwind performance even though I knew it was a weak area before buying. On a reach, run or DDW yahoo!!! Pretty fun passing larger conventional sloops not carrying dedicated downwind sails. I've run for hours averaging 9kts. My understanding is that a F39 won the Newport-Bermuda race many years in a row. My top speed surfing in high winds is 12.7kts. I put another reef in each of the sails and reached at 10.5kts for another hour with much better control of the boat. The rigger at my marina delivered a few brand new Freedoms to the area and recalls pushing the boats into the low teens without too much trouble. Of course that's a very light brand new boat with new sails and a crew of very experienced racers. The boat behaves great in rough seas and higher winds. Incredibly stable wing and wing with booms pushed well past 90 degrees making an accidental gibe very unlikely. Not having to worry about or pay to replace standing rigging, is great.

I don't know much about the pilot house cat schooner version. From looking at photos it looks to be a very nice set up.

I'm not very happy with the helm position/seating arrangement. Most of the time I end up on a cockpit lazzerette. You are really limited on how you mount an outboard motor on the railing. Same goes for a grill or life ring etc. The mainsheet/mizzen sheet covers a huge area and can hook on all kinds of stuff in a gibe including the bimini if the traveler isn't moved first. You can't really mount a MOB pole or spare antenna on the stern. Wind generator would make me nervous too. That aft boom is at the end of the stern. No easy way to mount a SSB antenna. I just had a failure of my windlass. The most reasonable way to remove it would be to pull the mast. I recruited a 6'2" guy tipping the scales at 150lbs to slither in between the mast and hull to drop it out. The sails are HEAVY!!! Many have gone to electric winches. I am still pulling by hand. I do have an electric right angle drill that easily raises the sails in the event I am feeling lazy.

Bottom line. I'm still very happy with my Freedom Express and would not hesitate to take it anywhere. It feels solid, has a decent motion, is fast enough and is a very easy boat to manage. You are not going to do well in a windward leeward race probably but when you get to windward you are not tired from tacking!
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Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Freedom 39, what's the story?

I would have the masts surveyed by a carbon fiber specialist.

I looked at buying the 44 and quite a number have lost masts, others have the original but considerable surface cracking.

An ali mast is an option.
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Old 09-04-2014
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Re: Freedom 39, what's the story?

TQA I wasn't aware that "quite a number" of 44s had lost their masts. Were those the aluminum ones?
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Old 09-04-2014
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Re: Freedom 39, what's the story?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarCry View Post
TQA I wasn't aware that "quite a number" of 44s had lost their masts. Were those the aluminum ones?
All the masts were originally carbon I believe. If you raise this on the Freedom forum you should get the story on the breakages.

Over the years I have seen several Freedoms with ali masts replacing broken CF.and have met a couple of owners who have had carbon masts break one in quite benign conditions. One was a custom 44 and his broke while motoring to windward with no sails up. He was in Martinique where they are accustomed to work with carbon and he found a replacement only to have the other mast break a few months later.

On the other hand this guy is still charging around the Carib with CF.

Last edited by TQA; 09-04-2014 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 09-04-2014
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Re: Freedom 39, what's the story?

Interesting, I seemed to recall reading there were only 26 44' boats made. I hadn't really done any research on them but there is a very low hull number at my marina with aluminum masts. The owner told me they were original. In my research before purchasing my 39' I didn't come across mast failure problems that weren't connected to a lightning strike or a salvage company connecting a line to the mast and yanking. Now that I own the boat, maybe I don't really want to know!
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Old 03-09-2015
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Re: Freedom 39, what's the story?

See below on mast history and repair, Google the following:

FREEDOM YACHTS MAST CRACKING CAUSES AND THE CURE
By
Eric W. Sponberg Naval Architect
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