Originally Posted by CandCmk135
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!