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I owned a Freedom 21, hull number 155, built in 1983, which I sailed from 1983 until the early 1990s, when I sold it to my brother who kept it until recently. Initially I had it at Lake Lanier, then moved it to Titusville, FL.
My boat had the opening portholes in the cabin trunk, instead of the earlier non-opening plexiglass portlights. The change in this construction detail was around hull number 140 or so (it's been a long time since I've been called upon to remember that info, so I'm probably off a bit). Nonetheless, I had friends who owned earlier hull numbers and the advantage to opening ports is considerable in comfort level so I'd try to find a later boat if possible. I think about 240 of the Freedom 21's were built. The only other ventilation is a small (maybe 12" square) hatch above the v-berth, plus the companionway opening.
For options, I had the Hoyt gunmount spinnaker pole and rig, which is very nice to have; the teak dining table, which sets up in the cabin or in the cockpit; and a small "staysail", which was basically Hoyt's name for a small jib that he didn't want to call a jib for marketing purposes. It was built of very light Dacron and added to upwind speed considerably in light winds. My boat was the "deep draft" version, which I recall was about 3'9" or so.
These are basically quite simple boats with very limited systems and complications. I would describe them as weekenders/daysailers. The electrical system was a battery that ran the running lights; the plumbing was a small sink plumbed to a couple of 5 gallon folding jugs, one for fresh water and one for grey water; the head was a PortaPottie under the v-berth; there wasn't really a galley, although there was room above the port cabinet for a small stove. There is not, of course, standing headroom although when seated on the settees you can get fairly comfortable.
In my judgment the construction quality was better than the larger production sailboat builders. Sailing ability, as you already know, is better off the wind than on a beat. Typical PHRF ratings were in the 255 range.
The gunmount spinnaker is a snap to use and can be completely controlled by one person from the cockpit if you have either a crewmember to hold the tiller or a simple device to do so. The spinnaker is fractional (meaning the head of the sail does not go up to the top of the mast) which implies it is a smaller spinnaker than you'd find on similarly sized masthead boats. In addition, the sail is rather flatter than a typical racing spinnaker due to how it sets on the pole. In consequence, it works better while reaching than on a dead downwind run. It is a lot of fun, however, and because it's so easy to hoist and douse I'd use it all the time. It would increase downwind speed by 20% plus.
Originally I had a 3.5hp Mercury for an outboard, which did a decent job of pushing the boat but was a crummy engine. Later I replaced it with a 8hp Yamaha, which was great (and weighed the same as the 6hp Yamaha of that vintage). I think anything in the 4 to 6 hp range would be fine.
My only other comment is this is a pretty small boat to be living on for 3 months. There's no way I could do it. I got tired of the size after a night or two.
If you could find a Freedom 25 you'd be amazed at the increase in size down below. The extra 4 feet of length, plus greater depth and beam, means the cabin volume is almost three times larger than in the Freedom 21. Plus, you get a rudimentary galley and head, and stooping headroom.
On the 21 you have a v-berth, a couple of small cabinets, and a set of settee/quarterberths. One of the cabinets is for the sink and water jugs so there's not much more storage there.
The refrigeration is only an Igloo cooler with a teak tread on top that served as the companionway step. Because of the quarterberths, there aren't any deep cockpit storage lockers. There is a shallow cockpit locker to port for the gas tank.
You could make a trip in this boat, but it's not a blue water cruiser and, at 1800-2000 lbs of displacement (I saw various figures at different times in the literature) there's just not a lot of room down below. We had a lot of fun using it mostly for daysailing plus rare overnights.
If you have any other questions about the F21, let me know.