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Old 04-30-2007
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Arrow 2 small near-coastal boats

I'm back. I've been looking for boats these many weeks. I am considering the Freedom 21 and the S2 6.7/6.9 for my three-month jaunt up the Inside Passage (Alaska). These boats are both available for around $4000.
I know the S2 sails faster, the freedom sails easier. The S2 points. The Freedom runs.
I am generally familiar with quality issues of the two boats.
I'd love to hear any input from folks who have sailed these boats or know folks who have. I'm interested in either of these boats that may be for sale.
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Old 04-30-2007
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If you like the S2 6.7/6.9, you also might want to look at the S2 22, which was the S2 6.9 with a wing keel IIRC. There was also a version called the S2 6.8, which was designed as a performance cruiser with a short keel/centerboard layout.

However, IIRC the S2 6.9 and 22 had balsa cored hulls and decks... balsa cored hulls need to be checked very carefully to make sure that no water has gotten in and rotted the core. It is a very painful process to re-core the hull. IIRC, the later S2 boats had used an epoxy-based resin, rather than the polyester resin, so it might be worth inquiring which resin was used to lay up the boat you're looking at. S2 switched over to epoxy-based resins sometime in 1984 or 1985 IIRC.

You can get some more information about the different variants here.

I believe the Freedom 21 also had a Hoyt gunmount spinnaker pole available for it, which was a trademark of the Freedom line of cat rigged boats. The spinnaker system made it relatively simple for a single person to handle a spinnaker from the cockpit, and had the control lines for the first and second reefs, the main halyard and the spinnaker all led back to the cockpit on most boats. It was available in two versions a fin or deep keel version which drew about 3' 10" and a shoal keel version, which I believe was about 2' 10" or so.

Depending on what the prevailing wind conditions are going to be will determine which boat will be better for you. I believe the S2 will have much better windward performance than the Freedom 21.

I've sailed on the S2 6.8, and a larger Freedom, but haven't sailed on the Freedom 21. BTW, if you decide to go with the Freedom, be sure that the surveyor has some idea of how to inspect the somewhat unusual rig it has. The Freedom boats all had an unstayed Carbon Fiber Cat-rigged mast IIRC.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-30-2007 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 05-06-2007
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Old 05-08-2007
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Being as you will have for the most part, head winds going north for this trip, keep that in mind when purchasing a boat. Here in the summer when a north pacific high comes into play, you get winds out of the N to NW for the most part. And depending upon how loat you stay up north, you may very well end up with the typical S to SW winds if the high starts to fail or goes away.

Also a motor will be handy, ie bigger is better. I was reading a blurb somewheres over the weekend about one of the channels you may need to go thru, just a small minor 16knot current to deal with! So make sure you hit that area at the right time!

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Old 05-08-2007
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Freedom 21


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.

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cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough
as the owner of a freedom 33 cat/ketch I have to say it is the easiest boat in the world to sail. It has its detractors, some people say its slow, pffft. I'm convinced if you want to single hand in a "larger" boat, thats your girl.

The only caveat is the sails are a bitch to raise without reaaallllyyyy big winches and long handles. (ok, I'm a bit of a wuss, so that might have something to do with it)
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