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  #1  
Old 01-03-2008
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Question Freedom 35/36/38 vs Pearson 36-2/38

I'm looking for opinions *and* facts comparing these two manufacturers.

Specifically, I have been longing for a mid '80s Pearson 36-2 or 38 for the past few years. I am familiar with the build quality of Pearsons, and have been sailing them through the BHSC for the past two years. My wife and I love the two cabin (sometimes called a tri-cabin) arrangement, and could see ourselves doing some extended cruising in one. Drawbacks that I see with these model Pearsons are the engine access (under the sink - can't reach the stbd. side where the fluid fills, and dipsticks are), and the layout of the electrical (the engine is relatively far from the battery compartment, which is far from the Nav station and breakers). The tankage (25Gal holding, 22Gal fuel, 100Gal water) also seems less than ideal. There are 20 of them (from 1985-1991) currently listed in YW. I am only considering the wing keel and centerboard versions, because I see us sailing along the east coast, motoring the ICW, and sailing in the Bahamas.

Recently I started considering Freedom Yachts, of about the same vintage. The stay-less composite rig has me intrigued. The tankage seems better (40Gal holding, 32Gal fuel, 60+Gal water) I like the engine access, the stainless toe rail, and it seems that the electrical layout makes more sense. I also like the sugar-scoop, step-through, transom (the P38 has this too). What I've learned is that Freedom hulls were built by the Pearson / Tilotson factory. Freedom used a fractional rig on sloops, and they were more likely to have a winged keel. The prices can be lower, but span a much wider range than the asking prices for a Pearson. Lastly, some of the available Freedom Yachts are newer (up to 1998) than Pearson, which went belly up in 1992.

Some folks dislike the fact that the Freedom Yachts have a lot of room down below, thus making them less of a blue-water boat. The crew and I are only likely to do coastal cruising and island hopping, not circumnavigating. It would seem that this concern could apply as much to the Pearson as the Freedom (the Pearson 36 has a huge saloon for a 36 foot boat). Also I understand that the Freedom yachts have less pointing ability due to the size (diameter) of the free-standing mast. I am guessing that in real-life, this would be offset by the downwind performance of the roachy main.

What else shoud I consider?

These forums have always been a great source of insight and opinion, so have at it. All constructive comments would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

Ed

P.S. TOTAL budget is <$80K (and dropping unless my portfolio improves )
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Old 01-03-2008
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CardiacPaul owned a Freedom IIRC. He'd be a good one to PM about this.
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Old 01-03-2008
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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
I don't know diddly about the 35-38 ft ones. I had a 33 cat-ketch.

I do know they were Hoyt designs and the ones built by TPI have very good quality, great gelcoat and fittings.
TPI made a stack full of boats, including J/boat.
(be a bit careful about the contract (europe) built ones, can't vouch for the same build quality.)

Most of the carbon fiber rigs have had the heavy wrap around sails replaced with a more conventional track system, as long as it was installed professionally, you should have no worries.

For what its worth, I never had any problems with pointing at all. I think that was far overblown. (pun intended?)
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Old 01-03-2008
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Freedom

I'm owner of freedom 28 Cat Ketch. While searching for my boat I looked at number of Freedom 30/32 sloops.
Quality of constructions is good. Rig is simple. I have centerboard model and I have no problem with pointing at all. I can tack through 90.

Cat ketch is "go anywhere" model. I believe that Freedom "Cat sloop" is even simpler and easy to sail and better performer.
Boat is comfortable.
They are old boats. They are balsa cored boats, so there is always possible problem with water penetration..

If you like Freedom, you can also look at "Nonsuch" models. I believe Nonsuch is ultimate coastal cruiser
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Old 01-04-2008
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Been there

Thanks for the caution on the earlier contract built hulls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyRu View Post
If you like Freedom, you can also look at "Nonsuch" models. I believe Nonsuch is ultimate coastal cruiser
Yes, the Nonsuch is an interesting boat. The lines remind me of a cat boat. The wishbone cat rig is different. (I wonder if they have a gaff rigged version.) However, the asking prices of the 33 & 36 is outta my reach.
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Old 01-05-2008
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From what I've heard the freedoms are great in every aspect of coastal cruising, except for pointing. I remember my friend who has one using the word "flogging" to describe the upwind sailing (a little frustrated). I heard the biggest problem isn't so much the size of the mast as it is the inevitable bending and spilling of air with the bigger sticks. Overall they are great boats and on top of great off wind performance they are comfortable and fun. Definitely check them out.
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Old 01-07-2008
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Sailed a Freedom 35 for a week in the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior. We found she performed really great on anything from a beam reach aft to dead downwind. Anything forward of the beam and she lost her strength, considerably more the farther forward the wind was. Down below the F35 is very comfortable. Overall, the build quality and finish work appeared very good. Superior Charters had that boat, and I would assume it is still in their charter inventory (when they go back in the water up there, of course...). Might be a good way to really get a feel for one.
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Old 01-07-2008
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A freind of mine has had a 35 since new. I've gone with him from Jax to Bahamas. As stated above , it sails much better off the wind than up wind.The construction is good, no blisters, gel coat has held up well. He did have to replace all his tanks, the fuel and holding tanks coroded ( ? stray electrical current) and the plastic watertank cracked. You will need an electric winch to raise the main.
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Old 01-08-2008
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Gracias!

Again, thank you for the comments!

The comments so far seem to bear out my OP. Specificaly that both are well built, but the pointing ability of the Freedom is a weakness.

Speciald - thank you for the observation about the main. I hadn't though of that!

From the comments, it seems that the Pearson is the better SAILboat, despite the fact that they went out of business in '92 (strange that they hold their value better ).

Has anyone sailed both?
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Old 01-08-2008
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Ed,

Before I bought my P-33-2, I spent a couple of years lurking on Sailnet email lists for a number of boat manufacturers -- Sabre, Tartan, Island Packet, Freedom (and some others I forget.) You can learn a lot by sitting back and watching the email traffic as people write in about problems, solutions, projects, good things, bad things, etc. Eventually you get a pretty good feel for the quality of the boats and for potential problems.

The one thing that stuck with me about Freedom's and their carbon fiber masts is that they can be damaged (stuck by lightening for example) and not really show any damage on the exterior. One fellow wrote in with a story about buying a used Freedom that supposedly had cosmetic cracks in the mast. Well, after he bought the boat the mast came down in very benign conditions and he was stuck. As I recall, the mast had been struck by lightening but at the time it appeared to have survived the event unsacthed. No factory support of course. and replacing a carbon fiber mast is EXPENSIVE.

I mention this not to denigrate Freedoms because they are very good boats. I have talked to a number owners who love their boats and would own nothing else. But if you decide to go with a Freedom, and if the surveyor finds "cosmetic" cracks in the mast -- think twice.
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