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  #1  
Old 01-22-2004
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Freedom Sailboat

I am a complete novice at this, so please be nice. I have looked at a Freedom sailboat and I am wondering what other peoples opinions of these boats are. I want to be able to cruise the Gulf Coast and beyond. The 33'' ketch I looked at had a centerboard and to me (unknowing) seemed to be very well made. The ideal of free standing masts is really appealing to me. Can some of you offer your opinion and what you know first hand about this brand. Thanks.
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Old 01-22-2004
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Freedom Sailboat

You will get better comments than mine from more knowledgeable participants. But I have known a few owners and they comented that jibing was out of the question, they go all the way around instead. These were on single rigs however, not cat ketches. I have also heard that they do not point well because of the fat mast not allowing proper luff filling. I would like to try one out sometime however as the simplicity is appealing.

Gene
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Old 01-23-2004
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Freedom Sailboat

I am somewhat familiar with the ketch rigged centerboard model of the 33. I helped a friend who lived in Savannah but was buying one here in Annapolis. I got to go through the boat quite carefully during the survey and to sail on the sail trial which actually was quite long and involved a pretty wide range of windspeeds. I frankly saw very little that I liked about these boats.

In terms of sailing ability, the boat offered Okay reaching performance but was a very poor sailor in light and heavier air, and poor at pointing or running. This boat had the wrap around sail which was a bear to raise and which tended to creep around the mast leaving extra cloth on one side of the mast that tended to flap really killing speed and shaking the whole boat as the windspeeds built up. Key sail shaping controls were inaccessible under the wrap around portion of the sail. Sail shape was imposible to maintain as the wind came up and sails would be extremely expensive for this boat (kind of like buying four mainsails).

In the survey a whole raft of problems came up but most serious were extensive delamination in the cored hull in those areas below the deck scuppers. In examining the specific detail used at the scuppers, I believe that this condition was bound to happen to any Freedom 33 constructed in the same manner as the boat I was on.

With all due respect, I find myself saying this a lot lately and in fact this part is cloned from another reply earlier this week, but here goes. We all come to sailing with our own specific needs, our own specific goals and our own specific capabilities. The neat thing about sailing is that we all donít have to agree that there is only one right way to go sailing. There is no more truth in expecting that there is one universally right answer about many aspects of sailing than there is in trying to prove that vanilla ice cream is universally better than strawberry ice cream. One area of sailing for which there is no one universally right answer involves the amount of knowledge one needs to go sailing.

For some, all they need or want to know about sailing is just enough knowledge to safely leave the slip sail where they want and get back safely. There is nothing inherently wrong with that approach. But for others, like myself, there is much more to sailing than simply developing a rudimentary knowledge of sailing basics. If you fall into that camp, it is next to impossible to learn to sail really well on a boat as large as the one in question.

While I am in no way suggesting that this makes sense for you personally, If you are interested in learning to sail beyond a rudimentary level, this kind of boat is a really lousey choice for a first boat. For someone who really wants to learn to sail well, I strongly suggest that they start out owning a used 23 to 27 foot, responsive, light-weight, tiller steered, fin keel/spade rudder (ideally fractionally rigged) sloop (or if they are athletically inclined then a dinghy.) Boats like that provide the kind of feedback that is so necessary to teach a newcomer how to really sail well. By sailing well I mean understanding the nuances of boat handling and sail trim in a way that cannot be learned on a larger boat. Used small boats generally hold their values quite well so that after a few years or so of learning, you should be able to get most of your money out of the small boat and move on to a bigger boat actually knowing something about the desirable characteristics of a boat that appeal to you as an experienced sailor rather than some stranger on some Internet BB.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 03-31-2008
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Jeff raises a good point. The Freedom cat-rigged ketch is not a straightforward arrangement. It would be better to learn on a conventional rig. You'll develop skills that have more widespread application. All catboats are trimmed differently and sail differently from sloops. As far as gybing, it depends. I've owned a Nonsuch 30 and a Freedom 25. Both are extremely fast boats offwind. But can be tricky to gybe in heavy air. The poster was correct. Many catboat sailors opt to 'wear ship'.
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Old 03-31-2008
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I was also interested in Freedom Yachts some time ago. I started a post here solociting comparison between Pearson and Freedom that you may want to check out.

Last edited by eherlihy; 10-01-2012 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 03-31-2008
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Contact CardiacPaul, he owned one of these for a long time, and IIRC loved it. Most of the boats have had the clunky mast furled sail systems replaced with new conventional furling systems. TPI has a good reputation for working with carbon fiber, and makes a good boat. Notwithstanding Jeff's well informed criticism of them, I think they are good boats if you are suited to them. Many of the unfavorable sailing characteristics which he points out would be corrected with the conventional furling methods on most refits. This has no bearing on his or others' comments on what boat to sail. As for The Freedom 33, I think the centerboard version is not as useful as the full keel version, simply because of the huge CB trunk in the middle of the cabin. But you can get them more cheaply as a result. Other issues on these boats include surface delamination on the spars due to their wrapped construction. You need to examine the masts closely to determine if the fiberglass which encases the carbon fiber has cracked. This could be an expensive fix. There is also a documented issue with spider cracks on the gelcoat. Google Freedom owners groups and ask these questions before going any further. For what it is worth, I agree with Jeff that this is not the boat to learn to sail on. Good luck!
Freeman
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Old 03-31-2008
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Jeff has no idea what he's talking about

Everyone knows Strawberry ice cream is better than Vanilla.

JH, hope all is well. Haven't spoken in a very long time.
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Old 03-31-2008
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I simply loved the 33.

I don't know if it was easy to sail because I knew how to sail, or it was easy to sail because it was... easy to sail.

And it was easy to sail. I had those damn wrap arounds, and because I'm as strong as your typical 12 year old, I had to plan my raising of the sails. It was easy to reef.

I do agree with Jeff that its probably not the boat to 'learn" on, but, that being said, if you're interested in one, ask the former owner to spend some time on her with you.

In lieu of that, theres another thread going that lists a VERY good contact about these boats.

The CB version does cut down on cabin space, it wouldn't have been a problem for us, I can see where it'd be a pain for others.

On the upside, they don't draw a heck of a lot with the board up (and it doesn't need to be fully deployed either) so the bene's outweigh the PITA factor. IMHO

I know there was an "issue" concerning gelcoat crazing. I don't know anything about that, we were in texas sun, and never had a problem on a 25 year old boat. It held up a heck of a lot better than my 27 catalina (nothing against the catalina either) I think it has a lot to do with many other issues not to be addressed here.

Theres been a lot of talk about CF masts and again, I think its because of the relative "oddity" of them that makes people hypersensative. Maybe I wasn't in strong enough winds, but I don't remember any discernable "flex" of the mast.
Same with the "lightning" issue. i don't think, but I can't prove that they're any more apt to be struck than anything else. Damage from lightning? I can't say about that either... LOL, I don't know a heck of a lot do I?

In short, If I had the chance to get a centerboard 33 here in S. Florida, I'd be all over it like a fat kid on a snickers bar.
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Last edited by cardiacpaul; 03-31-2008 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 03-31-2008
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And I'm still looking for mine!
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Old 04-06-2008
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Freedom

I own Freedom 28, Cat Ketch, Centerboarder. It's identical to Freedom 33, just a bit smaller. I love the boat. Anyone telling that boat is slow and sails not well should look at US PHRF numbers. Thanks to US sailing, there is a table on their site showing all numbers for the boat across a country
US PHRF
According this table my boat is faster than most cruisers of the same size.

Boat is really easy to single hand. It is a slow boat in light wind - it's a penalty for having full keel. However boat does everything well, including going upwind, downwind it is just fast.
I'll try to attach my sailing tGPS tracks. I have to confess that I've been racing small boats with unirigs. Freedom just feels right for me.


Well, I couldn't upload files even they are small. Trust me

Last edited by CrazyRu; 04-06-2008 at 01:59 AM.
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