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gamayun 12-13-2012 12:30 AM

Surveying a Freedom 36/38
Well, I finally did it. I just put an offer on a 36' Freedom cat-rigged sloop with the sugar scoop at the transom (which makes it a 38). If the owner accepts, I plan to get vessel and engine surveys done. It has a 28 HP Yanmar with 2100 hours and the mast is carbon fiber, so no standing rigging involved. I am interested in hearing from others about what things I should definitely get checked out or be aware of, whether on a Freedom or just in general, as this will be my first sailboat. It looks like the equipment and sails have not been upgraded for at least the past 12 years, and I have noticed some corrosion in places, but repairs seem to have been made when needed and most everything currently on the boat is in working order. Do you think I should get someone to climb the mast? I am also be interested in hearing about what upgrades would be most important to do right away (radar, chartplotter, life boat, etc?). I will be cruising offshore the mighty Pacific coast and racing/sailing on SF Bay.

Thanks for all suggestions!

CalebD 12-13-2012 03:00 PM

Re: Surveying a Freedom 36/38
Freedom 36' cat/ketch: FREEDOM 36 CAT KETCH sailboat specifications and details on

If you are seriously interested in racing you will want new sails which will probably cost around $5K for both.
As to electronics upgrades, all of the items you mentioned would be great to have. I'd add AIS to your list as well so you can more easily identify commercial ships.
Since fog is a likely event where you are a radar and integrated chart plotter might be highest on my list of important items to have on board now.

Congrats on taking the plunge!

amarinesurveyor 12-13-2012 03:59 PM

Re: Surveying a Freedom 36/38
The Freedom 38 is a nice boat, the hull is balsa cored as is the deck, the surveyor should tap the entire hull and deck with his hammer and use a moisture meter to check for moisture. I have friends that have a 38 and they have had no problems with their hull, deck or mast. Tillotson Pearson did a good job building the hull and deck and I'm not sure but I think they may have built the mast also. Good luck with your purchase.

gamayun 12-14-2012 08:37 PM

Re: Surveying a Freedom 36/38
Yes, AIS is something I plan to get especially since the first thing that needs to be done is move it from San Diego to San Francisco. I can't imagine running at night without this.

I also appreciate the comments about the cored deck and hull. It helps to know what to expect from a good surveyor.

Thanks for the input, which keeps my sanity in check - this is a big step for me!

FarCry 12-15-2012 08:39 PM

Re: Surveying a Freedom 36/38
If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you visit • Index page there is a plethora of info about Freedoms there. You might also check here too FreedomOwnersGroup : Freedom Owners Group

Good luck with your purchase.

ScuzzMonkey 12-15-2012 10:19 PM

Re: Surveying a Freedom 36/38
My wife and I just purchased a 36 this past summer. We've been quite happy with it so far.

I would second or third the recommendation to get the hull tapped out thoroughly. We have had no problem at all with ours, but that is potentially the most expensive issue you could face if there had been some compromise at some point. I would make sure to familiarize myself with the factory-installed thru-hulls and have the surveyor take extra care around any aftermarket installations. Tillotson-Pearson did them right at the factory, but you never know what a previous owner might have done.

I had some questions about how to evaluate the mast also and talked at some length about it with a rigger I know; his contention is that there is just about no way to non-destructively prove the integrity of a carbon fiber spar, so there wasn't much sense in hiring someone to go aloft to inspect it. I settled for a careful binocular-based inspection from on deck. Any cracks in the shell might have been a red-flag (then again, they might just be cosmetic) but we found none.

On the whole, both during the survey and since, we've been pretty impressed with the workmanship we've found. It's not amazing, but definitely at the high end of what we have seen in production boats.

We did find some questionable wiring, but I am not altogether sure that it was not added after the initial delivery.

The starboard waist water tank was not secured properly and we still haven't located the tank vent. The hull/keel join looked hinky to me but our surveyor vouched for it and it hasn't been a problem for us. It's something else you might want to make sure to look at during the survey, however.

She sails well--even better than I had expected--and sail handling just doesn't get any easier.

Finally, we live aboard, and the space is terrific and very usable. The stock holding tank is too small but the installation was done well, and there is space to add a larger tank under the port settee if you are so inclined. I expect that the head is going to be uncomfortable verging on unusable in particularly rough seas, but we fortunately have not got into that situation yet.

Good choice, and good luck with your offer! Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

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