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Caca Cabeza

Freedom Boats / Freedom 39 Ketch

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Spoiler alert! I'm also posting to CA.

I've been contemplating my exit strategy for a long while. Once retired, I'd like to go out and about and see the sights on a boat. While I have been considering a Swan 47, while in West Marine today I saw a flyer for a Freedom 39 ketch. I'm a pretty experienced sailor and likely would be going singlehanded or short crewed (see how Capitan & I did it here: https://thecaptainandthekid.wordpress.com) on a Swan, so I know what it is. 

I'm not very familiar with the Freedom boats, other than when they were first out. Sailing qualities? build? strengths/weaknesses? Other sizes that might be better?

Chime in. Tell my to take it past the environment or they have a problem with the front falling off, or just post a picture to LONQR. I have an enquiring mind.

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They are very well built boats. I have experience with the 36/38 and the 30/32. These are mull designs and I'll tell u they both go better than ppl give them credit for. And super easy short/ single handed boats. The ketch models had the reputation for being the fast ones in the group.

Most freedom owners become addicts.  Myself included. 

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They are balsa cored boats. Solid, quiet, well insulated. no twisting loads from stays, no leaks from chainplates. 

Easy to sail and single hand. 

Somewhat underpowered in light air due to rig limitations. 

It takes time to figure out the rig. Sailing by lee with stayless rig on a broad reach is fun and fast and effortless.

They sail better than most people tend to believe.  Although there is no “fourth mode”

All is well as long as balsa is dry....

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1 minute ago, CrazyR said:

All is well as long as balsa is dry....

This. I nearly bought one but was scared off by a transom ladder installation that I suspected wasn't properly done. 

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Yes, not light air boats, pretty heavy. But the accommodations  are awesome. And performance with 10+its is much better than most ppl think. 

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Gary Hoyt was the founder & designer of Freedom yachts until 1985 when he sold to TPI. After the sale Gary Mull designed the lion's share but the 39 is a Ron Holland design. This is why there are two very different types of Freedom's. The 28, 40, & 44 Cat Ketch boats were the earlier designs by Gary Hoyt and have a more classic look with plumb bows and flush decks while mull/Holland era (the 30, 36, 39, 40/40, & 45) models were more modern/regular looking boats.

The earlier Hoyt boats are usually seen as better quality, heavier, and are seen to be the preferred choice for offshore sailing and liveaboards. The later TPI era boats are more mass market boats that were faster, but not meant for extended offshore use. That said, the TPI boats were still built very well and have identical hull and deck construction and similar inter woodwork as J Boats from the same era. Cored hull and deck can be a concern, but just like a J Boat, if it was maintained well it shouldn't be a problem.

If you have not sailed a stayless rig before, they can take some getting used to and as mentioned before they are not the fastest in light air, but when the wind picks up, they are a joy to sail. They are almost effortless to sail and when a puff hits there is no need to let the sail out. The top of the rig will bend spilling out what it cant handle. The boat barely heels over any further, it just goes faster! I have a 20' Mull designed stayless rig boat and it is really a great boat. The fact it is so easy and forgiving to sail really makes it great boat. I have not sailed the Freedom 39 but I bet it shares the same characteristics.

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If you're really looking at the 39 ketch and not the 39 pilothouse schooner, they 39 has a weakness in that the bow volume is too low and can submarine DDW. It's otherwise a well behaved boat. The 36 ketch had the same problem, but it came as a sloop as well which was a much better boat. as pointed out by others, the ketches are not great upwind performers, even when combined with a more modern hull shape like in the 39, but off the wind they are a blast. Construction is better than average, and even with the balsa if it's wet, it's not a disaster. Freedoms built pre-1989 are polyester below the waterline and may show blisters - after 89, they started using vinyl-ester below the waterline and blisters are rare.

I agree with nearly everything 5184 says, except that the Freedom 45 was absolutely designed for offshore sailing. 

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