A Resource Guide for Buying a Used Freedom Sailboat
Freedom sailboats attracted wide attention when they were first developed back in 1976. Designed by Gary Hoyt and Halsey Herreshof, they were first produced by Tillotson-Pearson Inc. (TPI) in Warren, Rhode Island. The name quickly became known for good quality and innovation and the sailboats reflected this by their prices. Freedom yachts were instantly recognizable by their distinctive wishbone rig and unstayed masts – originally constructed in aluminum and later replaced by carbon fiber in 1980. At the time, this was innovative technology and TPI was a specialist in this field.
Around 15,000 sailboats were built between 1976 and 1994 before going out of production. The range started at Freedom 21 and spanned up to the largest Gary Hoyt designed Freedom 45. All these models can still be found in the used sailboat market and are frequently advertised by yacht brokers both in the US and internationally.
Incidentally, the manufacturer is still in business and today trades under the name Legacy and manufactures the Legend range of powerboats. The company is located in Middletown, RI. Elsewhere, Freedom 35s were also manufactured under license in the UK by Western Approaches out of Falmouth.
As compared to some builders, Freedom could be described as a niche company. More than 25 years on, these sailboats are still going strong and have a legion of enthusiasts. No doubt, the reason for this is that they are very well built. The glass reinforced plastic (GRP) hulls are very good quality and typically feature a full-bodied long keel. As for format, the Freedom comes either as a ketch or as single-masted Bermuda rig.
Down below, Freedom sailboats have a variety of layouts. One unusual feature was to custom-fit sailboats according to their clients’ wishes, but even for the standard production models, the interiors are generally high quality and are comfortable and well-fitted. Obviously, given their age now, most will have been refitted or modified. Generally, the Freedom 35 featured a double cabin forward and a twin aft cabin with a large galley on the starboard side and heads situated behind the chart table. There is plenty of space for four to six people.
Freedom sailboats can be found all over the world. They are excellent bluewater cruising boats, and the wishbone rig is ideal for solo or shorthanded sailing; it is possible to turn 360 degrees without ever leaving the cockpit. Additionally, Freedom sailboats offer a fast sail and for many in the cruising community, it is the ideal sailboat for long distance cruising.
The Freedom 35 is probably the most widely available model. This ketch was originally marketed as a Freedom 33 but the bowsprit added a couple of extra feet. This sailboat is easy to sail and very fast on a reach. The carbon fiber masts have aluminum wishbone booms which, when set, are angled down, so a kicking strap is not needed. Both mainsails have single line slab reefing, and a mizzen staysail can also be set to give a little extra windpower.
Although out of production, these boats have held their price well. The Freedom 35s hold their price in the $80,000 to $90,000 range, depending on age and condition.
Alternatively, the Freedom 32s go for a more modest range of $29,000 – $45,000.
For an excellent resource – whether you are searching for Freedom sailboats for sale or whether you already own one and wish to communicate with other owners – check out the Freedom Yachts Owners Forum
Keep in mind that some of the earlier models are now approaching 35 years old. With a boat of this age, it is often possible to pick up a bargain, especially if you are prepared to do some refitting and some cosmetic improvements. There are no particular faults to watch out for. The unstayed mast does not appear to cause any specific problems due to aging and, apart from the usual issues of osmosis and general wear and tear, this well constructed and innovative sailboat can still provide a great sailing and cruising experience.
Still attractive after all these years, the Freedom remains a head turner wherever you take her.
Whether you’re buying a Freedom sailboat or another make, consider picking up your copy of How to Buy a Sailboat guide and learn how to save thousands on your purchase. Clicking on the link will apply a $5 discount to the guide, courtesy of iBuySailboats.