Freedom 39 Pilothouse Cat Schooner Sailing Capability

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by LngTmSlr, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. LngTmSlr
    Joined: Oct 2012
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    Location: Bremerton, WA

    LngTmSlr New Member

    I live in the Puget Sound region, am retired and am looking for a pilot house sailboat that sails well. I'm also looking for ease of short-handing. My wife and I currently sail a 1983 C&C 37 and plan extended Northwest and coastal cruising.

    The Freedom 39 Pilothouse has come to my attention. It appears to be relatively easy to short-hand and the accomodations certainly meet our criteria. However, my impression is that the cat-schooner will sail well on a reach and off the wind (with an assymetrical spinnaker). However, with a relatively shallow draft (5ft 6in) and no jib, I'm wondering how well it will sail upwind. In Puget Sound and off the coast, we do a lot of upwind sailing in short steep waves generated by the wind/current conflict.

    Does anyone have first hand knowledge of this or similar cat rig sailing capabilities?
     
  2. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    I have a freedom 40 and it does about 100 degrees through the compass in any conditions but its a different boat . I never got the schooner concept for the 39. On my ketch rigged 40 the main does almost all the work.The missen is handy for sea keeping but sailing upwind must be sheeted too close to the wind. Just an opinion but I think with a rig without head sails the sail with the longest luff should be forward.
     
  3. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Phil Bolger used to say the opposite. He said a cat schooner would out sail a cat ketch, because the smaller fore sail doesn't back wind the larger mainsail and, if correctly proportioned and placed, may even smooth out the flow on the lee side of the larger main. He even said cat schooners used to out sail sloops and cutters, before materials technology allowed tighter head stays.

    Another advantage the schooner may have, especially if the fore sail is considerably smaller than the main, is the main can often be left standing while anchoring for short periods of time. That part I get. I also get that the sail closest to the treacherous fore deck is the smaller sail, and any light wind sail will probably be set from taller main mast, where it's a lot easier to get to and handle than if it were set on the fore stay of a sloop or cutter.

    The advantage of a cat ketch seems to in accommodation.

    With the bigger sail forward, the widest, deepest part of the hull is reserved almost exclusively for the cabin/hold, as the bigger sail often has the longer boom. It is little mystery in my mind why the cat ketch won out over the cat schooner for smaller work boats, even if the performance was a little less.

    As for a boat designed to handle the job originally stated in this thread, I would go with a gaff cat rig (not a cat boat), a small engine with a feathering propeller and some really big fuel tanks.

    The boat would not be expected to be able to get itself out of trouble with engine alone, but with a combination of engine and sail, or the sail alone. The mainsail would be smaller than on a true cat boat, with it's mast stepped further from the stem. Very easy to reach and over the steadiest part of the boat.

    Such a boat should be more weatherly than a cat ketch or cat schooner, as there would be only one sail, but would suck in light air sailing, requiring the engine to be used more often. But I could imagine being on it on a cold dirty day, slogging against steep seas, working the sail without even getting wet. In a strong enough wind, with the feathering propeller, I wouldn't even be running the engine.
     
  4. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    That being so, I just had a look at Boldger's designs and see that almost all his boats with freestanding or stayed cat rigs are ketches or yawls with very small missens. I always thought this was so the missen could be as far aft , as small as possible , still be affective as a see keeping sail and allow for a large working cockpit. I agree that a single sail is supposed to be more effective up wind. Thats why I think the best arrangement is the cat yawl. The missen is far enough away from the main to opperate in its own wind or at least see a better angle , can be very small and still be an effective sea keeping sail. This also allows for a higher aspect main that should preform better upwind. When I sail up to a mooring or anchor I always simply drop the main , the boat stops and falls straight back on the missen . No drama. I am not so sure that you could do this with the 39. I think that the center of effort would still be far enough forward that the boat would still want to sail. I would not leave a sail that big up while at anchor, even for a short time, but that is just me.
     
  5. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Why not ask the designer, Ron Holland. He has offices in Vancouver BC and Cork, Ireland.
     
  6. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I don't think P.B. picked cat yawls/ketches for their windward ability. I haven't either, in my designs.

    Workability seems to be the major goal here.

    As you have stated quite eloquently yourself, cat yawls/ketches are superbly
    maneuverable. Such maneuverability is a major part of 'workability' in everyday sailing.

    P.B. was no slouch when it came to recognizing the importance of windward ability. He wanted his boats to be as weatherly as possible with the rig he selected. Sprit booms and/or kicking straps are almost always found on his designs. He saw sail twist as a prime enemy of weatherliness and went to lengths to eliminate it as much as possible.

    Even so, he did not see weatherliness as the end all and be all in his design decisions.

    Such is a primary goal in racing, especially if the wallets are bottomless and large down wind sails are allowed.

    Would you go to spending twice as much for your rig just to get a 10 deg. improvement in weatherliness? Any racer worth his/her salt would.
     
  7. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    I was not trying to say that either a cat ketch or a cat yawl are that good to weather. But I can not see why the cat schooner would be better. The reason for choosing double masted cat rigged boat is for reasons of sea keeping and manoeuvrability and yes"workability"if you like . In this regard I doubt the cat schooner is the equal of the other two. I am not a boat designer. I am only speculating based on thirty years sailing my cat ketch that could just as well be called a cat schooner as both masts are the same hight, that my boat might point higher if the main was the larger sail providing that the aspect ratio of the entire rig was also increased. Mere conjecture but I have always thought that once the wind increases and I have the first reef in the missen that I sail higher if not as high relative to other boats of similar size in the same sea conditions.
     
  8. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    You probably sail higher because a greater portion of the rig is actually producing windward thrust. I know this seems to contradict what I said earlier, but the difference is your boat has a main and a mizzen of equal or near equal size. Definitely a cat schooner by definition (probably called a cat ketch for marketing reasons), but not of more traditional schooner proportions. With a more traditional schooner the main mast is significantly taller than the fore mast and the main sail may be twice as large. The smaller foresail gets to sail in clear air and, at worst, backwinds only part of the main.

    With a gaff fore sail, if it is significantly smaller than the main, it's leach is very close to the mast and luff of the of the mainsail, due to it's profile shape and it's shorter boom length, and so, according to P.B., acts similarly to a jib in smoothing out eddies on the lee side of the main.

    With masts and sails of nearly equal size, you get none of that, because the boom of the fore sail is as long , or nearly as long as that of the main, and the sheeted in fore sail leach is thus further away from the main sail's luff.

    Instead, you merely get redirected airflow from the fore sail, which forces the main/mizzen to be sheeted in tighter, killing much of it's drive.

    I would suggest trying to reef the fore sail (main) rather than the mizzen to see if you get an even bigger improvement, but that could upset the balance of your boat, causing the rudder to work harder, causing more in drag than this new arrangement would produce in new thrust.

    The probable reason the rig on your boat was chosen, is so the masts and booms could be identical and the total center of Area, not to mention the Center of Gravity of the masts, could be lower per given sail area, per given sail type.
     
  9. Timothy
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    Timothy Senior Member

    Nigel Irens beautiful "Farfarer" is a perfect example of a cat schooner that illustrates your point. I would point out that it has square top sails and the foresail is boomless and overlaps the main so may benefit from circulation or the slot effect if there is such a thing. On the other hand "Roxane"the boat he designed for himself is a high aspect cat yawl. Sharpii2 I appreciate your insight and would love to pursue the subject, but it seems I am high jacking this thread . My apologies to the poster,
     

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  10. folotp
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    folotp Junior Member

    What Ron Holland had to say about his design, from the original brochure:

    “ ... Our plans for a large pilothouse cabin meant there was a need to place the after mast further forward than would be the ketch configuration. My respected English colleagues, John Oakely and Rob James, were keen on the benefits of a smaller mast forward. So why not a modern cat schooner rig to resolve the issue? The trouble with the old schooners was that they were great on a reach but slow upwind, because they could not control forestay sag. And downwind the big mainsail would blanket the foresail. The modern cat schooner solves these problems quite neatly. To windward there is no sag in our free-standing carbon fiber spars. And downwind, winging a sail on each side creates a balanced rig where one sail does not interfere with the other.”
     
  11. John Slade
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    John Slade New Member

    Freedom Pilothouse Schooner

    I have the deep keel version of the Freedom Pilothouse Schooner. I have taken her to Bermuda and back three times and she is a VERY capable offshore boat. I have had her since 1997. My opinion of her seaworthiness is based on having previously sailed my Camper and Nicholson, 'Jandavina', from Bermuda to Trinidad and back to England. And I also took my Moody 44 ketch to Bermuda and back to the Chesapeake Bay. My Freedom, 'Resolute', is just as capable as these boats and I would not hesitate to take her anywhere. I wish she was tiller steered because the wind vane steering I had on the Nicholson was a dream, but the Monitor Vane I have on 'Resolute' that is steering via a wheel is only OK on a beam reach to a beat. When the wind is further aft, you cannot trust the Monitor to adjust quickly enough.

    As far as shorthanded sailing is concerned, one of my round trips to Bermuda was with a single, female, crew.

    My Freedom is very fast. I entered the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race and was in class C, suitable for the smallest boats. She not only beat all the class C boats, but also all the class B boats as well. So now they put 'Resolute' in class A - so unfair! :)

    My email address is JohnSlade33@GMail.com
    John
     
  12. UNCIVILIZED
    Joined: Jun 2014
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    UNCIVILIZED DIY Junkyard MadScientist

    Tag, for future study & reference.
     
  13. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    I was Chief Engineer at TPI when the Freedom 39 went through the shop for the first time. I designed the masts for that boat. I have seen threads like this before, and I have had clients who own Freedom 39s. Although I have never sailed one, I can say that they are very good ocean-capable boats, they sail well and treat their crews nicely, and people hold onto them for a long time. So there must be something good in all that. I think you'd be very happy owning one.

    Eric
     

  14. John Slade
    Joined: Apr 2013
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    Location: Chesapeake Bay

    John Slade New Member

    Freedom Pilothouse Schooner

    I have taken my boat, "Resolute", to Bermuda and back to the Chesapeake three times. I have also raced her in about 8 or 9 "Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Races where we were moved from Class C, (her size and waterline would put her in this class) but she sails so well that they moved us from Class C, to B and now to Class A!

    My prior boats have been a Moody 44 Ketch, and a Camper and Nicholson 37' that I sailed from Bermuda to Trinidad and then over to England, so I have had sufficient experience to be able to highly recommend my 39' Schooner. I would have much preferred tiller steering because it works so much better with an Aries or Monitor Wind Vane Steering. So, life is a compromise!
    John
     
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