This is a month of carrying out Pre Purchase Surveys on the ‘classic’ Freeman Range of inland waterway craft that were built between the 1960s and 1970s and still going well after 50 years
As they say when waiting for bus along come three ……….
” History ” Acknowledgement to the official Freeman Cruisers website
The first 22ft Freeman Cruiser emerged in 1957. By the 1970’s the factory was employing 125 people, building three 23ft and one 26ft cruiser each week and one Freeman 30 every 2/3 weeks. There were 4 or 5 factory lines at a time: It took 25 men to build a single boat. Some 6,000 boats were produced by the time John decided finally to retire, he now lives in France. Incidentally, the last boat to be built was a Freeman 27 in October 1983.
In 1964 the model was changed bringing in the new 22 which is now known as the Mk 2 (hence the previous boat is referred to as the Mk 1). The cabin was raised so that you could walk right through,- the well renowned “step in the deck” was established. As with the 22 Mk 1 there is a narrow beam version of the 22 Mk 2 at 6ft 10″ wide which can also be used on the canals.
Traditional Freeman 22 with ‘stepped’ deck Traditional Freeman 23 with level decks
A common feature of the earlier Freeman’s design was the flexing of the forward decks due to lack of reinforcement within the GRP such as a balsa core. In both the 22 and 23 this was the reality.
In some earlier models a bolt-on encapsulated wood keel is added for improved steerage so attention must be made to the keel bolt fastenings
Both the smaller models had the historic Ford Watermota inboard four cylinder petrol engine, which were still performing well. However when undergoing a survey particular attention must be made to the petrol system installations to include earth bonding.
For more information contact European Marine Services Ltd – Marine Surveyors & Consultants Tel : 01603 327 123 www.europeanmarinesurveys.com