Freeman Boatworks is a relatively new manufacturer of custom offshore performance fishing catamarans.
They are a premium brand.
Setting aside their hefty price tag, are they a good and reliable brand?
Here’s How Good Freeman Boats Are:
The boats built by Freeman Boatworks use a new design of catamaran to be the ultimate offshore center console fishing boat. They are spacious and fast, providing a smooth ride through heavy seas. Their materials and construction standards are the best in the marine industry.
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A Brief History of Freeman Boats:
Billy Freeman founded Freeman Boatworks in 2007.
The concept was to make the best offshore performance fishing platforms possible.
He set up the Freeman Boatworks in Dorchester County, South Carolina. The county leads the state in marine manufacturing with five plants.
All of their models, past, and present, are catamarans constructed with the highest quality materials and processes.
The company quickly established itself for quality construction and as a premium brand. The sales trajectory has constantly been going up. Each year in the last half-decade their sales have increased about 30%.
This impressive growth was nationally recognized in 2019 when Freeman was invited to the White House for the annual Made In America event. He took one of his Freeman 34VH to show off at the event.
How Reliable Are Freeman Boats?
Freeman catamarans have quickly developed a reputation for being a fast, smooth ride.
Before Freeman Boatworks came along, catamarans had a reputation of being a stable ride and being slow.
Freeman’s hull design has changed that perception forever. Their speed, even through waves, has become one of their hallmarks in the boating industry.
While there are certainly some forum detractors, the overwhelming majority of those who have ridden one point out the incredible smoothness of the ride through just about any condition.
There are also many videos on Youtube showing how the boats handle through waves.
As they are expensive boats and custom-made for each customer, there is no expense spared in the construction or the relative amenities. The engines and the electronics are the best money can buy.
How Durable Are Freeman Boats?
Freeman boats are generally seen as being among the most durable on the market.
While Freeman owners tend to gush about their boats on forums, it is just about universally accepted that Freemans are some of the most durable boats being made. The company exceeds all marine industry manufacturing standards in its manufacturing plant.
There are several videos of factory tours, both on the company’s website and Youtube that show the craftsmanship that goes into the construction of these boats.
Some premium fishing charters in the United States southeast use Freeman boats due to their durability and superior performance offshore.
What About Older Freeman Boats?
Freeman Boatworks has not been in existence very long, so they have not built up a long history of durability.
Their previous models have all shared the same quality design, materials, and workmanship that they currently feature.
The 33 model of Freeman was their first model, and it is still trendy, and it was their best-selling model before it was phased out for the 34VH.
The 33 still gets mostly rave reviews on boating forums.
Do They Still Make Parts For Older Models?
There have only been a few models of the Freeman catamarans made over their existence.
Almost all of the parts that have been used in their construction are still being made, either from Freeman Boatworks or the companies that they contracted to make the part.
These can be obtained by contacting Freeman Boatworks directly (there is no dealer network for this custom brand).
There are a few online retailers for replacement parts, such as hatches. A Facebook page dedicated to owners of Freeman boats may assist in tracking down any obscure parts.
What Are Typical Problems With Freeman Boats?
A thorough online search turned up nothing that would be labeled a “typical” problem for Freeman boats.
The fact is that given their custom quality design and construction, there have been no flaws or defects that have been reported as part of a mass manufacturing pattern.
Two instances were found in “For Sale” listings of faded paint, but this could have been due to UV exposure rather than the manufacturer’s fault.
There are no reports of cracks of any sort in the fiberglass or gel coat.
A few people have mentioned one potential problem online is the painted-on non-skid, rather than molded into the deck. This comes down to a matter of preference, as it is not really a problem in and of itself.
How Long Do Freeman Boats Last Compared To Similar Brands?
There are few similar brands to Freeman; the most notable might be Invincible Boats.
Given that both of these are recent companies, there is little history to compare between them.
Compared to other premium brands, it is fair to say that they will last at least as long as any of them, considering the construction quality of a Freeman boat.
While the care given to a boat will have much to do with how long it lasts, it is safe to say that just about every Freeman boat is cared for by its owner.
Do Freeman Boats Hold Their Value?
Freeman boats do not show up on the NADA guides, which reveal original retail pricing and current average resale value.
Secondly, since they are essentially custom-made for each buyer, most owners tend to hang onto them.
A 2016 Freeman 37VH sold in 2018 with an asking price of $599,000; the actual amount it sold for was not disclosed.
Several recent Freeman 42LR are advertised as being for sale, one for $850,000 and another for $1,100,000.
A 2016 34VH sold recently for between $400,000 and $450,000; this same year and model was rumored to start at $350,000 on The Hull Truth forum.
Given the scarcity of retail and resale prices, it isn’t easy to be certain of Freeman boats holding their value. Most luxury or premium brands tend to depreciate just because of their high initial prices.
Are Freeman Boats Still Being Made?
The Freeman Boatworks is going strong, with increased sales every year.
They currently make 3 models of center console catamarans, each of which may be customized by the owner.
It is worth mentioning that there is a significant waiting time to get your boat built. According to owners who have posted their waiting times on forums, this can range from 2 to 3 years, depending on the model and how backed up the company is.
One owner-to-be reported he expected to wait 3.5 years for his 42LR to be built in 2019. There is a $50,000 deposit required to get onto the waiting list for your boat to be built.
Here is a little bit of information on the models’ sizes and prices:
- The smallest model is the 34VH, at 33’7″ long.
- Their mid-sized model is the 37VH, coming in at 37’2″ in length. There is a listing for a 2021 model for sale at $1,200,00; it has some upgraded options, but this gives an idea of new 37VH costs.
- The largest model Freeman makes is the 42LR which measures even 42 feet. The LR stands for “long-range,” which is intended to be the ultimate offshore fishing boat.
Freeman Boatworks has been innovative in the way they have redesigned the offshore catamaran, conquering performance issues such as speed and jerky handling in waves.
While they have a large group of owners and supporters that are understandably partisan, there is no doubt that they are boats of the best quality.