Owning a custom-built Freeman is a significant investment.
These are high-performance vessels designed for a specific purpose. In this article, we’ll highlight the reasons why this brand has become so popular, as well as share some concerns expressed by experienced owners.
If you’re in the market for a Freeman boat, we’re here to help. Here are the four most common problems with Freeman boats.
As we’re doing a series of articles about issues and problems with each boating brand, we have now come to Freeman boats. We must say there wasn’t much to report on – generally these boats are fantastic and reliable. That said, all boats can have issues, and we have tried to dive into what problems people have had with Freeman boats.
Steep Learning Curve
Every new boat owner encounters the same dilemma: how to enjoy this beautiful new boat in a confident, safe way.
When it comes to operating a catamaran, there’s a steep learning curve. It’s much different than handling a V-hull. A Freeman catamaran has two hulls that are the same shape (competitive brands have asymmetrical hulls).
The catamaran’s design influences how the boat turns, and how it responds to a variety of weather conditions.
Offshore fishing requires traveling long distances to reach the ideal fishing location, then traveling that same distance back to shore. More than likely, the weather conditions will shift dramatically throughout the course of the trip.
The catamaran operator must be able to handle the vessel safely no matter what type of sea conditions they encounter.
In a popular boating forum, one experienced operator of both symmetrical and asymmetrical hulled catamarans claims,
“The asymmetrical will track as straight as an arrow (in AP or manual steer) in any sea state you can throw at it. All Freemans will wander and the motors will hunt pretty hard to try and keep them tracking straight.”
Catamarans will struggle to track in a straight line through stormy seas. The key is understanding how a double-hulled boat responds, and traveling at an appropriate speed for the current conditions.
Hefty Price Tag
Freeman Boatworks are industry leaders in producing stable, fast catamarans for offshore fishing. They deliver on their promise of a durable, high-quality product custom-built for each client.
Charter operators and amateur sport fishermen rave about the spacious decks, ability to travel at high speed without sacrificing fuel efficiency, and exceptional amenities for offshore fishing.
This luxury performance vessel commands a hefty price tag, though.
The cost of a new Freeman boat ranges anywhere from $649,000 for the Freeman 37VH to $1,795,000 for the Freeman 47T.
- LOA: 37 feet 2 inches
- Beam: 11 feet 6 inches
- Dry weight: 11,500 pounds
- Fuel capacity: 540 gallons
- MSRP: $649,000
- LOA: 47 feet
- Beam: 11 feet 2 inches
- Dry weight: 21,000 pounds
- Fuel capacity: 1,000 gallons
- MSRP: $1,795,000
Transportation & Storage
Owning an offshore center console catamaran comes with its own set of transportation and storage issues.
Sure, acquiring this incredible boat is a huge win. But now you have to figure out how to put the boat in the water, and find a storage place for those seasons when you need to pull it out of the water.
Don’t forget about learning how to hitch the trailer, and driving a vehicle with more than 20,000 pounds of towing capacity.
Your lifestyle, geographical location, and personal preferences will dictate your storage method.
Storage options include:
- Mooring: tethering your boat to a fixed object such as a pier, dock or mooring buoy.
- Dry storage facility: an outdoor storage unit for boats.
- Boat lift: keeps boats stored securely above and out of the water.
- In-water docking: pulling vessel parallel to dock and securing with dock lines.
Nothing Out Of The Ordinary On The Woodwork
The Freeman brand has been around for a long time so of course, we can find older boats that have some issues with the materials.
That’s only to be expected with boats that are more than six decades old.
We didn’t find anything though that was worth reporting here.
Demand Exceeds Supply
Freeman Boatworks build some of the best high-speed catamaran center consoles on the market.
The stellar reputation established by Freeman Boatworks has resulted in high demand for these offshore catamarans. Every boat ordered is custom-built in South Carolina to the customers’ specifications, which means the factory can only produce a limited number of boats per year.
Because Freeman exceeds the industry standards in performance and durability, customers are willing to pay a deposit to hold their position on the waitlist.
Some Freeman owners reported a 2 to 3-year wait to receive their new boat.
These luxury catamarans are built with speed and comfort in mind. Billy Freeman, the president of Freeman Boatworks said, “You will be able to scoot 50 miles per hour across a serious chop and enjoy a soft, dry ride.”
In 2021, Freeman Boatworks opened a new factory in South Carolina with the goal of custom building more high-quality vessels in a timely manner.
When it comes to fishing offshore on a Freeman-built catamaran, charter operators and amateurs are highly satisfied customers. The wait time is significant for a Freeman, but patience is rewarded with a phenomenal fishing experience.
General Pros and Cons of Freeman Boats
Freeman boats are high performance offshore fishing catamarans that offer a smooth, fast ride in a variety of sea conditions.
Operators and anglers often mention exceptional fishability: spacious deck, fantastic coffin box, rocket launchers, and rear-facing seating.
Freeman Boatworks has a proven track record of outstanding craftsmanship. Their catamarans are safe, durable and capable of operating at high speeds without sacrificing fuel efficiency.
- Demand Exceeds Supply
- Steep Learning Curve
- Hefty Price Tag
- Transportation and Storage
What Do the Reviews Say?
Most experienced anglers and charter operators rave about the high performance and remarkable features of Freeman boats.
“The most prominent feature is the massive coffin box mounted in front of the console. With its 800-quart capacity, it’ll keep a giant tuna perfectly chilled. The box also drains directly into the oversize half-pipe tunnel between sponsons for quick cleaning.”
Other than the long wait time to buy a Freeman, very few current Freeman owners have publicly expressed concerns or negative reviews about these catamarans.
Generally speaking, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, especially from people who prioritize a fantastic offshore experience.
“The leaning post is similarly designed for fishing to the exclusion of all else. It has rather massive tackle stowage in the sides, a 185-quart cooler, and a freshwater shower so you can begin washing down the gear long before you get back into the slip.”
What is the Resale Value on Freeman Boats?
The high demand for Freeman boats and overall customer satisfaction makes resale value difficult to assess.
Since buying a Freeman requires a significant investment and a long wait, owners are more likely to keep their custom-built offshore fishing catamarans and enjoy them for as long as possible.
Based on current trends in used boat sales, most owners are asking for a resale price close to what a customer would pay for a new catamaran.
However, it’s important to remember that luxury performance vessels depreciate because the original selling price is so high.
|Year & Model||Price|
|2020 Freeman 42LR||$1,295,000 (used)|
|2017 Freeman 42||$890,000 (used)|
|2017 Freeman 37||$630,000 (used)|
Billy Freeman set out to transform the offshore fishing boat industry when he started designing boats over ten years ago.
Freeman Boatworks focuses on quality craftsmanship and meeting the needs of customers who are passionate about the offshore fishing experience.
There’s a huge demand for these center console catamarans.
Charter fishing operators own Freeman boats because they’re stable, fast, and designed to protect passengers from the rough weather they often encounter when fishing at sea.
Whether you’re an experienced charter operator or a devoted angler, Freeman Boats offer exceptional fishability and a high-performance luxury offshore vessel.
The hallmarks of the brand include speed and durability, without sacrificing safety.
The only downside of this popular center console catamaran is the length of the waiting list to purchase one. If you’re in the market for a Freeman catamaran, be sure and schedule a sea trial with Freeman Boats.