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Old 08-12-2013, 13:12   #1
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Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

I have an internal debate raging, and want some opinions of these 2 boats.

Me:
The Admiral and I plan to live aboard full time within the next 5 years and want a multihull, but the whole "Go Small Go Now" argument keeps me looking at monohuls. Berthing is cheaper and more readily available for monohull boats. Staying under 40 feet is cheaper in the Bahamas. Monohull boats cost less to own and operate, easier to insure, etc, etc, etc....... so the 2 boats that I keep coming back to are the Gulf 32, and the Freedom 39 Pilothouse. I like Pilothouse boats for the protection and comfort in rough weather. The improved visibility and light from the pilothouse windows is nice. So we need a good solid blue water boat, comfortable for 2, easy to singlehand, separate shower stall, and capability to cross oceans without having to strap a dozen Jerry cans to the deck.

Gulf 32:
I think it looks great! The big pilot house with overhangs shading the windows and flush deck just make the thing a beauty!. Great headroom inside the pilothouse, a true pilothouse. Deep aft cockpit, well protected. Modest sloop or cutter rig should be easy to handle. Seakindly ride due to the full keel. Most people don't seem to question the blue water ability of this boat. Its a little small, doesn't have a separate shower stall, but otherwise seems to fit all of our requirements. The biggest pro for this boat is the price, nicely equipped boats range from $30-$40k. That is very appealing.

Freedom 39 Pilothouse:
Bigger and nicer interior, separate shower, and the Cat Schooner rig is something I very much like. The freedoms caught my eye many years ago because of the free standing rigs. Simple, no stays, with the Cat Schooner rig there are no headsails, so less cost to replace sails, most rigging is duplicated between the foremast and mainmast so spare parts are interchangeable. I absolutely LOVE the cat schooner rig. The boat is much more of a performer than the Gulf. Cored hull, wing keel, much more sail area. Larger tankage and the much nicer interior make this more comfortable to live in one would think. It has a rear berth, so sleeping in not so smooth conditions would be a little nicer than in the Gulf's forward V berth. The downside is that it costs $20-30k MORE, than the Gulf.

Even though the Freedom would be a much better sailing boat, with its modern lines, modern materials, wing keel, and great Cat Schooner rig, the Gulf just looks so great to me. The Freedom has a rear berth, and is 7 feet longer, but with that added berth, and second head in there, i wonder how the interior actually "Feels" compared to the smaller Gulf without the second berth and head. Most opinions I have read indicate the Freedom is a questionable blue water boat, the Gulf seems to have a much better reputation for its blue water ability, even with 7 fewer feet overall.

If you had to choose one of these boats to live on and sail around the world, which would it be and why, or why not?

Thanks
Stephen

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Old 08-12-2013, 13:17   #2
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

you lost me at cored hull on the freedom.
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Old 08-12-2013, 13:20   #3
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

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Originally Posted by keyspc View Post
you lost me at cored hulhttp://www.cruisersforum.com/images/smilies/viking.gifl on the freedom.
My understanding is the Hull is cored on the Freedoms, but I am no expert on it by any means. Are they solid below the waterline? Just my opinion on this but I do prefer solid glass boats below the waterline.

Stephen
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Old 08-12-2013, 13:24   #4
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

I have no idea but have seen home built cats with cored hull. after so many nightmares with decks and piolt houses I'd be scared of a cored hull.
Many older Boston whaler's are waterlogged slugs and delamainating their the only cored hull i know of.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:43   #5
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Just my two cents stay with the gulf 32 or a rawson 30 built tough both are good . I have a Bristol 29 we sail Lake Erie been a lot of places my wife and I can handle this size no big deal . Can get in dam near anywhere we want to go . Just right for two.and just like you thought it cheaper to maintain and dockage etc#
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Old 17-02-2014, 11:53   #6
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

Hello,

I purchased a Freedom 39 PH a year ago and so far am very satisfied. There is no doubt in my mind that this boat is a blue water boat. It is of a very high build quality.

Be careful who you trust. Many people are not comfortable with deviation from the norm, and a freestanding cat-schooner rig certainly is different. Here is a link to a thread on the Boat Design forum about the seaworthiness of the Freedom 39 which will outline the comment I just made!

Seaworthiness of Freedom 39 Cat-Schooner - Boat Design Forums

Also, you may want to read the book "Sailing in Grandfather's Wake" by Ian Thew. He recounts his sail around the world in a Freedom 39 PH.

As far as the cored hull, well yes it is cored even below the water line. Cored hulls are extremely strong and there is no inherent problem with them. Have the boat surveyed by a competent surveyor. If it has core problems, stay away, if not then from now on it's up to you to make sure it doesn't develop any problems.

Good luck.

Pierre-André Folot
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Old 17-02-2014, 11:58   #7
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

Here's a review of the Freedom 39 PH by Robert Perry of Sailing Magazine in 1982.
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Old 17-02-2014, 12:04   #8
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

Here's a review of the Freedom 39 PH by Yachting Monthly, 1988.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Freedom 39 PH - Yachting Monthly - January 1988.pdf (503.7 KB, 308 views)
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Old 17-02-2014, 12:25   #9
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

And a review by Yachting World in 1988. This on I've linked to the Freedom Yachts forum because the file is too large to be posted here.

Freedom 39 PH - Yachting World - March 1988 - Long Test

Cheers!
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Old 17-02-2014, 13:11   #10
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

I suspect that you might like the Gulf just fine, but you'll probably fall in love with the Freedom...
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Old 17-02-2014, 13:53   #11
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

I haven't seen those reviews before, thanks for the links. Gamayun, you're probably right.
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Old 17-02-2014, 14:44   #12
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

We were thinking of buying a Gulf 32 until we chartered one. When we sailed we used the cockpit steering station since we had access to the lines and could see how the sails were drawing. When the weather was bad we motored and went below... What an eye opener, or eye closer to be more exact. Under power the stern settles a bit and the bow comes up. The view forward from below was the sky! Nice view to the side but before you buy give it a try motoring from the pilot house.
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Old 17-02-2014, 14:56   #13
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

Well Annie, to be honest, you can say the same of the Freedom 39 PilotHouse. In my opinion, it should really be called the Freedom 39 Deck Saloon as the Pilot House is not very useful. The view forward from below is not very good. Also of interest, the inside steering station was an option. My unit doesn't have it and I'm very happy about that.

Cheers!
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Old 17-02-2014, 15:15   #14
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Re: Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

very good points, you would think the Freedom would not pitch up as much because of the longer waterline, but it has much smaller forward windows, so I suppose it would be a trade off.
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Old 17-02-2014, 19:51   #15
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Gulf 32, or Freedom 39 Pilothouse?

I own a 39' Express not the PH Freedom. A good friend owned a 32' Gulf for many years and single handed it into his late 60s. For living aboard the Freedom is going to provide much more space. The Gulf is definitely a solid boat but didn't seem to sail particularly well. The owner seemed to be forever chasing electrical issues. I don't know if that was caused by the age of the vessel or a poor initial installation from the factory. He did eventually have nearly all the wiring replaced with new breaker panels installed $$$. I believe the owner told me concrete was used for ballast. I would think that on all points of sail there would be a substantial advantage to the longer waterline of the F39PH. Tacking the F39 is much easier. I second all comments made by PAF above.
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