Like her smaller 35-foot predecessor, the Freedom 40/40 enjoys a slick David Pedrick pedigree. This time designer and builder have targeted a size intended to be more comfortable and more spacious - though just as simple to handle, just as lively and, in the end, just as fun.
The 40/40 has a big.boat feeling, enough to let you know she's got the horsepower and stability to overcome generally adverse conditions. Her 9,693- pound, 6'11" lead fin keel and 13'6" beam combine to make her a stiff, stable boat capable of standing up to wind and sea. The real magic, however, is found in the rig and in the tremendous power derived from working sails alone.
Naturally the tapered freestanding carbon spar sets the 40/40 apart from many of her 40-foot competitors. The company asserts that by eliminating spreaders, most of the rigging and associated hardware, weight and windage are reduced. This also means that the mainsail can't chafe on what isn't there, and when you sail this boat off the wind, easing the main well out-board is more than possible - it's standard operating procedure. Notably, an all-standing jibe is safe and controlled. Here's an advantage all but lost in modem rigs that feature radically swept-back spreaders and outboard shrouds.
Fractional rigs make a lot of sense for shorthanded crews who like to sail but don't want to deal with a surplus of extraneous canvas and bulky sail bags. The 40/40's fully battened mainsail is as versatile as a photographer's zoom lens. Mainsail reeling is simplified with lazy jacks, a vang that doubles as a boom support, and well-placed blocks and winches that lead reeling paraphernalia back to the cockpit. We found amid mere ripples on Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay that the huge 719-square-foot mainsail and clean foil-shaped 307-squarefoot cambered jib coaxed the boat along without a problem.
A fine entry forward and wide beam carried well aft dampen pitching, so waves tend to roll where they belong without inhibiting hull performance through the water. In bigger seas it keeps them from careening over the decks and into the cockpit. "More is better," at least when it refers to how vigorously a cruising boat can be driven to windward with dry decks and a crew still smiling.
Those who aren't satisfied with the lacy pace of light air can take advantage of what longtime sailor and sailmaker Charles "Butch" Ulmer has brought to Freedom Yachts in a consulting capacity. Ulmer has "genoa-ized" and tweaked the sail plans or both the 35 and the 40/40 to a point where many cruising boats with conventional wire rigging find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
The helm on the 40/40 features a control console with "big-wheel, two-finger steering" and a sensible cluster of controls and instruments. The cockpit works as a central place from which to handle the boat efficiently under sail; it also doubles as a recreational focal point while at anchor, with a clever folding cockpit table affixed along the centerline.
A well-rounded sailboat, the 40/40 can make clean tracks to weather and remain safer and easier to control than comparable 40-footers downhill.
The 45-horsepower Yanmar diesel is a good choice for this Freedom as is the Max Prop that so efficiently translates torque into thrust. Hull speed under power was attainable easily without over-revving the engine, and good thrust and directional control in reverse were a given.
The layout aboard the 40/40 provides forward and after double berths for use in port, and two main saloon settee berths that, with the deployment of lee cloths, will serve the off watch at sea. An alternative off-center queen is available in the forepeak. The J-shaped galley has deep sinks close to the centertine and a gimballed Force Ten stove with broiler and oven. Across from the galley lies an aft-facing chart table. and it's notable that both of these elements are located where motion is minimal.
Among the hallmarks of a modern Freedom's interior are bright airy spaces, functional architectural components and simple, straight-forward design.
There are several hanging lockers and a lavish head and shower compartment to starboard as well as a basin and marine head in the forward cabin. Increased water tankage or the addition or a modern water maker might interest the long-term cruiser.
A visit to the plant reveals even more about the boat. The 40/40 is laid up by skilled fabricators, not unskilled labor. The factory understands how to minimize void content without puddling excess resin in the mold. Freedom offers vacuum-bagged core construction as an option, an extra cost that would no doubt prove to be a good investment in the long run.
In short, this Freedom's sturdy hull and deck, substantial inward-turning hull flange and heavily reinforced hull-to-deck joint, even in hard-to-reach places such as the transom-to-hull condition, point to the company's extra effort to earn a "built-to-last" reputation. American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) plan approval is combined with a transferable 10-year osmotic blister warranty. The general layup features a core of Baltek Contourkore end-grain balsa sandwiched between layers of biaxial and unidirectional glass roving. Blister-resistant vinylester resin is used for all outer hull layers. Solid GRP transverse floor supports are bonded directly into the hull. The hull-to-deck joint is secured in 3M 5200 adhesive/sealant and bolted mechanically on six-inch centers through a clear anodized aluminum toe rail.
Freedom, like other builders, assembles many of the boat's components on the shop floor rather than in the boat. Electricians and mechanics appreciate the luxury of stand-up installations in lieu of in-the-bilge contortions. Fortunately, Freedom has gone one step further and made sure that what's easy 10 execute when the boat is in pieces on the shop floor doesn't become impossible to maintain or replace once the vessel is assembled. We noticed this in an extensive inspection of systems and construction derails aboard a finished 40/40. The engine, for example, is located beneath the midship L extension of the port settee and is serviceable virtually from all lour sides.
Stainless steel ports, matched cherry veneers and intelligently situated quality light fixtures are just a few examples of how Freedom follows the necessary credo of 'doing it right.' They are also a few of the reasons why this boat doesn't carry a bargain-basement price tag. However, once you factor in the quality of construction and tick off how many typical "options" are in fact standard on the 40/40, you'll probably begin to see why good value in the new boat market does not always equate with the lowest price.
OUR RECOMMENDED SAILING GEAR