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Old 01-10-2014, 09:32 PM   #1
Griswold
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My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

After looking at several other boats, I went to Freeman's facility in Charleston, South Carolina and checked out their operation. Their work space is huge, and very well kept.

Billy is never satisfied, is always working on new designs, improvements to existing product lines, and is highly involved in all aspects of the design and fabrication of his boats. It was cool hanging out with someone who is living the American Dream, building his business from the ground up, working his butt off, doing what he loves.

I got to see some test hulls where he is working on putting trip 350's on a 37' stepped hull cat, and mods that he's made to his highly successful 33' cat hull which will make it even more efficient with the heavy loads that the guys in Louisiana put in them for long runs.

I was looking for something a little smaller, that I could easily handle with just the family, and trailer around without drama. Their 29 looked like it would work well, so we took it for a ride.

The day was a good one for testing the capabilities of the boat. Blowing 15 knots with a nasty, tight chop. The boat absolutely ate it up - very soft ride, no awkward cat ride stuff, no sneezing, stable easy roll at drift. The boat felt as solid as a rock - no shake or rattles. Oh yea, I forgot to mention FAST!! The one we rode on had twin 350's, shot out of the hole like a rocket and topped out around 65 mph with 4 blade props. He's had it over 70 with different props. More important to me was cruise speed and efficiency. With the 350's it will cruise at 45 mph at about 1.8 mpg. Billy's recommendation was twin 300's stating that you lose some top end (60ish top speed), but get better fuel efficiency at cruise speeds.

I was sold when in addition to dealing with the nasty mixed up sea conditions just outside of the pass, Billy launched it over a LARGE freighter wake right off the stern of the ship. I couldn't believe how softly we landed. That would have hurt in most boats.

Here's a drawing of the layout along with some pictures of earlier builds.
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Last edited by Griswold; 01-10-2014 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:21 PM   #2
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

This is the color that I've decided to go with.
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:10 AM   #3
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

I rode the 33. It is legit.

Btw the boat is pretty wide to trailer all the time.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:35 AM   #4
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

I would definitely go with the 300's over the 350's. They are bullet proof and that is more important than performance in my book. Garmin is coming out with a new side scan unit that would be the ticket for the core of your electronics. Just saying
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:19 AM   #5
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

Cool as hell boat. I haven't been to Baton Rouge in years ; ) Congratulations on a beautiful boat.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:49 AM   #6
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

GR, you are absolutely right about the 300 Yamaha's, sweet engine - lots of power in the mid range where you want it, and bulletproof. Definitely getting these.

I'm still on the fence regarding electronics. Having used Furuno for years, I know how they operate, so I'm not scared off by what is generally the biggest knock on them, which is the fact that they are way less user friendly than the others.

I've used some of the newer Garmin's for just a couple days and really liked them; didn't see any downsides to them.

From what I read, Simrad appears to be leading the industry with the newest technology, but at times has brought products to market that didn't have all the bugs worked out.

Hoping that my schedule allows me to get down to the Miami boat show, where I can spend a good deal with all three.

Very interested in the new deeper water side scan units, advances in sounders, etc.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:54 AM   #7
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

Furuno for bottom machine, and Garmin for GPS
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:24 PM   #8
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

This boat will be used for the following:
(1) Freediving
(2) Cruising with family, friends, kids, etc.
(3) Scuba diving
(4) Fishing - bottom, trolling, deep dropping, swordfishing.

The general layout works well for all of these, but will require some customization. Here are my initial thoughts for each:
(1) Freediving - I'm having the front insulated fish boxes lengthened to 6'-6" to accommodate long fish like wahoo. This will also allow me to use these boxes for storing gun bags which include tuna guns. I Love the fact we won't have to live with all the gun bags all over the deck anymore.

I plan to use these boxes for gear storage unless we get lucky enough to need a place for fish that won't fit in the 450 quart coffin box.

I plan to build custom gun racks for easy access to guns during the day.

Otherwise, I think the boat is pretty much perfect for freediving as is.

(2) Cruising and fishing with family, etc. The front coffin box will be padded, as will the front of the console. This makes for a great forward seat. Also, the coffin box works out well for bottom fishing since kids can sit on it while "manning" their rods which can stay in the side rod holders.

There is an Armstrong type dive ladder which fits to the stern between the engines. Plenty of room between the engines.

Not sure whether to get a front pad, or just use Pat's great E-Searider bean bags as forward seating/lounging options. I think I'll start with several of Pat's bags and see how it goes.

(3) Scuba - I'm thinking that I'll add some removable roll control brackets along the sides between the aft and forward hatches. Also, there is so much below deck storage, that I may have just enough roll control brackets for tanks that are rigged with bc, regs, etc. for use and leave the rest below deck.

I will not have a pass through transom door. I plan to just sit on the live well and swing my legs over the transom when boarding. Very minor inconvenience in my book.

(4) Fishing - I'll add a couple of electric reel outlets for deep dropping.
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:35 PM   #9
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

Great looking boat. I really like that it has a lot more deadrise at the transom than most other cats. Enjoy the hell out of that thing.
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Old 01-11-2014, 03:20 PM   #10
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

Good for you bro. Good luck with the process. Can't wait to see it unfold, very cool idea for the thread.
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:36 PM   #11
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

VERY nice boat!!!
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Old 01-12-2014, 05:48 PM   #12
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

Here are a few pics of coffin box, console, t-top from earlier builds.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:36 PM   #13
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

Looks incredible Chad!
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:09 PM   #14
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

your not gonna get twofootitis? I mean, that is the smallest model they make...
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:40 PM   #15
Griswold
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Re: My Dream Boat Build Thread 29 Freeman

I think that I'll be able to make due with this little one.
Seriously, I think this boat hits a sweet spot: big enough to handle nasty seas, great layout, lots of storage - it has 5 insulated fish boxes (wow), plenty of power and speed, rock solid, economical on fuel 1.5 to 2 mpg at 35 to 45 mph, and still reasonable to trailer.
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