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Yachtsnet's archive of boat details and pictures

The following information and photographs are displayed as a service to anyone researching yacht types. HOWEVER THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND TEXT ARE COVERED BY COPYRIGHT, AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF YACHTSNET LTD. Details and photographs are normally based on one specific yacht, but could be a compilation. No reliance should be placed on other yachts of the same class being identical.  Where common variations exist, we have endeavoured to indicate this in these archive details.

Freedom 35 (cat ketch)

Brief details


Freedom Yachts/Western Yachts

Combining a traditional, full-bodied and moderately heavy displacement long keel hull with an unstayed carbon-fibre wishbone cat ketch rig, the Freedom 35 is an unusual yacht. Designed to be easy to sail, Freedoms 35s are often found making long offshore passages, where their downwind and offwind speed is useful. To many eyes the unstayed rig looks "wrong", but in practice it is strong and reliable - the designer pointing out that even in the 1970s few airliners were being built with wires holding their wings in place. The sleeved sails give a very efficient aerofoil section - akin to a wingsail.

* The word cat in the "cat ketch" description refers not to catamarans, but to American north-east coast style "catboats" which have a mast very close to the bow with no jib.


34' 9"

Sail area

576 sq ft main and mizzen


30' 0"


cat ketch*


11' 0"


2 plus saloon


4' 2"




12,000 lbs


inboard diesel


3,800 lbs



Keel type

Long keel with external lead ballast keel and transom-hung rudder. Some yachts also had a centreboard.

Freedom 35 cat ketch

In 1976 Gary Hoyt and Halsey Herreshof designed the first Freedom - a 40-footer with twin unstayed wishbone rigged masts - a cat ketch. The design was aimed at producing a very easily sailed yacht with good performance, particularly on long distance offwind passages, where the first Freedom 40 gave some racing yachts nasty surprises on long offwind races. The Freedom 40 was soon followed by other sized versions, this being the Freedom 35, built in the UK by Western Approaches of Falmouth for the distributor Freedom Yachts. Both long fixed keel and centreboard versions were built, the boat illustrated being a fixed keel example.

Like all the cat ketch Freedoms, the 35 is both easy to sail, and remarkably fast on a reach. With a full-bodied long keel hull form windward performance is less spectacular, although quite respectable. The interior is very nicely finished, and has six berths in three cabins. The carbon fibre unstayed masts have aluminium wishbone booms which when set are angled down, needing no kicking strap. Both mainsails have single line slab reefing, and a mizzen staysail can also be set if desired.

As the carbon masts were very expensive to build, some later Freedom 35 cat ketches had alloy masts with sail tracks, still unstayed. The carbon masts are both lighter, and give a better sail set.


In the 1990s a second Freedom 35 design appeared, with design by David Pedrick. Although also called a Freedom 35, this was very different, with a single unstayed mast, small jib and mainsial with conventional boom. The hull of this was a much more modern fin keel design, instead of the long keel of the original Freedoms.

Freedom 35 for sale

The hull moulding is balsa-cored from deck to waterline,
with solid GRP below, with an external lead ballast keel.

Yachts seen here are no longer for sale - the data is online as a free information service for buyers researching boat types. THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE COVERED BY COPYRIGHT, AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF YACHTSNET LTD.

Go to our brokerage section for boats currently for sale

The forecabin has vee-berths, with good locker space. An infill could be fitted if required to make a double berth.

Freedom 35 cat ketch

The chart table is opposite the heads compartment, in the walkway through to the forecabin. A Taylors diesel heater is mounted on the bulkhead by the chart table, although the yacht is also ducted for hot-air heating (the blown air heater itself has been removed)

Freedom 35 cat ketch


The keel-stepped aft mast inevitably intrudes into the saloon, but does form a backrest for crew using the galley on the starboard side. In this photo the white box under the table is a dehumidifier. The table top lowers to turn the settee into a double berth

Looking forward in the saloon
to heads and forecabin

The aft cabin has two single berths, with the engine box in the centre, and an opening port out into the cockpit

The Volvo MD11C or MD2003 engines were the usual engines fitted to UK-built Freedom 35s - this being a MD2003. US-built boats may have different engines, and by now some of the early Volvos may have been replaced.

The Freedom 35 hull and deck is a fairly heavily laid up GRP/end-grain balsa core laminate. The lead keel is faired in to the GRP hull with a thin skin of epoxy or polyester filler.

The cockpit has the companionway to starboard of the aft cabin extension to the cabin top. To port is an extended seat - sheltered by the sprayhood.

All lines lead back to the cockpit, where all sail handling is via a single central self-tailing Barlow winch. There are two single-line reef points on the foresail, and one on the mizzen.

Freedom 35 cat ketch
Freedom 35 cat ketch

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