|A true performance cruising catamaran she is one of only 2 version 1 Waterline 1480s. She was built by Jeff Schionning recomended professional boatbuilders as their home (construction photos available). She is a one owner vessel, built light but strong, and exceptionally well maintained.
Freedom Express lives up to her name. She is easily driven in light airs and with her waterline length and positive buoyancy in her bows she takes big seas in her stride making her a very safe, comfortable home. A layer of kevlar on the bottom of the hulls inside and out provides extra strength. Adding to the safety aspect all the soles are glassed in to provide a watertight seal. With the areas under the soles divided into 50 watertight buoyancy compartments, if the bottom is holed she can still be safely sailed home.
She also features a sounder in each hull which makes navigating narrow channels easy.
Safety and ease of handling were of prime importance during the build. Winches and deck gear are set up for shorthanded sailing and with the screacher, genoa and storm jib all on furlers she is easily sailed by 2 people in all conditions. 7 winches around the cockpit and 3 winches on the mast make sail handling easy. The lazy jacks and boom rack contain the mainsail when it drops with the batten cars and the spinnaker in its sock is also easy to manage. A large sail locker is located in the foredeck of each hull.
She is also a very comfortable cruising home, featuring 2 almost king size berth cabins with reverse cycle air-conditioning and walk in robes fwd in the hulls.
Single berth cabin stbd aft, roomy head and shower pt aft, nav/office to port and a large well designed galley with lots of storage and bench space to stbd in the centre of the hulls. Meals are simply passed up to the servery next to the saloon table. The openess of the servery also allows the person in the galley to have full contact with people in the saloon and cockpit.
The water tanks are made of 9mm welded tasteless food grade plastic, have a lifetime guarantee and are easily accessed for cleaning. The water supply has an inline charcoal filter.
Privacy is provided to the sleeping cabins by lightweight Roman blinds which don't encroach on the cabin space.
Up on the bridgedeck is a huge saloon and dining area, perfect for entertaining, with comfortable seating for 6 around the table which lowers and slides out to become a coffee table. This creates a lounge area that seats 12.
An entertainment area opposite the seating contains a sound system. The TV and DVD player plus battery chargers and inverter are inside the unit, hidden behind timber tambour doors when not in use. A huge drawer below keeps CDs and DVDs handy.
2 doors and 2 opening windows in the aft bulkhead, 2 large opening hatches in the cabin front and ducted ventilation from the dash areas keep the saloon well ventilated. The ducted ventilation draws fresh air from outside and has outlets over both fwd berths and in the saloon. If there isn't enough breeze to create air flow just flick a switch and fans in the ducting draw fresh air through. 2 large side windows add to the light airy feel. All windows and companionway doors are tinted toughened glass.
In the cockpit the raised central helm provides vision to all points of the boat, essential for manoeuvring in tight spaces. It also has a lot of storage under. A table fits onto the helm seat pedestal for 'sundowners' at the anchorage. A hardtop and clear view screens provide excellent protection from the elements (and flying fish).
Under the wrap around cockpit seat is a gas bottle locker, a 100ltr built in esky and plenty of storage for life jackets, rope etc. The generator is also in its own vented locker and can be run in situ.
The 644 watts of solar panels generate enough power to charge the 670amph of battery under most conditions so the generator is rarely needed.
Large transom steps down to the water create a stable area for exiting the water and the dinghy. The dinghy fits snugly under the targa when not in use, taking only a few minutes to launch and retrieve.
The port transom has a deck wash in the engine locker perfect for washing down the steps after cleaning fish or switched to fresh water it becomes a transom shower. Another deck wash is in a fwd locker handy for washing the anchor chain as it comes aboard. The anchor is fitted with a twist anchor chain swivel to make sure it always comes up the right way around.
Engines are 2 x 30hp 4 stroke outboards which are mounted in the hulls and they raise and lower hydraulically. Plates fitted to the bottom of the legs close the hulls when the motors are raised to reduce drag while under sail. Yes she has had to motor of a lee shore into a 40 knot southerly at 2.00am and the outboards did it without a problem.
After her launch in Brisbane, Freedom Express spent time exploring Moreton Bay before setting off for her new home in Darwin. Since being based in Darwin she has done a lot of local cruising, numerous trips to the Kimberley in Western Australia, 4 Darwin to Ambon races (Indonesia), 1 Darwin to Dili Race (Timor Leste) and 2 trips to the Tanimbar Islands (Indonesia). In all but 2 Darwin to Ambon races and the Darwin to Dili Race she was sailed by just 2 people through glassouts, squalls and strong wind warnings, taking it all in her stride. She is well proven and is a delight to live on and sail so is still being lived on, sailed and maintained.
The exterior was repainted in 2011 and the interior refitted in 2015. Good quality 2 pack polyurethane paints were used inside and out.
The installation and operation instructions that came with the equipment on board has been filed along with the serial numbers (serial numbers are required by Customs for offshore travel).
She comes with a huge range of spares plus numerous charts of North Qld, The Top End, Kimberley Coast, Indonesia, South East Asia and is ready to head off on your next adventure. We are happy to to spend some time with the purchasers helping them become familiar with all aspects of the vessel. If more photos or info are required we are happy to provide them.
September 2016: Freedom Express had her annual service done. 3 coats of antifoul, systems checked, motors serviced and the whole vessel detailed and polished. The screacher had the UV strip replaced.