Life with a Freeman 22 MK II

Life with a Freeman 22 MK II2024-04-17T10:16:32+01:00


Freeman 22 MKII

In September of 2021 I became the owner of a 1968 Freeman 22 MKII river cruiser located on the Norfolk Broads.

The boat ‘White Lady’ was in moderate condition, some might say excellent for an over 50 year old GRP vessel. She had her original un-painted gel coat, worn close to the laminate through years of loving polish or perhaps just a couple of over-zealous episodes with coarse cutting compound. She had new upholstery which left a good impression, possibly masking some issues as a first time Freeman owner that would only become apparent after I bought her. Lady was by no means a project but also not a show boat.

This blog is my own personal archive of experiences and technical undertakings which family and friends may find enjoyable (not everything needs to be on facebook) along with others that are about to or have embarked on a similar journey to me. Some pages or galleries will be private as they contain personal family images however I will endeavour to create the equivalent galleries with images removed of family members pulling silly faces or emerging hung-over in the early hours of the day after a heavy night before.

As to my background, my name is Chris and have worked in the marine industry since the mid 90’s, primarily in chandleries. I’ve owned a multitude of boats, mostly of the sailing kind and mostly kept in salt water. I’ve had the pleasure of learning to sail on my father’s International Pandora and owning my first boat, a deep fin keeled Westerly GK24 moving on to a bilge keeled Hunter 272. In more recent times I acquired a Swift 18 trailer sailer which I kept briefly on the Broads until discovering that dropping the mast to go under bridges was a bit of a nuisance without some expensive modifications. I sold the Swift 18 which partially funded the purchase of my current F22 MKII.

The Freeman 22 MK II is a classic motor boat that has captured the hearts of boating enthusiasts for over five decades. Designed by John Freeman, the founder of Freeman Cruisers Ltd, the Freeman 22 MK II was first introduced in the 1960s as a sleek and stylish vessel that combined classic lines with modern performance. This iconic motor boat quickly gained popularity among boaters who sought a reliable and comfortable vessel for exploring rivers, canals, and coastal waters.

Over the years, the Freeman 22 MK II has undergone various improvements and modifications, but its timeless design and exceptional craftsmanship have remained unchanged. Today, these classic motor boats are cherished by boating enthusiasts who appreciate their elegant style, spacious interiors, and superior handling on the water.

Whether you’re a seasoned boater or a first-time owner, the Freeman 22 MK II is a vessel that offers both beauty and functionality. With its classic lines, comfortable accommodations, and smooth cruising capabilities, it’s no wonder that the Freeman 22 MK II remains a beloved part of boating history.


A dinghy on the side

Much as I have a passion for my Freeman 22 and cruising her, at heart I'm a sailor having had small yachts all my life. I didn't exactly learn to sail in a dinghy as is the norm, but with a friend's Leisure 17 and shortly after my father's MK1 fin-keeled Pandora. The first yacht I owned was

14 May 2024|Categories: Blog|

First overnighter of the 2024 season

I'd decided to make the weekend clear to sort out a few jobs on 'Lady' before getting into the season. The previous weekend was spent washing down and polishing the topsides and my mission now was to fully service my engine water pump which needed new shaft seals, replace the fuel filter/water separator element and fit a new

16 April 2024|Categories: Travelogue|

Winter Sunday lunch trip

I know it's hardly worth blogging about going for Sunday lunch, but when it's the middle of December with the boat semi in commission then it's certainly worth sharing the virtues of keeping the boat ready for the occasional beautiful winter day rather than entirely giving up on cruising. I thought my engine was going to give trouble

18 December 2023|Categories: Blog, Travelogue|

Flooded moorings

It's that horrible time of year where the sunshine becomes something of a rarity and storms roll in. With many storms on the Broads comes the phenomenon of 'tidal locking'. Essentially, high tides and storm surges, coupled often with heavy rain result in water being unable to drain sufficiently between tides. Flooding and salt-surges are often the

8 November 2023|Categories: Blog, Travelogue|

Making to most of an Indian Summer weekend

The forecast was for a minor heatwave for this early October weekend and although we're keeping the boat largely in commission for the winter it certainly did feel like it had to be enjoyed now. The idea was to take a simple and relaxing trip from Ranworth to Coltishall via an overnight stop at my favourite mooring at

9 October 2023|Categories: Travelogue|

Freeman meet at Salhouse 2023

In 2022, we joined our first Freeman gathering, not being familiar with anyone and having no idea what type of people Freeman owners might be. We were greeted by a wonderful selection of characters with a wealth of backgrounds and no hint of elitism. I had expected some chin stroking with technical debate and in fact I was

24 September 2023|Categories: Travelogue|


Water pump shaft seals replacement and general service

Last autumn (2023) I noticed a small oily water leak from what appeared to be my water pump. It was by no means severe and something I put off till the start of the season. In my mind I'd built it up to be something potentially difficult, given I had no idea how it would all come apart. I

14 April 2024|Categories: Technical|

Semi Winterising

I refuse to admit defeat, with the majority of other boats around me being either hauled out for winter, winterised afloat or simply abandoned till the spring. None of these options really work for me as I do like to grab an opportunity for a winter cruise or trip to an empty staithe to access a pub which

25 November 2023|Categories: Blog, Technical|

Trying to get a shine

Lot of us must have a similar problem with 55 year old gelcoat simply not polishing up and precious little left to compound. Whilst trying to avoid painting for as long as possible, I've tried out a multitude of premium cleaners and waxes from hybrid ceramic to traditional premium carnuba wax and ultimately 2 coats of Star brite

16 October 2023|Categories: Technical|

Replacing oil pump and filter assembly for spin-on fitting

A small upgrade this time. My Ford Pre-crossflow engine (105E Kent) originally comes with an oil pump/filter assembly which has a lower cannister which holds a replicable filter. This cannister is held in place by a bolt served through the top of the pump which draws the filter cannister tight against a flat rubber sealing ring. 60 years

1 October 2023|Categories: Technical|

Fitting a Fridge – Making the Seat Box

Having ascertained that a reasonably sized fridge mounted in a traditional fashion, opening into the cockpit area, wasn't going to be worthwhile, I've chosen to mount it transversely with the door opening into the helm footwell. This is a bit of a compromise, but to have the door open over the rear seat, the box would have been

19 July 2023|Categories: Technical|

Lift, scrub, grind, fill and antifoul

Just a quick haul out, polish, antifoul and splash back in...  ...not likely ! The haul out was fairly trouble-free although the slipway near our berth has a very shallow incline with the tide fairly low, making the whole operation quite marginal. I've never seen 'Lady' out of the water before, having bought her on good faith (arguably

3 July 2023|Categories: Technical|
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