Life with a Freeman 22 MK II

Life with a Freeman 22 MK II2023-09-21T00:10:51+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.


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|

Fitting a fridge – The preparation

There's not a huge amount of space to fit modern conveniences on a Freeman 22 MKII and a fridge is a bit of a challenge. White Lady at some point was fitted with a combination gas/electric fridge mounted under the helm seat. It wasn't a pretty installation and I removed the fridge as it wasn't working and wouldn't

30 June 2023|Categories: Technical|


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|

The Holy Grail – Getting under Potter Heigham Bridge

As autumn and the inevitable winter threatens to displace what was in reality a fairly drenched summer, we decided to undertake what must be the Holy Grail of Broads cruising, passing under Potter Heigham Bridge. To start our trip we managed to get on board White Lady for the early afternoon on Friday. The weather was beautifully warm but

12 September 2023|Categories: Travelogue|

Summer Holiday 2023

A hesitant start from Wroxham to Loddon (Pyes Mill Mooring) Our summer cruise was intended to start on the Monday, leaving Ranworth for an early Breydon water crossing however this plan failed when the original braised exhaust flange which bolts to the cooling water injection elbow failed, filling the engine compartment with water and fumes. Our

22 August 2023|Categories: Travelogue|

Relaxing at Belaugh

Not the greatest adventure on this little weekend trip, but with the weather almost switching overnight from grim winter to heatwave I couldn't resist a relaxing overnighter at what must be my favourite 'local' mooring at Belaugh. There's at best space for two boats and has a fantastic miniature green, offering a wonderful sunset and a shady morning.

12 June 2023|Categories: Travelogue|
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