ADVENTURES, EXPERIENCES AND LIFE WITH A CLASSIC MOTOR CRUISER
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.
Winter pub run in a weather window
With a small weather window on a Sunday in March, myself and my daughter took the opportunity to make a dash from Ranworth to the Ludham Kings Arms via Womack Staithe before silly season gets going in April were all hope of picking up an impromtu mooring there is lost. This is perhaps no bad thing as easy
First trip out in 2023 to Womack Staithe
I'd been looking forward to this first foray out with 'White Lady' in 2023 with the promise of a tasty Sunday carvery at the Ludham Kings Arms. Everything started well but after about half an hour into the trip, the newly re-conditioned engine started missing and when opening the throttle, a backfire or two. Although annoying, we returned
Freeman 2022 Northern Broads meet at Salhouse
These days I steer clear of social media a far as possible and now strictly restrict my use of Facebook to a couple of boating groups. One of the groups (Freeman Cruiser Owners) has become a great source of advice and information over the last 12 months with members forming a very active community. A wonderful lady called
Ranworth to Horstead Mill (Coltishall)
With autumn fast approaching, this weekend seemed like a great opportunity to undertake a modest 'bucket-list' trip from Ranworth to Coltishall and perhaps beyond. It was only really an overnighter, but every trip however small seems to feel like a proper holiday at the moment. The trip to the boat on a Saturday meant it would be a
Travels to the Southern Broads – 2022
Ranworth to Stracey Arms In August 2022 we undertook our first extended cruise as a family to the southern Norfolk Broads, using the Stracey Arms as our jumping off point for making the appropriate tide through Great Yarmouth at slack water (roughly an hour after low water). Pictures below are taken en-route from where the Thurne joins
For many years we owned a small Swift 18 Trailer Sailer which we moored alongside our floating home but simply didn't find the opportunities to sail her, given that most of the time we were tide bound, sitting on the mud in a rarely dredged harbour. It seemed a long shot but we enquired about mooring somewhere on
Switch to electronic ignition
Before I refurbished my engine, it had been my plan to replace the points ignition with electronic, simply because on the face of it there would be less to go wrong. I purchased an Accuspark Ford Pre X-Flow distributor pack (F25D Top Cap) with a Red Sports Coil Non Ballast, a set of Pre Cross Flow red leads
Engine re-build rough costings
This is a very rough costing guide to re-build my Ford pre-crossflow (Watermota) engine excluding any labour or travel. Some of the smaller items were unnecessary but thought it would be better to have a few spare nuts on hand rather than lose a day on the project establishing the exact number needed for example. Some service kit
She’s Alive ! Test run to Horning
She's finally running ! I was pulling out all the stops to get 'White Lady's' engine sorted and running for a Boxing Day cruise from Ranworth to Horning but it wasn't to be. Martin had built up the engine and all the ancillaries were fitted from the fuel pump through to cooling system plumbing and exhaust. The raw
Engine re-build almost there
Having overcome the piston and big-end bearing issues, the stalled engine re-build could continue. The final assembly of the engine bottom end came together with only minor difficulties such as having to hammer in the rope rear crank oil seals which have made turning the engine over quite stiff. I'm sure this will loosen up quickly enough however.
New pistons are here
If any of you are mad enough to re-build your 105e Watermota engine, this might be a rare situation you might come across. Having spent a small age stripping down, re-machining, replacing parts and painting my engine ready for re-assembly with the incredibly helpful Martin Festa Bulldeath. We started to fit replacement oil seals and got to the
Stub shaft and gear is back from machining
Following on from this post I have had had my stub shaft and gear machined to correct asymmetrical wear on both the shaft and bearing resulting from a loose key in an incorrectly sized keyway. The wedging effect of the loose key resulted in an egg-shaped wear pattern on the bearing/cog fitting and an oval shaft. This was