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 the Broads by way of elimination before we sold her. Because she was only 18 feet, to our surprise, we actually bound an available berth and leaped at the chance.
We enjoyed a good part of the season and the winter of 2021 trying out ideas such as converting to an electric outboard but it became clear that without a fair bit of modification of the rig, we were locked into a restricted cruising area constrained by bridges. Apart from anything else, most pub moorings seemed to be on the wrong side of most bridges.
There was nothing for it, I had fallen in love with the area and needed to find an alternative. With the onset of the pandemic, boat prices went through the roof, particularly for small ‘impulse buy’ boats like our Swift. We put it on the market at a keen price and it was snapped up within 12 hours of being listed.
This gave us a great down payment on an alternative vessel. Ex hire Broads cruisers were well out of our price bracket as well as pretty much anything else but whilst exploring small cruisers like Hardys, a type of boat kept appearing at generally well under £10,000. I’d actually seen one moored on the Bure thinking, ‘my word, that looks dated’ and then thinking ‘That looks fantastic, it’s just like a Fiat 500 !’. The boat I’d been seeing was a Freeman 22 MKII.
I used to DJ with a small sound system and lighting rig however with the pandemic came a complete shutdown of all the venues I performed at. As the lockdown dragged on, I couldn’t see a real end to it despite looking at the future with rose tinted glasses. The equipment was sold but the funds were sufficient to start looking for a good Freeman 22 MKII.
I scoured the internet intensely on the hunt for an ideal boat and must at one point been aware of every F22 available or just sold in the UK (If had ben published online). At this point I had a very good idea what to look for, eliminating any fixer-uppers or worse still, the £10,000 plus examples being sold by dreamers and major yacht brokers. In the end I found one located at Sutton Staithe. She was by no means perfect but on the face of it was in good shape, new upholstery, running, un-painted and a reasonable price. The deal was done and ‘White Lady’ was ours.
It was now just a matter of taking her back to her temporary berth at Ranworth…