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.


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|

Passing under the Yarmouth bridges

I thought I'd add some video footage taken on the way to the 2023 southern Freeman meet, passing under the Yarmouth Acle Road, Yarmouth Vauxhall and Breydon bridges onto Breydon Water at low slack water. For those that don't know, slack water is measured near the Yarmouth Yacht Station and is about an hour after low water. The

5 June 2023|Categories: Blog, Travelogue|

Spring break and Freeman meet at Beccles

Ranworth to Beccles via Breydon Water We've had a fairly full-on transition from winter to spring this year having re-built the engine and stripped the headlining of grotty old paint (probably something nasty from a DIY store that looked like a good idea to a previous owner). I re-made the hand-rails, re-varnished the curtain pelmets with 7

4 June 2023|Categories: Travelogue|


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|

New front windows

Freeman 22 MKII's originally came with 6mm thick acrylic windows which were apparently necessary as glass would have shattered through flexing of the coachroof. The problem with acrylic is that it doesn't last that long although UV stabilised polycarbonate does a lot better. As you can see from the pictures, it was impossible to see anything through the

15 May 2023|Categories: Technical|

Mast re-varnish

In 2022 (a year before this post) I gave my mast a little re-furbish, cutting out rotted parts and letting in new wood where sections had been previously cut out and bodged. I should have made a new one but the old one had a story to tell. The rotted 'spreader bars' were replaced with a new dowel

4 May 2023|Categories: Technical|

Stripping and re-painting the headlining

The Stripping Having spent most of the winter refurbishing the engine on 'White Lady',  some of the more cosmetic work has become a priority as the season gets going. Winter wasn't kind to the headlining I inherited. Without running a dehumidifier, the poorly painted headlining took on some pretty horrible mildew and although a spirited scrub with mildew

23 April 2023|Categories: Technical|

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

8 February 2023|Categories: Technical|

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

12 January 2023|Categories: Blog, Technical|
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