It appears that Gary Mull's Freedoms are quickly gaining popularity. This is the third new Freedom I have seen from him. The look is pretty much the same as others and is a little bland for my taste. But it's clean, well-proportioned and obviously focused on maximized volume rather than svelte looks.

The Freedom 36.

The Freedom 36.

Gary Mulls' 12-Meter is exciting. I saw some film taken of the bottom of his Twelve and it was inspiring. We may yet see design be the determining factor in the Cup. In the designer comments accompanying this design, the designer talks about using the technology learned in 12-Meter design to advance this design. I wish Mull would be more specific. It looks like a big, fat-fannied cruising boat to me. The appendages look normal and the midsection typical. I'm jealous of course.

Let's start with the rig. You can get the Freedom 36 with either a cat-ketch or free standing sloop rig. Sail area totals for both are about the same and the SA/D ratio is 19.34. That sounds pretty good but if we go through the exercises of converting the rig to a standard masthead sloop rig with a 150-percent genoa, the light air SA/D of the Freedom will look low. This is okay. You do not buy this type of boat if you are after light air performance.

This is a convenience-oriented rig and depending upon exactly which formula you use, convenience may be a big component of performance. I certainly like the fully battened main. I am not so sure about the jiblet. It is self-tacking. Mull says that the sloop rig will be closer winded but the ketch may have the advantage off the wind.

It is not easy to work up a new interior layout for 36-footers. Most of it has been done already and all that's left is to push and pull the major components an inch here and an inch there. I would not call this a Euro interior. It's just a big, well laid out boat with no tricks.

I do not take offense at Mull's reference to shower stalls as "another of the latest sales gimmicks." I like a morning shower to wake up in and with the type of cruising I do around Puget Sound, there is always enough water. I can design a good head and shower still in five feet and there appears to be at least that available in this design. It all depends upon sailing style.

In the navigation station the chart table runs fore and aft. The chart table runs fore and aft. The wet locker is aft of the chart table. Extra large size foul-weather gear on a hanger is almost 6 inches thick. If you add to that the need for air circulation space, a 12-inch-long wet locker is just about adequate for two sets of foul-weather gear. Actually, that shower stall Mull eliminated makes the best wet locker with the gear hanging on big plastic hooks. I prefer the transverse chart table although it would eliminate the hanging locker.

The galley is big and includes a voluminous icebox. The dining table folds and stows on the forward bulkhead. There are two doors to the head. As you study this arrangement you can see that mast placement does play a big part in laying out the interior. At least the Freedom rig frees the designer from having to work the chainplate webs and knees into the joinerwork.

Looking at the hull design, the first thing I notice is that it is fat. Yes, dear reader, at 12 1/2 feet the boat is no longer just beamy but fat. That's okay. Beam gives you stability, deck space, cockpit volume, cabin sole area and general interior volume. Beam does not give you speed, although the stability gained through beam does contribute.

You can get your Freedom 36 in a deep or shoal draft model.

Boat Specifications
Draft4'6" or 6'
Displacement14370 or 13400 lbs.
Ballast6500 or 5530 lbs.
Sail Area684.87' (sloop) or 682.19' (cat-ketch)


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.