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Freedom’s New Lease On Life

by Evin Moore

Schooner Freedom

A classic Hereshoff Gets a New Lease on Life as an Educator

Education extends beyond the classroom and out to sea aboard Freedom – a pedigree classic sailing yacht designed by John Alden and built by the famous Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. (HMC) in Rhode Island. This 1937 yacht, owned by Todd Feinroth, is taking on a new role in its buoyant life as a platform for experiential learning for underprivileged youth.

While not yet operational, Sailing Education Adventures (SEA) is a non-profit corporation entity established by the Freedom team, led by Feinroth, in 2018 with one simple yet influential mission: to allow underprivileged students the opportunity to apply their educational studies towards learning the ancient art of sailing. Maritime experts and community volunteers will coach the students on sailing techniques.

School teachers are also invited aboard to participate, with the hope they will incorporate boat education into their studies back on land. As us boaters are aware, sailing is more than pulling in the main sheet and kicking back with a beverage (well, most of the time); math and physics are more intertwined in a skipper’s job description than most of us consider.

Classes such as these will provide students an exciting hands-on, outdoor learning opportunity to apply their education. SEA relies completely on donations to continue the restoration process as well as to maintain and grow the educational program. She’s the first pedigree classic yacht in the program, but Feinroth is in the market to acquire a small fleet of education-focused vessels.

Freedom is the last Depression-era ocean racing yacht built by HMC. The company only built boats to their own Herreshoff designs, but because of the Great Depression, HMC took on the extra work to make a little more money. She measures 51’ long and 48’ wide, weighing in at 34,000 lbs. She began her staged restoration in Port Townsend. Her other permanent slip remains at the Roche Harbor Marina on San Juan Island, but she visits the Seattle waterfront on a regular basis.

Schooner Freedom

The wood deck of the Freedom
is handlaid teak.


Her white oak frames and Philippine mahogany planks with a cabin top of Honduras mahogany and teak decks tempt your imagination to venture back to her heyday, providing a slight glimpse into her restored future. The extensive restoration project is predicted to take up to four years to complete, but Todd and his team member Cassie McDermott —Program Manager of Freedom restoration, United States Coast Guard-licensed Captain, and SEA Sailing Instructor—are forging ahead.

Their first project – replacing the cracked mast step and six floor timbers that hold up the 60’ solid sitka spruce original mast – was completed in March. April’s project is to strip the vessel’s underbody down to bare wood to repaint, followed by servicing her four-cylinder Perkins 4-108 diesel engine.

Further down the pipeline, Freedom can expect new transom and teak decks projects to be completed in winter 2019, followed by new oak frames, re-caulking/refasten the underbody and topsides, stripping and repainting the mast and bow sprit, strip/repaint the topsides. All will be complete by SYC Opening Day Parade on May 5, 2019. Catch her racing in the Classic Sail class!

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