Monday, July 6, 2015

Freeman Boatworks is Building Offshore Clout

 A Freeman 37 cuts through the ocean

The market for catamarans used as offshore fishing boats is allowing for Billy Freeman to coast towards a ramped up production of the hull design he perfected. Growing up in the creeks of the Lowcountry, he felt drawn to the bluewaters located far offshore of the harbor, developing a passion for boating that went beyond fishing. Today Freeman finds his James Island based Freeman Boatworks business handling new orders from fishing Captains from Louisiana to Florida.
What an awesome offshore fishing platform
When the first catamaran hull designs debuted they were highly regarded for their ability to navigate the ocean comfortably. But Billy Freeman and others knew that these designs also pitched side to side in some conditions such as following seas. His Manta 24-foot catamaran helped to increase his mindset that a mono hull was just not right for him, and he began tinkering with catamaran hull designs that improved what was already on the market. The Freeman 33 became his first hull design and it quickly gained traction with the hardcore charter guides in Venice, Louisiana.
2015 Logo design
Right here in Charleston, the Freeman 33 staked a claim

Factory Floor view of a catamaran hull
as a dependable offshore fishing ride when a Freeman 33 joined other high-end boat owners for a competition at the annual Megadock Billfish Tournament at the City Marina. While the sportfishers offer an enclosed salon area where anglers and guests can ride comfortable during a 3-hour ride to the Gulf Stream, the Freeman boats don’t have any type of enclosure and is thus a little more suited for the hands-on anglers. That day at the Megadock folks noticed how the Freeman 33 outran the bigger boats back to the docks. I was standing there that July afternoon when Billy Freeman began turning heads and making new fans.
“You should not have to choose between comfort and performance. Our boats are quick, handle like a dream in all sea states, and the ride is second to none,” said Freeman. “We moved to James Island in 2008 to utilize warehouse space, and by April of 2011 we doubled our footprint and we are still growing.” There are now three sizes available for custom production now in 29-feet and 33-feet, with the most popular being a 37-footer that can handle either three or even four outboard motors. Base prices are set, but the largest model with high-performance engines and accessories will cost North of $500,000.
Stopping by the warehouse on Signal Point Road, there is no sign of sticker shock at the Freeman Boatworks HQ. Marketing and Sales Director Scott Cothran informed me that they have already built and delivered 11 catamarans in 2015, and with 57 more orders in the pipeline they are experiencing record growth. Since their production capacity is around 30 boats a year, they are easily booking into late 2016 for future boat deliveries, and some of those orders are already coming from repeat customers.

To view this feature article in the newspaper click on Charleston Mercury.

To view the latest Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report click here.

To view past blog entries about boat building click on Hinckley CompanyPioneer Boats - Scout Boats

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