The Freya 39 is a double-ended offshore cruiser designed by Trygve Halvorsen who comes from the well known Halvorson yachting family in Australia. She’s a proven passagemaker with a number of circumnavigations to her credit. The original yacht Freya, on which the Freya 39 was modelled, is famous as the three time consecutive winner of the notoriously difficult Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race (1963-1965), until recently the only yacht ever to do so.
The Freya 39 is a handsome boat with an upstanding bow, flush foredeck and a small trunk cabin aft. She was designed as a cutter with a large sail area and hull-stepped mast. She’s heavily constructed with thick layers of fibreglass in the hull and the deck is generally fibreglass with a plywood coring. Displacement is a moderately heavy 26,000 lbs. The Halvorsens were not believers in modern racing hulls or the practice of using crew as ballast so below the waterline she has a long flat-bottomed fin keel with a substantially cutaway forefoot and a keel hung rudder. She’s a dry boat with a small cockpit suitable for cruising offshore and is more commonly found with wheel steering rather than tiller.
Below decks her 11ft beam allows a fairly spacious and comfortable interior but as she was also sold as a kit boat, the interiors can be variable, particularly in regards to the finish quality. The interior arrangement usually has a main saloon with enclosed V-berth up forward, double quarter berth aft to starboard and a single quarter berth or work area aft to port. The U-shaped galley is to port under the trunk cabin with the nav station opposite.
As well as being a secure and seaworthy cruiser the Freya 39 is no slouch. Owners report that she is capable of 200 miles per day and can sail at a consistent 8 knots and above. This is borne out by the original Freya’s racing results. In Randi Svensens book about the Halvorsens Wooden Boats, Iron Men: The Halvorsen Story Magnus Halvorsen states that the Freya had the feeling of a much bigger boat and had an incredibly responsive helm. He reports that she could carry a shy spinnaker longer than any other boat and carry full sail up until 30 knots of wind.
The Halvorsen family were Norwegian immigrants and skilled sailors who designed a long series of swift, seaworthy double ended yachts that achieved great success on the Australian racing scene. Freya was one of their most successful boats as the three time Sydney-Hobart winner. The original Freya was a wooden boat and later versions were built in steel but in the 1970’s and 1980’s the Freya 39 was produced in fibreglass by Gannon Yachts in Petaluma, California. Jim Gannon was the boatyard owner and one of the original racing crew on Freya. He later went on to take second place overall, and first place in the large boat division, in the single-handed Transpac race in his own Freya 39 Golden Egg. Information on how many Freya 39’s were produced is difficult to find and she is no longer in production. The Australian National Maritime Museum holds the line drawings for the original Freya and these can be viewed online (see link below)
The Freya 39 is not easy to come by on the second-hand boat market, their reputation as a performance bluewater cruiser means that they are in demand but when they do come on the market they are generally considered good value for money. Depending on age and condition, as at 2010 the asking price is roughly between $50k to $100k USD.