Bluewater Sailboat – Freya 39


The Freya 39 is a double-ended offshore cruiser designed by Trygve Halvorsen, a member of Australia’s well-known Halvorson yachting family. She’s a seasoned sailor who has completed several circumnavigations. The original Freya, after which the Bluewater Sailboat Freya 39 is based, is noteworthy for being the only yacht to win the very tough Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race three times in a row (1963-1965).

The Freya 39 is a lovely Bluewater Sailboat with an upright bow, flush foredeck, and a modest trunk compartment aft. She is a cutter with a big sail area and a hull-stepped mast. She’s strongly built, with multiple layers of fiberglass in the hull and a plywood coring on the deck. The displacement is a hefty 26,000 lbs. Because the Halvorsens did not believe in modern racing hulls or the habit of using crew as ballast, she had a long flat-bottomed fin keel with a significantly cutaway forefoot and a keel-hung rudder. She’s a dry sailboat with a small cockpit designed for offshore sailing, and she’s more usually found with wheel steering rather than tiller steering.

Freya 39
Freya 39
  • LOA: 39′ 3″ ft
  • LWL: 33′ 9″ ft
  • Beam: 11′ 3″ ft
  • Draft: 6′ 0″ ft
  • Sail Area: 744 sq. ft.
  • Displacement: 26,000 lbs.
  • Ballast: 11,000 lbs. (lead)
  • Designer: Trygve Halvorsen
  • Builder: Gannon Yachts


The Halvorsens were Norwegian immigrants and excellent sailors who constructed a lengthy line of fast, seaworthy double-ended sailboats that found tremendous success on the Australian racing circuit. Freya, a three-time Sydney-Hobart winner, was one of their most successful boats. The original Freya was a wooden boat, and later versions were manufactured in steel, but in the 1970s and 1980s, Gannon Yachts in Petaluma, California created the Freya 39 in fiberglass. Jim Gannon was the owner of the boatyard and a member of Freya’s initial racing crew. Later, aboard his own Freya 39 Golden Egg, he finished second overall and first in the large boat division in the single-handed Transpac race. It’s impossible to get information on how many Freya 39s were made since she’s no longer in production. The original Freya’s line drawings are held by the Australian National Maritime Museum and may be viewed online.


This Bluewater Sailboat’s 11ft beam provides for a pretty big and comfortable cabin below decks, but because she was also supplied as a kit boat, the interiors can vary, particularly in terms of finish quality. A main saloon with an enclosed V-berth up ahead, a double quarter berth aft to starboard, and a single quarter berth or workspace aft to port is typical interior arrangements. The nav station sits opposite the U-shaped Sailboats Galley under the trunk cabin.

In addition to being a safe and seaworthy cruiser, the Freya 39 is no slouch. Owners claim she can travel 200 miles per day and sail at speeds of 8 knots or higher. The original Freya’s racing results support this. Iron Men: The Halvorsen Story, by Randi Svensen, is a book about the Halvorsens’ wooden boats. According to Magnus Halvorsen, the Freya had the sense of a much larger boat and a very responsive helm. He claims she can hold a shy spinnaker longer than any other boat and full sail up to 30 knots of wind.

Quick Notes

The Bluewater Sailboat Freya 39 is not easy to find on the used boat market; its reputation as a performance bluewater cruiser means they are in high demand, but when they do become available, they are generally regarded as good value for money.

If you’re looking for a used sailboat for sale, check out the Bluewater sailboat data and specs to make an informed decision. Ocean Wave Sail has data for over 10000+ boats that can help you select one to meet your sailing needs.

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