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Abandoned Vessel ‘Freedom’ Spotted West of San Diego

A container ship has spotted the recently abandoned sailboat Freedom drifting approximately 400 miles west of San Diego. On May 20, three sailors en route to Pillar Point abandoned the 30-ft sailboat amid what they described as “harsh sea conditions.” The USCG team who rescued the trio later issued a safety Marine Information Broadcast warning mariners about the unmanned vessel. Nearly a month later, Freedom has been seen still afloat with her shredded sails trailing off the deck.

The USCG sent us this photo of the sailboat taken by crew on a passing container ship.

SV Freedom adrift
After several weeks adrift Freedom is still floating, but looks to be in sad shape.
© 2020 USCG

Happily Freedom‘s crew is safe and sound, but we’re curious about the boat. What is it? We weren’t able to find out from the owners what kind of boat it is (other than a sailboat of course) and are unable to identify it from the photo above.

Readers, do you know what this sailboat is? Drop us a line at, or drop it into the comments below. Either way, we’d love to hear from you.


  1. Avatar
    sailing susi 8 months ago

    a sturdy one that should never have been abandoned?

  2. Avatar
    Greg Clausen 8 months ago

    What is the reason for not cutting a seacock when it’s abandoned like that? A hazard drifting in the ocean

  3. Avatar
    Harper Hatheway 8 months ago

    Looks like a J 100 main. I wasn’t there, but maybe should have stuck with the boat, or tethered nearby. Can I have it now?

  4. Avatar
    Tony M Spooner 8 months ago

    Cold molded, Fractional rig, nice looking boat. Doesn’t look too old. Some previous owner should know it.

  5. Avatar
    Robert Ward 8 months ago

    LOOKS like a WEST system Reichel/Pugh design to me, but it’s been a long time.

  6. Avatar
    Robert J Tryon 8 months ago

    1/2 tonner. Cold molded, Doug Peterson design.

    • Avatar
      Tony Bourque 8 months ago

      Looks a lot like Sweet Okole the custom Farr 36!

    • Avatar
      Jay Lambert 8 months ago

      You got it…similar to “Sweet Okole”…

    • Avatar
      Glenn T Shinn 8 months ago


  7. Avatar
    Dan Gribble 8 months ago

    Why abandon such a big life raft?

  8. Avatar
    skip allan 8 months ago

    I helped build this boat in ~1976. One of the two Gemini twins designed by Tom Wylie and built by Wylie Design Group in Alameda. Originally meant to be a SF Bay One Design class…but only two were built. Once made the cover of Wooden Boat magazine. Both boats were of late owned by John Sweeny and for sale. I wonder if FREEDOM was sold, or heaven forbid, stolen?

    • Avatar
      skip allan 8 months ago

      My bad. Not a Wylie Gemini Twin, but Peterson 30 ex-SCORPION, as Rob suggests. Boat had left HMD evening of May 20 bound south.

    • Avatar
      Stephen Becker-Brown 8 months ago

      Hey Skip- I’m guessing the other is ‘Absolute 80’, out of Santa Cruz? I used to crew foredeck on that boat with Keith MacBeth’s crew back in the 80’s – Monterey Bay, and then Midwinters out of Sausalito. Beautiful boats, and a very fun ride!

    • Avatar
      Steve Rienhart 8 months ago

      “Absolute 80” became “Absolute Sadie” in honor of Alan’s (current owner when this happened) late Mother (if memory serves, this goes back more than 20 years). The Gemini Twins were for sale as a package deal, no idea what happened.

  9. Avatar
    Peter Ogilvie 8 months ago

    Looks like a cold molded boat. Probably an IOR design as that rule was the height of cold molded construction. The sails are toast but other than that boat looks to be in decent shape. Load your jet ski up with a couple of sails and you could sail her home.

  10. Avatar
    Woody Skoriak 8 months ago

    Definitely an older (counter stern gives it away) cold molded hull, possibly even of the Don Peters era (Alameda).

  11. Avatar
    Joseph DiMatteo, PE 8 months ago

    Another of the countless examples of the simple fact that well found sailboats rarely sink offshore. I would be interested in the story of why they abandoned ship.

  12. Avatar
    Tom Patterson 8 months ago

    Rob T. Is correct. It is a Doug Peterson 1/2 Ton named SCORPION. There is a long thread on SA about the ill fated voyage and a separate thread about the abandonment. The boat had not been stollen

    • Avatar
      Tom Patterson 8 months ago

      Not stolen, but also not stollen (the bread).

  13. Avatar
    Kevin 8 months ago

    Small gun practice for the Navy?

  14. Avatar
    milly Biller 8 months ago

    It sounds like Skip Allan has positively identified her. I sure hope she gets rescued- great looking boat !

  15. Avatar
    Ann and Tom Carr 8 months ago

    Who would know better the Skip Allen, only Tom Wylie.

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    Hugh Vanderspek 8 months ago

    The boat was spotted by the US Flag PASHA HAWAII Car Carrier Jean Anne. The ship passed her a couple of miles off and tried to hail but no response so they came back to verify status and notified the USCG. Currently Freedom was drifting at about one knot on a course roughly toward Hilo. Cudos to Jean Anne and her crew for the vigilance on the bridge and operating in the Nobelist tradition of seafarers worldwide

  17. Avatar
    Jonathan livingston 8 months ago

    I am looking at the Half model for Wylie’s Gemini right now……the Wylie transom is less raked than the one in the picture.

  18. Avatar
    Tom Clift 8 months ago

    sure looks like sweet okole out of alameda, dean treadway owner at that time.

  19. Avatar
    Charles Didham 7 months ago

    I agree, the vessel is a Peterson 30, the Ex Scorpion built by my company in 1979. She was sitting up in Long Beach for a long time but I think she recently changed owners, too bad it came to this!

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