Introducing Freedom Guide Service – For People Who Love Great Boats

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“Hornet” – 1932 Gar Wood 28′ Triple Cockpit Runabout.

The one thing that most of us in the hobby have in common, is that we all have a story about how we first became involved in the antique & classic boat hobby, and the reason why we were first attracted to the hobby.

Some of us grew up with wooden boats, some with the early fiberglass revolution, some just wanted to have something unique and different. Some of us started out in the hobby by taking on a restoration project, some started out with an original wooden boat, which eventually required some level of restoration (or preservation) work. Some of us have purchased wooden boats that we were told were in good “water ready” condition, only to learn later that they had serious problems.

And most of us have experienced that “steep learning curve” which, after we go through it, we consider to simply be part of the hobby – as we quietly say to ourselves “There has to be an easier way to get out and experience the joy of classic boating.”

While some people enjoy the challenges associated with finding, negotiating, buying, and restoring a classic boat, some people would rather avoid those challenges and go straight to the “enjoyment” portion of the exercise. That’s where Dave Bortner and Freedom Boat Service comes in, they can do all that for you with their Freedom Guide Service. Here’s Dave to explain. – Texx

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Dave explains – “I have found that people who come to us to buy a classic boat appreciate our philosophy: Provide straight-up, detailed information about any given boat, information that results from personal inspection.”

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A glimpse inside one of the Freedom Boat Service storage facilities in Minnesota.

“Our “hobby” is expensive, either in time or money, depending on which you possess in greater quantity. While we certainly don’t turn customers away, we find most of our customers fall into the latter category. Generally, they don’t want to take the time to go through the learning curve themselves; they want someone who is trustworthy to provide them a “point of view” on any given boat.”

“While we do that as a matter of course with boats we have listed and are actively selling, we don’t have “one of everything”. We have found that customers come to us to help them buy specific boats they want, regardless of whether we have one listed.”

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From classic runabouts, to early launches, and even some rare wooden cruisers…

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Turn key wooden runabouts, to project boats, and also specializing in classic fiberglass boats, Freedom can help you find the classic boat of your dreams without the stress.

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A rare 1921 Fay & Bowen 40′ Launch #27 – 1 of 2 built, awarded Best of Show Lake Tahoe 2006.

“We’ve inspected lots of boats for our customers, sometimes before they’ve bought, sometimes after. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of finding that special boat you really want, and it’s easy to overlook flaws, or look past them, in the excitement of the chase.”

“We think it’s important to have someone “on your side” to help with logical, thorough assessment of any boat for potential purchase, including structural and mechanical condition, looking at both current and future needs. Freedom takes the uncertainty and stress out of purchasing fine antique and classic boats.”

“That’s the concept behind Freedom Guide Service.”

Dave Bortner, Freedom Boat Service.

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“Dreamboat” on Lake Minnetonka, MN – Dave Bortner’s beautiful 1961 Century 21′ Coronado powered by a dual quad 325 HP Cadillac Crusader V-8. (Photo by Texx)

Freedom Guide Service includes:

* Locating the right boat in N. America or Europe.

* Inspecting the boat to assess true value and help avoid negative surprises later.

* Negotiating – based on deep experience and firsthand knowledge of the wood boat market.

* Logistics – including transportation, outfitting, insurance and dockage considerations.

If you’re interested in purchasing a collectable boat, consider having Freedom on your team.

Freedom Boat Service also provides an array of services for your classic boat, including various levels of restoration & repair, engine and mechanical service, as well as seasonal maintenance and storage services at their facilities in Minnesota. For more information, check out the great Freedom Boat Service website Here.


13 replies
  1. tommyholm
    tommyholm says:

    Dave’s a class act. I just saw him in the midst of making another customer happy with a classic glass boat. Go Dave Go.

  2. Troy
    Troy says:

    What an inventory!

    I really like the “Cruiser Love”!

    Keep it up! Would love to follow a story of someone starting their search all the way to cruising their home waters!

    • Philip Andrew
      Philip Andrew says:

      Now of course if that cruiser had a tender it could be called ‘ Love Me Tender.’

  3. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    Dave equals high integrity, great resources and incredible knowledge. I don’t hesitate to refer people to Dave, especially the ones who are intimidated by the process.

  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    Dave, I’ll take them all. Sending you the delivery address shortly. 🙂

    In all seriousness, what a neat concept. For some, a compelling service.

    Do you offer any kind of guarantee when you recommend a boat? I know that’s a tough question. To my knowledge, Katz’s is the only one who does this (a one-year one). If it’s not something you offer, it might be worth considering, seeing as it’s another way of reducing the anxiety associated with buying a classic boat.

    Wishing you the best with your business.

  5. Sean
    Sean says:

    “Our “hobby” is expensive, either in time or money, depending on which you possess in greater quantity. While we certainly don’t turn customers away, we find most of our customers fall into the latter category.”

    Everybody gets to make a living… that’s cool. But, I don’t agree that our hobby HAS to be expensive in either time or money. It is possible to enjoy wooden boats without high level skills or a big chequebook.

    Yes, there is some investment for any hobby but, if all we ever consider is the hundred thousand dollar boats we will scare away many potential wood boat hobbyists.

    There’s always plenty of help available when you flash the cash (and there’s usually some amount of protection there)…however, I have found there’s just as much qualified help available from your local club and it usually costs a handshake and a smile. So, get involved in your club!!!

  6. Steve
    Steve says:

    I’ve had the pleasure to work with Dave over the past 4 years slowly bringing a 1927 Indian Lakes Dart back to life. We’ve had many challenges with this boat and Freedom has been equal to the task. They’ve always been up front with issues and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. If I were in the market for a new boat, Dave would be the first person I’d call…and before you call me Dave, I’m not looking for a new boat yet 🙂

  7. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Just look at that Coronado!! Right there, Thats why Im a Century guy. There is nothing so cool.Great story today.
    Ive just arrived home from a weekend in New York and yes thats NZ to NYC return and Im knackered but that picture on the header this morning picked me up.
    I love your boat Dave.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      Philip if I had known you were in NYC I would have taken Panther out of hibernation early and you could have had some woodytime while here. I hope you had a good stay here.

      • Philip Andrew
        Philip Andrew says:

        Rick thank you. I will take you up on your offer next time!
        I only had Friday and Sat on the ground in NYC so I just didn’t get a moment for boats I’m afraid. New York is a wonderful city. Matt suggested I try and get over to Katz marina but even that didn’t happen.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Philip – After spending a day cruising around Lake Minnetonka in Dave’s Coronado last summer, I can confirm that it runs as good as it looks. A spectacular classic boat.

  8. Dane
    Dane says:

    Philip – After spending a day cruising around Gull Lake in Dave’s other Coronado last summer, I can confirm that it runs as good as it looks. A spectacular classic boat.

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