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Used Boat Review: Legacy 40 Sedan

The cruising life isn’t always soft winds and sunsets. There are those times when a couple is faced with the fury of the elements, and the boat is put to the test.


The cruising life isn’t always soft winds and sunsets. There are those times when a couple is faced with the fury of the elements, and the boat is put to the test.

 Ask Lee Scheuer about the time he and his wife, Kimberly, were caught in an East Coast maelstrom aboard their Legacy 40 Sedan. “We were in a terrible storm going from Norfolk [Va.] all the way up to Atlantic City [N.J.],” recalls Scheuer, a 54-year-old insurance broker from Portola Valley, Calif.


 “The waves were 12 to 14 feet, coming from just aft of the beam, and at times they were breaking over the cabin. But the boat tracked beautifully, and we were just as snug and as tight as could be. It was a very memorable trip, and the boat’s performance was remarkable.”

It was another bonding moment for the Scheuers and their 1997 Legacy, which they bought in 2003 for around $300,000.

“Seaworthiness was the No. 1 consideration when we bought the Legacy,” he says. “We wanted a boat that could cruise from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean. We have that.”

It also fit other key criteria for the longtime boaters: the Down East look they favored, single-engine configuration, cruising speed in the midteens, and two private staterooms, each with its own head compartment. A sea trial sealed the deal, says Scheuer. The boat rode well, and the single engine seemed to provide plenty of power. “I was impressed,” he says.

The boat was in good shape and hasn’t required too much work, although the couple invested in a new 450-hp diesel. They also had her Awlgripped and refinished the exterior varnish. Scheuer says there’s been relatively little daily maintenance in keeping the 40-footer looking good. They kept the original electronics, including radar, GPS/chart plotter and satellite TV.

The layout is perfect for the Scheuers, who sometimes share the cabins with their two grown sons, as well as others. The two cabins — with a walkaround queen berth, head and separate shower for the owner, and upper and lower bunks and a half-head for guests — provide plenty of privacy. There’s even enough room under the master stateroom berth for the Scheuers’ pair of collapsible bicycles. Air conditioning and heat provide comfort in the extremes of their far-flung cruising grounds.

The Scheuers compromised on the galley. “We didn’t want a down galley, but this one was very open, very bright, with lots of light; it changed our minds,” says Scheuer. It’s well-laid-out for cruise cooking with a full-size three-burner propane stove, microwave, refrigerator/freezer and food pantry/locker.

The Legacy’s layout is not only efficient, but inviting, too. “The way it’s designed, it has the feel of a sailboat. There’s a yachtsy, Herreshoff feel to it,” says Scheuer, who’s also owned Catalina and Ericsson sailboats.

The Legacy’s performance suits the couple, too. Easy Street cruises comfortably at around 17 mph, rides nice and level, and tops out at just under 23 mph, says Scheuer. “At our cruising rate, we get about 1 mile a gallon,” he says.

Then there are the little things, says Scheuer. Details like the sliding pilothouse doors to the side decks, so it’s easy to get out on deck to handle lines; the forward-facing companion seat to the skipper’s chair; the separate shower in the master head; the protected prop.

“You look at the quality of construction, and you know this boat was made by a sailboat builder,” he says.


Sailboat builder Freedom Yachts went for a traditional look in conceiving the Legacy 40 Sedan, and the boat’s Down East roots can be seen in the sturdy, high-sided hull, the coach roof and wheelhouse, and a touch of neat wood trim. The interior look is traditional, too, with white paneling offset by varnished teak, cherry or mahogany trim.

Tradition aside, the boat rides a lightweight modified-vee hull cored with foam, with a sharp entry, wide chine flats and lifting strakes, and 17 degrees of transom deadrise. A traditional full-length skeg provides directional stability and prop protection in the single-engine version. (Twins are also available.)

The Legacy 40 Sedan (express or flybridge versions) has a basic twin-cabin floor plan that can be altered to fit the owner’s tastes. The pilothouse has room for a settee in addition to the helm station and companion seat. The nav station has a mahogany-trim wheel and large fiberglass console for housing electronics in front of a high-end captain’s chair. The boat’s three-panel windshield and large side windows offer open sightlines, and sliding wing doors give easy access to the wide side decks.

The galley down is to port and has room for a full-size stove, refrigerator/freezer, microwave and other amenities. Normally there are two private staterooms. The master suite is forward, laid out with an island berth and its own head with separate shower. The guest cabin is amidships to starboard and can be set up with a berth or bunks and a half-head compartment. In the express version, a dinette down can be substituted for the second cabin.


The Legacy 40 Sedan is a high-end boat, and used models range from less than $350,000 to more than $500,000. Here are a few samples turned up on the Web:

A 1996 express model in Maryland was for sale at $339,500, equipped with a single 420-hp Yanmar diesel, AC/heat and a three-burner stove/oven/broiler, as well as new Awlgrip and bottom paint. A Rhode Island boat, vintage 2000, was for sale at $359,999, equipped with twin 450-hp Cummins diesels, custom Stidd seats, new electronics (GPS, radar, autopilot) an on-board integrated computer, and a custom interior featuring a teak inlay table, television and VCR and cherry trim. A 2004 express model in Florida in “show boat” condition with twin Yanmar 440s was selling for around $595,000. The custom interior has an extra-large galley and teak trim throughout, and electronics include GPS, radar, autopilot and more. A New England boat, vintage 2003, was for sale at just less than $500,000, with low hours on a pair of 440-hp Yanmars. Equipped for family cruising, it has a twin-stateroom layout and full galley, and amenities include a teak-and-holly sole and two flat-screen televisions.


An early entry in the Down East-inspired cruiser market of the 1990s, the Legacy 40 Sedan debuted in 1995. She was designed by Canadian Mark Ellis (Limestone powerboats, Nonsuch and Niagara sailboats), and was the first powerboat built by longtime Rhode Island sailboat manufacturer Freedom Yachts. Ellis roughly based the 40-footer’s lines on the signature lobster yachts that were popular along the Maine coast a half-century ago.

In building the traditional-looking Legacy 40, Freedom made use of modern technology in materials and design, and the boat caught on quickly in the upscale cruiser market, attracting not only longtime powerboaters but former sailors as well. Its 12-year production run, which continues today, is testament to the boat’s quality construction, spacious and refined interior, and luxury amenities.

Based on the 40’s success, Legacy followed with a 34-footer in 1996 (express and sedan) and a 28-footer (express) in 1999. Today, there are six Legacy models from 28 to 52 feet, in flybridge, sedan and express versions and single- and twin-engine configurations. Freedom Yachts, now in its 25th year (1,100 boats sold), offers sailboats from 35 to 45 feet.


LOA: 39 feet, 4 inches

BEAM: 13 feet, 7 inches

DRAFT: 3 feet, 8 inches

Displacement: 22,000 pounds

HULL TYPE: modified-vee

PROPULSION: single or twin diesels

TANKAGE: 410 gallons fuel, 120 gallons water

DESIGNER: Mark Ellis

BUILDER: Freedom Yachts, Middletown, R.I.

PHONE: (401) 848-2900.