Buying a Boat:
An Uptown Girl’s former Down Easter finds a happy home in Essex, Connecticut.
With permission from Soundings, May 27, 2015, written by Steve Knauth, photos by permission of Peter Mahoney
The look is Down East, with a tall bow and sweeping sheer line, a traditional trunk cabin with eyebrow trim and an upright, open-sided wheelhouse. But this lobster boat hull is something else: a particular shade of blue that’s at once distinctive and alluring.
Sweet Freedom is a boat of a different color.
Once at the center of a celebrity divorce, the Duffy 35 built for supermodel Christie Brinkley enjoys a more private life these days, plying the waters of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound as a family boat with owners Tom Pipoli and Charlie Klewin at the helm. “We enjoy the water the same as we did when we were kids,” says Pipoli, who lives in Chester, Connecticut, and bought the boat with Klewin, his friend and business partner, in 2009. “We slip into Hamburg Cove; we go watch the swallows; we raft-up with the Essex Yacht Club. It’s a wonderful people boat.”
“I love this boat,” says Leslie Quarrier, the broker who arranged the purchase. “I think her lines are striking, as is her beautiful color and her overall appearance. She’s unique.”
Says Klewin: “We drop the anchor, take a swim, have a picnic. We never get tired of it.”
So how did Pipoli and Klewin, partners in the auto dealership Saybrook Buick-GMC, end up with Christie Brinkley’s lobster yacht? They happened to be looking for the right boat at the right time. “I had been after a picnic-style boat, something stable and roomy that could go out on the Sound and offshore, too,” says Pipoli, a lifelong boater who’s owned a variety of craft over the years. “I asked Leslie (Quarrier) to keep her eyes open.”
It was to be a memorable search. “There was, from start to finish, a true whirlwind aspect to it,” recalls Leslie. Peter Cook, Brinkley’s ex-husband, made the initial contact. Sweet Freedom, on the hard in Sag Harbor, New York, not far from the former couple’s East Hampton home, was ordered by the court in late 2008 to be sold. The listing price was $160,000. “I’d shown him a boat previously, and he called me to list Sweet Freedom. The moment it came up for sale, I gave Tom the listing. I told him, ‘This could be your perfect boat. ”
Complex negotiations began, involving Pipoli and Klewin and several other clients. At one point, there were four competing offers on the table. As things dragged on, the pressure mounted; it was time to act, and neither Pipoli nor Klewin had seen the boat in person. It took a plane ride to close the deal. At the 11th hour, Pipoli and Quarrier flew to Long Island, hopped a cab to the boat, made an inspection, and that was that. “I walked around it and said, ‘Sold!’ ” says Pipoli. “I wrote out a check right there.”
Klewin was vacationing in Florida when the deal was finalized. “Tom called and said he liked it — that was enough for me,” says Klewin. “That was in January . I didn’t see the boat in person until April, when Tom brought it over from Long Island.”
That’s when Pipoli’s wife, Rosanne, got her first sight of the boat — on that ride to her new home in Connecticut. “My reaction when I saw it was, ‘This is exactly the boat we have been looking for,’ ” she says. “It was a happy day.”
Klewin, too, liked what he saw. “There are a lot of Duffys around, but they’re not finished the way Sweet Freedom is,” he says. “And I love the color. I think if you saw a sample without seeing it on the boat, you’d say no way. But it works — it draws a lot of attention.”
Back in the water
Despite having sat on the hard for a few years, Sweet Freedom was in good shape, needing only a good cleanup and the cosmetic work one might expect after a layoff. (Brinkley reportedly paid to maintain the boat while it was in storage.) The 440-hp Yanmar CXM-ETE turbo diesel had less than 200 hours on it, and the boat has four high-end Stidd seats, including an electronically adjustable helm chair. Sweet Freedom was taken to Chester Point Marina on the river, where the brightwork was rejuvenated, new canvas was installed and the engine was serviced.
Before the summer 2009 launching, the new owners decided to keep that distinctive color — Pettit’s Bikini Blue — and the name, Sweet Freedom. “That’s what the boat is about, the freedom of the water,” says Pipoli. “That’s what you feel with this boat. You can put eight people on board and take a cruise on it to just about anywhere and not be concerned.”
Quarrier was right when she called Sweet Freedom the perfect boat for her clients. It’s big
enough for jaunts to Block Island, Rhode Island, and Montauk, New York, or a weekend run across Long Island Sound for lunch at Claudio’s in Greenport, New York. Cruising speed is around 20 mph, and the top end is just under 30 mph. The wheelhouse can be closed in foul weather, and there’s a small galley and an enclosed head.
“It’s incredibly seaworthy,” says Klewin. “We’ve been through some rough seas, and she cuts through the water like a knife through butter. After all, the hull is made for offshore fishing.”
Sweet Freedom is ideal for the Connecticut River, too, well suited to sightseeing cruises. “There’s plenty of room to entertain, which is one of our favorite things to do on board,” says Rosanne Pipoli. “I’m particularly fond of the layout of the seats, with two in front and two behind. It makes for ideal viewing, besides being quite comfortable.”
With her Down East look, Bikini Blue color and celebrity past, Sweet Freedom is a package that pleases, says Klewin. And does he ever think, while enjoying a sunset cruise or a Sunday ride over to Greenport, about Christie Brinkley, who conceived of Sweet Freedom and guided its creation? Only rarely, he says.
But he does make one admission: “She certainly has great taste in boats.”
Fast forward to 2020
Sweet Freedom, the Uptown Girl, now has a new proud owner. She has moved on from the Connecticut River to the Hudson River.
News & Events
June 9-11, 2023: Eastbay Rendevous at Safe Harbor Essex Island
April 28- May 1, 2023: CT Spring Boat Show at Safe Harbor Essex Island
July 22-24, 2022: Classic Wooden Boat Show at Safe Harbor Essex Island the the Connecticut River Museum, Essex
June 10 – 12, 2022: Eastbay Rendezvous at Mystic Seaport, supported by Essex Yacht Sales
April 29 – May 1, 2022: CT Spring Boat Show, Essex Island
Jan 28, 2021: Leslie Quarrier CPYB was honored with CPYB’s 2020 Dedicated Service Award.
Dec 30, 2020: The 2021 boating season is coming very soon! Let us help you buy or sell a boat
Dec 1, 2020: The CT Spring Boat Show will take place at Essex Island from April 30, 20201 to May 2, 2021
Nov 20, 2020: The market is still very active. This is an excellent time to offer your boat for sale. Contact EYS (860) 388 -8701
Oct 3/4, 2020: Essex Yacht Sales Open House, Dauntless Shipyard, Essex, 10 am to 4 pm
August 4, 2020: We have many new listings. Now is the time to list, and sell, your boat.
July 7, 2020: All boat shows have been cancelled due to COVID. However sales activity is at record levels and we are actively listing, showing and selling boats.
May 20, 2020: Our office has re-opened. Activity is strong.
April 9, 2020: The Connecticut Spring boat Show has been cancelled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
December 4, 2019: Essex Yacht Sales reports that Peter Amos has been admitted as a Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB). Essex Yacht Sales has the rare and coveted distinction, held by only 39 other brokerages throughout the US and Canada, of being an ‘Endorsed Brokerage’ with all of its brokers holding CPYB certification.
October 10, 2019: Yacht sales continue to be strong, and the market is active into this beautiful New England fall. This reflects strong consumer confidence, highs on the Stock Market, and a shortage of boats in some sectors. This is supporting the prices of good brokerage boats. We are looking for quality listings, and will market your vessel professionally and energetically.
August 17, 2019: Join us a the 2019 Newport Brokerage Boat Show, Sept 12-15
June 2, 2019: See new listings: Duffy 35 HX and Eastbay 38
May 6, 2019: Great Show in Essex!
Feb 7: The Connecticut Spring Boat Show will take place at Essex Island, Essex, CT from May 3-5, 2019. Join us!
Dec 26: Read Steve Knauth’s Eastbay 43FB article in Soundings. Click here
November 24: Just listing a rare and very special Uniesse 48′, 1998. In the Essex CT area.
October 15: Just listed a nice Legacy 28, 2001
October 31- November 4: See the new Nimbus W-9 series at the Fort Lauderdale International boat Show
September 13-16, 2018: Newport Boat Show and Brokerage Show – see us in Newport!
August 31, 2018: See our beautiful 1997 Grand Banks Heritage Classic 42, just listed
May 19, 2018: Just listed a beautifully maintained and upgraded Krogen Express, 2009, commissioned 2011, sold new 2012
May 2, 2018: Just listed an impeccable 2015 Regulator 25
April 30, 2018: Just listed a beautiful Grand Banks 42 Classic, 1986. See her at the CT Spring Boat Show , Essex Island, May 4-6.
April 5, 2018: Jon’t miss the CT Spring Boat show in Essex Click here
March 2, 2018: We survived the great ice dam in the CT River and were so grateful to the USCG. We dodged Winter Storm Riley, so what else is is in store? Hopefully tranquil, warm waters ahead, and a splendid boating season. The CT in-water Spring Boat Show is coming soon to Essex: May 4-6, 2o18
February 26, 2018: Started the year really well, with excellent sales in February, despite the weather – we predict a very good season. Brokerage prices are strong, so this is the perfect time for Essex Yacht Sales to list your boat, with good exposure at the upcoming CT in-water Spring Boat Show and comprehensive marketing.
January 18, 2018: Click here to see the latest Newsletter # 18: Click here
January 14, 2018: Click here to see the latest Newsletter # 17: Click here
January 9, 2018: Happy New Year! Essex Yacht Sales just listed a beautiful Eastbay 50 SX Click here
December 23, 2017: We have passed the shortest day (!) and are already seeing stirrings that 2018 will be an exceptional year for boat sales. Meanwhile we wish our many clients and friends a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.
December 7, 2017: We were delighted by Steve Knauth’s terrific article in ‘Soundings’ about GB 42 Europa ‘Paradis’. This is an historic boat, hull number 1560, and the last of a storied tradition. Essex Yacht Sales was pleased to negotiate the sale of ‘Paradis’ Click here
November 1-5, 2017: Let us know if you will be visiting the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS). See us at the Nimbus display.
October 29, 2017: See new listings: Sabreline 47 Motoryacht -2003, and Hunt Yachts Surfhunter 33 – 2006 Click here
September 28-30, 2017: TrawlerFest, Bay Bridge Marina, Stevensville, MD – see us there.
September 21-24, 2017: Norwalk Boat Show – see us in Norwalk.
September 14-17,2017: Newport Boat Show and Brokerage Show – see us in Newport
September 1, 2017: Nimbus Boats now come with a 10-year hull warranty. Click here
August 13, 2017: The brokerage market is very hot right now, so this would be an excellent time to list your boat with Essex Yacht Sales.
July 24, 2017: Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest boating videos Click here
July 21, 2017: We added two exciting new videos. Click here
July 14, 2017: Your Marine VHF is DSC-capable in an emergency, but have you registered it? It may save your life. Click here
June 2 and 3, 2017: Mystic Seaport hosts an Eastbay Rendezvous.
April 11, 2017: Join us at the CT Spring Boat Show, Brewer Essex Island, May 5-7. Free entry, free parking
April 2, 2017: David Dorrance, CPYB joins Essex Yacht Sales. Click here
March 23-26, 2017: Join Essex Yacht Sales at the Palm Beach International Boat Show to view the Nimbus 305, 34 Nova and 405 Flybridge at the Palm Beach International Boat Show.
February 24, 2017: 68F today! The buyers are coming, the phones are ringing. List your boat now! We are very active showing boats and getting strong offers.
February 8, 2017: Essex Yacht Sales offers the rare opportunity to acquire a superbly presented Windy Tyhoon 43, 2007. Click here
February 4, 2017: Spring is coming soon! We are preparing for Boat Shows, listing boats, showing boats, and getting offers. Watch for several exciting new listings this week!
The market is hot, and good boats are in demand, so call Essex Yacht Sales today.
February 3, 2017: Three exciting new Nimbus videos have been uploaded to Essex Yacht Sales’ You Tube Channel, which may be viewed here on the Nimbus page on this website Click here
January 19, 2017: Essex Yacht Sales will be exhibiting at the Connecticut Spring Boat Show, Brewer Essex Island, Essex, CT May 5-7, 2017
January 17, 2017: Essex Yacht Sales will be at the Nimbus display, at the Palm Beach International Boat Show, March 23-26, 2017,
November 19, 2016: Boat sales activity continues, with strong accepted offers in November. Buyers are seeking good quality brokerage boats, which are in short supply. Now is a great time to list your boat with Essex Yacht Sales, or engage us to find that special boat for you (no fee to buyers).
November 8, 2016: Essex Yacht Sales has been appointed Strategic Sales Partner to Delta Powerboats. Essex Yacht Sales is excited to present the exciting and innovative range of boats and motoryachts from Delta Powerboats, from 26′ to 88′.
Click here for more information
November 5, 2016: Please call us about listing your boat. We are seeing strong buying activity from the west coast and south-east, where the boating season continues year round. Certain US brands of new boat are not keeping up with demand, This drives a strong market for well-maintained, quality boats, available, immediately. This is a great time to list your boat.
October 16, 2016: Essex Yacht Sales welcomes on board Reuben Trane, as senior professional adviser and southeast representative. With deep roots in Florida, and extensive global experience, Reuben brings exceptional knowledge of the yachting industry and market. Mr. Trane has more than 35 years’ experience designing, building and marketing pleasure craft, from 14’ sail boats to 65’ trawlers. During this period, he successfully created five different brands. Click here for more information
October 8, 2016: Three surveys in the space of 7 days, 3 showings just today tells us that the market is very active. We are seeing buyers from the South-East and West Coast. It is a great time to list your boat with Essex Yacht Sales. A quick fall sale can save you the cost of hauling, winterizing and storing.
October 1-2, 2016: Eastbay Rendezvous at Mystic Seaport. Postponed due to weather
September 15-18, 2016: Essex Yacht Sales displayed three boats in the Newport Brokerage Show: 2014 Eastbay 50SX, 2015 MJM 40z and 2000 Grand Banks 52 Motoryacht
July 24, 2016: See us at the Newport Brokerage Show (in association with the Newport International Boat Show), Sept 15-18, 2016.
July 22, 2016: Our newly listed Eastbay 50 SX has just 114 hours. Impeccable quality and condition throughout. (No longer available)
July 7, 2016: Check out the superb Grand Banks 52 Motoryacht, just listed today. Perfectly appointed for long-term cruising and enjoyment. (No longer available)
Contact Us Today!
Find out how we can work with you on a direct, personal level to meet your buying or selling needs.
Leslie Quarrier, CPYB, Principal and Lead Yacht Broker (licensed in Florida)
Cell (860) 388-8701
Office (860) 767-3013
eFax (860) 760-6797
Reuben Trane, Senior Professional Adviser and Southeast Representative
Cell (786) 303-1013
Peter Amos, CPYB
Yacht Broker and Operations Manager
Cell (860) 304-1399