One summer Brian Eckley came home from The Ohio State University on summer break and took a job at Great Lakes Sailboats. Brian and his family were from the East side of Cleveland but had spent all their summers at the family cottage in Linwood Park
Brian and Terry quickly became friends and by August they had determined to strike out on their own. Renting a room at the local North Sails loft, they founded Freeman Eckley, Inc. In October of 1982 they went to the Annapolis show in search of a new boat line. At the show they met with Rod Johnstone of J-Boats, reached an agreement and ordered a J/24, a J/30 and the all new J/29.. Brian had attended Vermilion Boat Club’s sail camp and later coached there as well.
All three boats were delivered before January and off to the Cleveland Boat show they went. All three were sold during the Cleveland boat show and the rest, as they say, is history.
Al ParellIn 1998 Al Parell joined up with Brian and Terry and has become an integral part of the firm. Al started sailing in NJ by buying his first boat at the age of 21 and heading out to sea! As a self taught sailor Al brings great perspective to new sailors.
Freeman Eckley along with Al Parell has grown into one of the largest new and used sailboat dealers on Lake Erie. Currently we are exclusive dealers for the Catalina line of sailboats.along with previously enjoyed sail and power vessels.