Meet Our Brokers
Free state was Founded in 1981
Bob started boating on Raritan Bay, New Jersey, at the ripe old age of 8, on small outboard runabouts owned by his dad. He soon “graduated” to a sailing pram of his own, and found his appetite whetted for sailing. He continued sailing through the local club, enjoying club racing and knocking around, mostly on other people’s Lightnings, Blue Jays and Penguins. He also continued in powerboats with his dad, as well as owning a couple of smaller ones himself. His dad owned a number of classic, wood-planked Jersey built skiffs on which Bob participate in the operation and maintenance—much maintenance.
After he started a family of his own, he got back into racing Lightnings on lakes the Midwest, where he lived at the time. All this time he was pursuing a successful career as an environmental and regulatory attorney, which brought him back to the East Coast and gave him the opportunity to get into coastal cruising on larger sailboats. This rekindled a dream to sail around the world, aided and abetted by a strong push from his son.
What began then was a several year process to find and equip a blue water sailing vessel that Bob and Eric could use to make their dream voyage. The voyage began on February 6, 2011 from Norfolk, VA, and concluded in Norfolk 500 days later, on June 19, 2012. It included a Panama Canal transit, South Pacific and Indian Ocean crossings, rounding of Capes Agulhas and Good Hope, and a South Atlantic crossing. Their blog for the trip is at http://www.sailblogs.com/member/blueheron/ if you have further interest. Bob is also a certified sailing instructor from US Sailing Association.
Bob’s experience, from racing small boats, to coastal cruisers, to the exacting process of selecting and outfitting the right boat for a circumnavigation, provides him with a wealth of knowledge that he’s happy to share with clients. With this diverse experience base, he can find the right boat, tailored to each client’s needs, plans and budget, as well as guiding the selection of the proper gear and equipment needed for successful cruising. Known for careful study and attention to all the details, Bob will make sure that you receive the proper guidance and information prior to any purchase or sale.
Leif Gunnar Roger Johansson
Roger ‘s interest in boats started at a young age growing up on the West Coast of Sweden on the Island of Orust, where Hallberg-Rassy boats are made. Beginning with small power and sail boats, he rebuilt his first boat, a “very” small but fast power boat before he was 15. He moved up to sailing larger sail boats in his later teenage years, sailing around the West Coast of Sweden and up to the fjords of Norway.
Roger started his career in the automotive business working for Volvo and GM, before he eventually set off to the US and Annapolis in 1989. It was there that he was first introduced to Free State Yachts and Hallberg-Rassy, helping to deliver a HR 49 up and down the east coast to various boat shows from Rhode Island to Miami. He also worked for Free State on a part-time basis for the first year or so help maintaining the charter fleet until he decided to make the US his permanent home.
He then began working full-time for Free State, commissioning New Hallberg-Rassy boats, installing new equipment and gear, taking care of warranty work and preparing brokerage boats for sale. Free State had a charter business at that time, and Roger worked taking care of the maintenance and repairs for the charter fleet. He also got his first experience with sales by helping to grow the charter business. As both the new boat sales and the charter fleet grew, Roger became the operations manager for the businesses and continued in that role until 2005, when he bought Free State Yachts and Chesapeake Yacht Charters from the founder.
In 2006, Roger decided to sell the charter division and focus a 100% percent on new yacht sales, quality brokerage boats and yacht consulting. He also moved the office to Herrington Harbour North that same year.
With over 25 years in the yachting industry Roger has built up an extensive client base and global network of brokers. He serves clients from all over the world, often with listings in different countries. He travels frequently to participate in surveys and deliveries worldwide, and often helping his clients to import or export their boats. These relationships and experience have proven to be a great benefit to his clients.
Roger is looking forward to continuing his focus on helping his clients buying and selling Bluewater yachts and is always happy to share his experience and knowledge in choosing the right boat. Using that knowledge and experience, he can identify suggested improvements to get the boats ready for extended voyaging; he also understands what it will take to prepare a boat properly for sale. Furthermore, Roger truly believes in after-sale service—he takes pride in making sure all his clients know they are always welcome to call or email with questions, and is glad to assist in any way he can even after the deal is done.