The trawler is a boat to live on. Some of these are unmistakable classics, like the Grand Banks 32 in the Classic Boat story. Today we will tell you about Freya, a GB 32 that, thanks to the passion of its owner, has returned to the water saving itself from destruction for a handful of pounds.
Taking the boat for a fistful of pounds
It all starts in Brighton Marina, where the protagonist of this story, Derek Stubley has found Freya ready to be abandoned or “torn to pieces” for his fine mahogany with which would be built a houseboat. Dereck offers a rather small sum – £9,000 – to the owner who wanted to get rid of it. The proposal of those who simply wanted to dismember it was even twice as much as Dereck’s. Fate, however, wanted the owner not to look at money, but at Freya’s fate, choosing Dereck as the successor to the boat.
It is often said that in a wooden boat once the hull is in place, the rest is downhill. This is probably true, but in the middle. Freya’s hull was healthy and sturdy all things considered. The same cannot be said for the superstructure and the interiors, the real hard core of the restoration of this Gran Banks 32. And what goes hand in hand with the great works? Time and money.
But the problems were varied:
- a do-it-yourself refit of the previous owner, not made to perfection. In practice, steel screws were used in the superstructure, which, once rusted, had allowed water to pass through and gradually eaten what it found along the way
- The upperworks on the port side was impregnated “like a biscuit in milk”
- colonies of mushrooms growing around the boat
- the transom was tilted by 5 degrees to the water for the leakage from the water tanks that had rotten the supporting beams
Reconstruction of the boat: how Grand Banks 32 was reborn
The roadmap was clear at this point and Dereck, with a building inspector’s job and a past in the Navy, had the background to know where to get his hands on. It was time to dry Freya up and plan all the work in detail. It took six months to organize the refit. But time well spent, because from there the restoration lasted then only a year.
After the initial cost of £9,000, another £65,000 was needed to bring Freya back to life. The investment, however, has been widely repaid and not only because the current value of the boat is double. For the refit was used mainly American white oak wood, balal, marine plywood and mahogany that comes from the stairs of a hotel. The engine parts and exhaust system in stainless steel have been rebuilt according to the original model: the engine is a 120bhp Ford Lehman diesel which today still works just like 49 years ago. Freya’s restoration was not individual, but involved a large group of enthusiasts who brought the boat back to its former glory.