I am Ash Faire-Ring and I am currently rebuilding Growler. I have always loved classic boats building my first boat with my Dad when I was 10. In July 2018 I received a phone call from a friend saying that they had come across the most beautiful sailing barge sitting in a barn in suffolk. A month later I went to visit and after a meeting the owner he very kindly gave her to me.
Thus began this incredibly exciting project. The rebuild started in June 2019 and it has been absolutely amazing. A huge learning curve coupled with being the most rewarding thing I have done. Under the instruction of shipwright John Owles I have made significant inroads into the rebuild, replacing 23 planks, doubling the frames and fitting a new keel. There is still a phenomenal amount of work to do but we are getting closer and closer to the water. Do check out our social media or join our mailing list for regular updates and off course do come and visit the project!
Ash Faire-Ring- April 2020
The boat- Growler
Growler was built in 1922 by the famous Barge builders "White and Co" at Conyer Creek on the river Swale. They were famed for building the "Sara" which was the fastest barge ever built. It is said that Growler is a third sized version of her. Her designer was called Ted Hughes and he owned her up until 1944. By this time her rig had been significantly cut down. She spent the war years moored at Benfleet yacht club and was then bought by Eddie Sugg and rerigged as a Bermudian ketch.
Growler was then used from 1945-67 as a club boat and many young people learnt to sail on her. In 1967 she was bought by Mike De la Boltz and he restored her to a much more traditional standing gaff rig. He enjoyed many years with his family onboard before selling her in 1972.We know very little of what happened next until she was rescued by Gus Curtis and moved to a barn in Dedham in 1996. Here she was slowly restored until august 2018 when we became the new owners.