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Marine / New life to be breathed into historic boat after being saved from the scrapheap

Glenn Tonner is looking for shed space to carry out renovations on the 75-year-old Dagmar

Glenn Tonner and the Dagmar.

A HISTORIC boat built in Shetland in 1945 which had been left to rot is set to be saved – with the brains behind the project appealing for a shed to house her in during restoration.

Glenn Tonner salvaged the dilapidated Dagmar LK414 in August when she was in line to be scrapped after sitting in Toft for a number of years.

The boat was laying alongside the slip, with Tonner – who works in London managing a fleet of super yachts but is originally from Yell – told she was due to be scrapped immediately to make way for renovations at Toft Pier.

The Dagmar was left in poor condition.

Tonner said the boat was originally built in 1945 by Jim Smith for Dr Peterson of North-a-Voe, Yell.

Rot was visible in several places and Tonner said the interior was in a “chaotic state”.

He was given temporary space in Lerwick to take the Dagmar to, and he began removing the rotting wood and all of the fittings.

Tonner said he saved everything which wasn’t rotting, with the pieces set to be reused or repurposed.

What is left of the Dagmar at the moment is the bottom shell.

Tonner is now searching for a 40ft space within a shed in Shetland to allow him to carry out repair work during the coming years.

He is based in London and plans to head to Shetland when he can to carry out the work.

Tonner said the Dagmar was used by Dr Peterson for exploring Shetland, as well as fishing and even “supplying Gutcher with the essentials one winter when the roads were blocked”.

What the inside of the boat looked like after it was salvaged.

She had a fishing licence until the mid 1950s – hence the LK414 title – and was rebuilt in 1993 by Danny Arthur, who added a larger wheelhouse and a new engine.

“I remember her coming into the North-a-Voe pier when I was approximately seven years old, owned then by Norman Jamieson who was a good friend of my late mother Hazel Gray,” Tonner said.

“I learned all about her from Norman and it may have been this encounter which inspired me to pursue a career at sea.”

Tonner has been living in London for around a decade, and has spent the last 14 years at sea, but he still tries to visit Shetland once a year.

It was on one of these visits three or four years ago that he saw the stricken Dagmar lying alongside the pier at Toft while he waited for the ferry to Yell – bringing back childhood memories in the process.

“I hoped someone was going to restore her and thought no more about it,” he said.

“Then on a trip to Shetland last summer I saw her again, still sitting in the same spot, now obviously neglected with signs of rot in various places. I was deeply saddened that this part of my childhood and beautiful piece of Shetland’s history would soon be lost if no action was taken.

“I had heard she was to be scrapped to make way for renovations at the pier in the very near future. The idea that I had to save her has stuck with me since that day. The project has been a great way of keeping my connection with Shetland.”

The Dagmar is currently housed at the end of Shearer’s Quay in Lerwick, but it is “not ideal as it is very exposed”.

“Ideally I am looking for a corner of a shed which I could put her in to focus on getting the hull sound within 2020,” Tonner said.

“Failing a shed I am looking for a patch of sheltered ground where I could build a temporary structure around her. The plan is to fly in for a few weeks of 18 hour days and get the hull sound in 2020 and then the deck and accommodation in 2021.

Glenn in the Dagmar before it was stripped away.

“I am consulting local experts for guidance but doing the body of work with my older brother Vincent. Together we have a very positive attitude to the project.

“I want to try and source all the materials from within Shetland or using Shetland suppliers and get as much community involvement as possible. I am planning to restore her to her original design but I’m not sure how she looked inside. If anyone can provide information please get in touch.”

The Dagmar isn’t the only boat-building project on Tonner’s mind at the moment, however.

The Yell man, who has an unlimited master mariner’s licence, is also building a nine foot folding boat in his back garden in London, set to be launched in February.


Do you have a shed which could house the Dagmar during renovations, or information about how the inside of the boat originally looked like? Contact Glenn Tonner through his restoration Facebook page here.