Essential repairs commence on Nil Desperandum

Following a successful request for volunteers by the Shetland Amenity Trust, essential repair work has begun at Hay’s Dock to the ex-seine netter boat Nil Desperandum.

Built in 1947, the boat is believed to be one of the best examples of its kind left. It was built for the Ministry of Defence, but purchased by the Wiseman family in 1951 after which it spend fifty years fishing the waters around Shetland.

The vessel has been in a deteriorating state of repair in recent years, and was gifted to Shetland Amenity Trust by James Wiseman in April 2012 in order that it could be preserved, with a view to becoming a floating display for visitors to the area.

Several volunteers were on hand yesterday morning to assist with the dismantling of the boat’s mast, with the removal of the heavy winches scheduled shortly. A cover will be fitted to enable the volunteers to carry out significant repairs to the deck and deck beams while protecting the boat from deteriorating further. This work will continue over the winter months.

Peter Chroston a lead shipwright on several projects and a boat builder with 25 years of experience in the restoration of wooden and building of new boats is coordinating the boats repair. Peter said: “I enjoy the challenge of working on old traditional built boats.” Peter replied to an advertisement seeking help to restore the Nil Desperandum and agreed to lead co-ordination of the repairs.

Tim Senften is another leading volunteer. A retired teacher originally from Ohio in America, who knew he would be able to help using his practical background and broad range of skills and trades which include joinery, electrician, engineering and welding.

Tim said: ‘I like the identity of old boats and feel that it’s an important heritage point for people to identify with their past’.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering to assist with repairs and regular maintenance of the Nil Desperandum should contact Alan Blain, Deputy Manager at Shetland Amenity Trust on 01595 694688.

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