I, Victor Strange, and my wife Linda Dungal bought land at Lake Thingvallavatn in 2009 in the south of Iceland. We built a summer house there and soon after went looking for a boat to take out on lake, the biggest in Iceland, and inside of the National Park, about a 45 minute drive from Reykjavík, the capital.

I have always been a fan of wooden boats. The reason, I think, is because I was raised around so much wood, like wooden furniture and houses. My father was a modeler and my two younger brothers are carpenters. I have worked with wood and a lot of design throughout my life. I also had an interest in muscle cars when I was younger so therefore I was sure of the kind of boat I wanted, a wooden boat with 8 cylinders (just for the sound).

When we started looking for a boat on the internet, it was not long before I made the decision that I wanted a project boat, one that I could work on in the garage. It couldn’t be longer than 6 meters, due to regulations here in Iceland. I didn’t have a lot of information when I started out, but with research I found a 1955 Chris-Craft Capri 19-foot project boat. He was gray and had no motor or interior – perfect for me. We named him Hlátur – which means “laugh” in English, it is a very appropriate name for him. 

We bought the boat from LaPonte´s Classic Boat & Motor Inc. in Spring Park, Minnesota. The good people from LaPonte´s put a new motor/engine in the boat, a 283/185 hp and installed a new 12 volt electric system before they sent the boat to Iceland after keeping it for me for one year because I didn’t have space for it at the time. When the boat arrived in Iceland, three more years of hard work took place. But in the end, and with a lot of help from the book, “How to Restore Your Wooden Runabout” by Don Danenberg, it is so rewarding to see the boat look like new.

At this point in time, I became a member in the Antique and Classic Boat Society and Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club. Ever since I eagerly await the next issue of The Rudder and BrassBell to arrive in the mailbox because those magazines are the only connection for me to this business. We had the first and only Chris-Craft boat in Iceland!

As I said before, we built a summerhouse by Lake Thingvallavatn, where we ride on our boats. The summer in Iceland is short, only around three months and the weather is not always good, maybe around 20° Celsius on the best days. When the weather is good the family goes out to the lake. The youngest grandchild is six months old and we love to be all together whether we are fishing or just taking a nice ride. 

Our family has grown to 11 including grandkids and hopefully that will continue. So, in 2017 I bought another boat, a 1966 Chris-Craft Holiday 18-foot with a 327/210 hp motor. The boat arrived in OK condition and we have been riding on it a little bit. But, I am working on making it perfect. Once I am finished with that, next summer we will all go out together in both of our boats on Lake Thingvallavatn.

One thing I have to say in the end, buying these boats has brought our family closer together and the rides on the lake have made the summers unforgettable.

Now I have started thinking of my next project, you can easily get hooked on this hobby…



  1. As a second generation Icelander, I’m glad to see you doing what I would love to do! Now I can live vicariously through you and your family!

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