London celebrates Cultural Olympiad with the Boat Project

What do you do when you have a salad server, teak from China, a rock legend’s guitar and a plank of wood from London’s Olympic venue. Well you don’t do much but build a sailing boat! A boat which will soon be a part of the London 2012 cultural Olympic ad. It has been built by the people behind ‘The Boat Project’, a project which intends to document people’s lives and their stories by building a 30 feet vessel. What a way we say to create a seaworthy archives of memories and legends.

Funded by the Arts Council England and initiated by Lone Twin, the Boat Project attempts to bring forward artists from around the world, with the very best from the UK and actively celebrate the 2012 London Olympiad through a series of 12 public art commissions. The project began in February 2011 when people from South East were asked to send them wood. A wood which is special and has a story woven around it. Around 1,200 people came forward with wood that was as fine as Zebrawood or as exotic as pine and enlightened the people behind the project with their stories. All the wood, and tales associated with, were gathered till August and was used to construct a seafaring record documenting several lives.

The launch date of this floating archive is 7th May which is Maybank Holiday Monday. The boat led by Captain Mike Barham and a trained crew will leave from Chichester harbour for its maiden voyage throughout the South East England region this summer. The Boat Project is also a part of the London 2012 festival which will take place from 21st June to 9th September. The festival will be a meeting ground for artists from world over.

A Fleeting Vessel Archive

The 30 feet vessel also gives many people a chance to be a part of the London cultural Olympiad and that too without buying a ticket. Mark Covell, a boat builder and a Sydney Olympics silver medallist believes that this is the chance when anyone and everyone will actively participate in the celebrations that will sweep London this year. Mark has been deeply involved in the project ever since it was conceived and the efforts that went behind building this boat is equivalent to his Olympic preparations.

The men behind the project have tried to use all the wooden objects that were donated. Over 1221 wooden items were collected from across south east England which includes rock legend Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. Steve Ashmore, a graphics designer from Hastings in south east England, donated a plank of wood from a tro. A tro is a block of wood that was used by fishermen in Hastings to haul their fish up the beach. Steve, who has also joined the crew after being nominated for the same by his family and friends, stated that he wanted to donate wood which represented the culture of his hometown.

The precious donations that could easily fill a car park remarkably inspired the makers and encouraged them to build a vessel that not only had an emotional value attached to it but also became known for its technical qualities.

The speed of the vessel is somewhere between a dingy and a high performing sailing boat. After having completed its historic voyage the boat will dock at Weymouth, Dorset which is also London’s Olympics venue. It will remain for public viewing here throughout the Olympic month and will represent the true spirit of the games.