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The Boat Project names captain for 2012 sail

  • Date: 19 January 2012
  • Area: South East
man in sail boat

Captain Mike Barham, The Boat Project, 2012. Credit: Photo courtesy of Lone Twin

This January, a captain has been chosen for the boat crafted from wooden keepsakes donated from people in the South East, which will be sailed along the South Coast during the London 2012 Games. 

Mike Barham, from Gosport, Hampshire, will lead a team of sailors to crew the 30-foot yacht as it travels from Emsworth to Margate via Portsmouth, Brighton, Milton Keynes and Hastings in July 2012 as part of The Boat Project.

The Boat Project is a Cultural Olympiad London 2012 project, part of the Arts Council England’s Artist taking the lead, led by artists Lone Twin, who won the commission for the South East.

In January, the yacht also made its first trip from Emsworth to the London Boat Show. During which, the artists, the captain, the build team, build volunteers and crew members were on hand to answer questions about their unique yacht.

Captain Mike Barham, 42, who has raced a variety of sizes of boats in places including Monaco, Cowes, Weymouth and Ireland, said, ‘I started my sailing adventures with 1st Southbourne Sea Scout Troop in Prinstead in 1980, so it’s very exciting to be returning to this area as the boat captain for this wonderful project!' 

He continued, ‘With The Boat Project journey starting from the beginning of my sailing adventures in Prinstead, 2012 looks to be a very exciting and personally very challenging year for me. It will allow me to reach many more new harbours, greet people old and new, and help to make a difference to those whom the project touches.’

The 30-foot yacht has been crafted by a team of professional boat builders - including Olympic Medallist Mark Covell - and will be a living archive of people's lives and stories. Between February and August 2011, Lone Twin received 1,200 donations and met over 5,000 people as they collected donations of wood with ‘an interesting story behind them’. Donations have included family heirlooms, a piece of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, relics of the Second World War and even a piece of Brighton’s West Pier.

This spring, new captain Mike and the eight crew members will start training for the big sail.

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England, said, ‘What an exciting start to the year for The Boat Project! Every boat needs a name and a captain and this announcement has been eagerly anticipated by everyone. It’s wonderful that this fantastic vessel will be seen by thousands and thousands of people in the South East during 2012 but that it has also been shown at the prestigious London Boat Show. Everyone at Arts Council England will be following the boat’s incredible journey this coming summer.’

The next milestone for The Boat Project is the final naming of the yacht. To vote for a winning name before April 7, go to: