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The Boat Project selects crew for specially crafted yacht for London 2012 Games

  • Date: 20 September 2011
  • Area: South East
six people, men and women

The Boat Project crew. Credit: Lone Twin

Six lucky crew members have been chosen from hundreds nominated by the public to sail a special 30-foot seafaring yacht along the South Coast during the 2012 Games.

The crew will take part in a voyage on board a unique boat fashioned from over 1,200 wooden objects donated by people from across the South East and beyond. The boat is part of The Boat Project, a project conceived and coordinated by artists Lone Twin and which is one part of the Arts Council England London 2012 Cultural Olympiad initiative Artist taking the lead.

The six chosen crew members are:

•    Julie Wright, 41, from the Isle of Wight
•    Michelle Die’tt, 25, from St Leonards, East Sussex
•    Steve Ashmore, 48, from Hastings, East Sussex
•    Kenneth Lyon, 50, from Arundel, West Sussex
•    Daniel Lane, 46, from Emsworth, West Sussex
•    Jerome Timmins, 27, from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

Over the summer Lone Twin have been asking the public to nominate people they thought deserved the opportunity to be a crew member for the boat's maiden voyage next summer. Hundreds of nominations were received with just six places to be filled. The crew includes an experienced sailor, a graphic designer, a teacher and a plumber.

The six successful sea faring cadets will be fully trained and equipped for the journey which will begin after the launch in Emsworth. The crew will work under various experienced skippers as the boat embarks on its maiden voyage, stopping at locations across the south coast where a festival of events will mark its arrival. The 2012 route will be officially announced next month.

Harry Custance, 16, from Guildford, Surrey, was also discovered through the nomination process and has been offered an internship with The Boat Project; he will assist the Boat Captain with maintenance and preparation both on and off shore during the maiden voyage.

One of the lucky cadets, Steve Ashmore, East Sussex resident, who was nominated by his wife, said, ‘When I heard about The Boat Project, it immediately captured my imagination. To build a boat from people's stories is a wonderful idea illustrating a fascinating aspect of our relationship with the sea. To have been chosen to be part of the crew is a unique gift, a great opportunity and a real privilege.’

Another, Michelle Die’tt, added, 'I feel very honoured and priviledged to have been chosen to sail this truly amazing vessel.'

This year Lone Twin and their expert team - yacht designer Simon Rogers and boat builder, British Olympic Silver medallist and America's Cup sailor Mark Covell along with a raft of volunteers – have been constructing the boat at Thornham Marina in Hampshire. From February to August, the team visited 20 locations across the South East and invited the public to visit and donate items at the boat shed, seeing 5,000 people and received 1,200 donations in total.

Donations of all shapes and sizes were accepted as long as they were made of wood and had ‘an interesting story behind them’. Donations have included family heirlooms, tributes to those who have passed, a piece of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, relics of the Second World War and even a piece of Brighton’s West Pier.

Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters of Lone Twin, said: ‘We were bowled over by all the nominations and pairing down to six was incredibly difficult but the chosen crew stuck out as making a great team. On meeting them they all struck us as exceptional individuals who together will make a fantastic crew. It has been brilliant giving people this opportunity and it will be an amazing adventure.’

Boat builder Mark Covell said, ‘To be chosen as a crew member is a fantastic opportunity to be fast tracked to a level of sailing that most people take four or five seasons to get to. We are very exciting to be giving these six people the chance to sail a very exciting, modern sports boat, capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots.’

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England, said: ‘Being part of the crew to sail the boat on her maiden voyage in 2012 is an excellent way to take part in the project and it will be a very unique and exciting opportunity for the people who will be chosen to take up the challenge. I look forward to seeing the boat set sail for the first time next summer just in time for the Olympics and Paralympics. I wish the crew luck and I hope that many people along the South Coast will also be able to observe the journey.’

Arts Council England is delivering Artists taking the lead in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Wales.

The Boat Project shed is located at Unit B, Thornham Marina, Prinsted Lane, Emsworth, Hampshire, PO10 8DD and is generally open between 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Visitors are welcome to stop in and see the team’s progress.

Follow The Boat Project on Twitter @theboatproject. For more information visit