Wood from Hendrix guitar used in Olympic boat project

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A BOAT crafted from 1,200 pieces of wood, including fragments from the Tudor warship the Mary Rose and Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, has been launched as part of a national art project to mark the Olympics.

Created as a “floating collage of memories”, The Boat Project has been funded by the Arts Council England’s Artists’ Taking the Lead project as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

The artists who came up with the idea, Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan, known as Lone Twin, invited members of the public to bring wooden pieces to the West Sussex boatyard where it was built. The only criteria was that the items were made from wood and had a story behind them.

The diverse contributions include a plank from the London 2012 velodrome, several hockey sticks, a Victorian policeman’s truncheon, large crates used to transport gold as British securities to Canada during the Second World War and a hairbrush used by a make-up artist at Pinewood Studios in the 1960s.

A spokeswoman for the project said: “People from all walks of life responded by giving treasured items from all parts of the world and, more humbly, their garages.

“Each and every fascinating back-story was digitally recorded and photographed with its donor.”

Mr Winters said that a sense of fun flowed through the whole design and construction.

He said: “It’s very difficult to be very serious with an aardvark and a coat hanger.

“I don’t have any favourites but I like a stick which came from someone who made a pilgrimage to Sad Hill Cemetery in Spain, which was used for the set of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and that stick has made a migration to the boat and will continue to do so.”

The yacht, which took a year to build and which is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 20 knots, was publicly launched at Thornham Marina at Emsworth, West Sussex, ahead of its maiden voyage visiting locations along the south coast arriving at the Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth, Dorset, in time for the games in August.