And we name this patchwork boat... Collective Spirit!

Collective Spirit takes to the water at Thornham Marina near Emsworth on Bank Holiday Monday  Picture: Malcolm Wells (121598-6947)
Collective Spirit takes to the water at Thornham Marina near Emsworth on Bank Holiday Monday Picture: Malcolm Wells (121598-6947)

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THOUSANDS of people contributed to the making of a boat that will tour the south coast during the Olympics – but until now it hasn’t had a proper name.

But now that the building of the 30ft wooden sailing vessel is complete it has been named Collective Spirit in honour of everyone’s hard work.

The public got to vote on what name should be given to the boat, which is made out of donated trees, hockey sticks, tennis rackets, hairbrushes and police truncheons.

It even includes a piece of The Mary Rose and a bit of a guitar played by Jimi Hendrix.

British yachtsman Pete Goss MBE came up with the chosen name, which was picked from a short list.

And today hundreds of people gathered together to celebrate the boat’s new title as it took to the water at Thornham Marina, Prinstead, near Emsworth, for the first time. A crane lifted the boat from the shore into the water and confetti was sent into the sky to mark the occasion.

Valerie Bird, 73, donated part of a crab apple tree that had been planted near the ashes of her son Andrew, 33, at Warblington Cemetery.

‘I’m delighted with the name of the boat because it symbolises everyone’s contribution – it was a collective effort. Andrew loved sailing and now part of him will get to sail forever because some of his ashes are probably on the piece of wood I donated,’ she said. ‘It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Prior to completion of the building work the boat was called The Boat Project because it was part of a £550,000 project set up by Arts Council England. Arts Council England used the money to pay for the build and it commissioned artists Lone Twin, Olympic sailor and boat-builder Mark Covell and designer Simon Rogers to carry out the work, which took 14 months.

As part of yesterday’s event local musicians performed on a stage and a hog roast and a barbecue were laid on for guests. The boat will be taken on a trailer to Hayling Island Sailing Club, where it will set sail with a crew of eight to Brighton on May 18.

It will then stop at Hastings and be taken on a trailer to Milton Keynes before docking in Weymouth in time for the Olympic sailing event.

The crew have been voted on by the public. Captain Mike Barham, 42, of Gosport, said: ‘The name and the look of the boat is unique.

‘I’ve never been at the helm of a boat before so I’m a complete novice. I’m excited about the challenge ahead.’