Getting ready to sail your memories around the coast

Gary Winters at Thornham Marina in Emsworth with the Olympic boat
Gary Winters at Thornham Marina in Emsworth with the Olympic boat
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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THIS is the beautiful boat built with people’s memories to mark the 2012 Olympics.

Boat builders at Thornham Marina, Emsworth, have been working tirelessly to create the stunning vessel out of hundreds of wooden objects. And just four months away from the maiden voyage, it is finally taking shape.

The Boat Project is a unique archive of memories invested in treasured yet sometimes mundane wooden objects which are being fashioned into the 30ft boat. It will sail along the south coast this summer.

Every single object has a story which has been painstakingly documented by the artists behind the project – Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters.

Local boat builders Sean Quail, Ian Davidson and Jess Loynes have been working tirelessly to make sure the vessel will be ready for the launch on the May Day Bank Holiday.

Gary said: ‘We’ve got about six weeks of work left but it looks amazing. We had this idea 10 years ago so to see its progress has been incredible.

‘Gregg and I don’t have any experience of boat building but we have a brilliant team of three local boat builders.

‘They have been helped out by a team of volunteers with a wealth of experience who have come to the shed once or twice a week to help out using the skills they have, getting it to a high specification. It is quite a modern boat.’

More than 1,200 wooden items have been donated and incorporated into the project which is being built at Thornham Marina in Emsworth.

A shaving from a precious guitar played by rock legend Hendrix in the 1960s sits side by side with a Masai warrior’s club that has killed lions, parts of HMS Victory and the Mary Rose.

Sea trials will take place in March and April and the maiden voyage around the south coast is set to begin on the May Bank Holiday.

A book about the project with all the objects stories will be released the same day.

Go to for more information.