Hampshire & Isle of Wight

HMS Victory wood to be used in Olympic boat

Olympic Boat Project
Image caption The donated wood is being incorporated into the vessel

Wood taken from the historic warship HMS Victory is to be used to help build a nine-metre (30ft) boat as part of a nautical art project.

The wood has come from the port bow section of the warship's outer planking. A piece from HMS Warrior 1860 has also been donated.

The boat is being constructed from pieces of wood donated by members of the public and organisations.

The aim is to sail it from Emsworth, Hampshire, to the Olympic Park.

Leftover wood from the Olympic velodrome is also being used to build the boat along with everyday items including paddles, spoons, drum sticks and house signs.

The craft is being built by Mark Covell, a Portsmouth boat builder and British Olympic silver medallist and America's Cup sailor.

He said: "HMS Victory represents so much to so many in that she was instrumental in the history of our nation as the flagship of the Royal Navy.

"Working on the Victory was my first commercial job as a boat builder when I completed my apprenticeship and I felt honoured then, as I will do so now to work with her timbers and so contribute to her legacy."

A professional skipper will lead the voyage in May 2012 but the crew will include some people picked from a public nomination.

The month-long maiden voyage along the South East coast will see the boat call in at four locations, before sailing up the Thames in July.

The boat project is set to be a main focus of four arts festivals along the South coast in the run-up to the London 2012 Games.

The boat, which is being built at Thornham Marina, Emsworth, is one of 12 public arts projects funded by Arts Council England to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Anyone who wants to donate a piece of wood to the boat can take it to a series of donation days taking place across the South East region.

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