Emsworth man selected for Olympic project

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An Emsworth man has been chosen to go on a very special voyage as part of an Olympic project.

It is a dream come true for Daniel Lane, who confesses to know nothing about sailing, apart from what is in the first 15 pages of a newly-acquired book.

He will be one of a number of people to crew the maiden voyage of a yacht being put together in Thornham Marina, as part of the south east region’s Cultural Olympiad.

The 30ft yacht has been built with donated pieces of wood which have stories behind them, and it will be sailed next summer ahead of the London Olympics.

Mr Lane, 46, of Ward Crescent, has been following the project with interest, and was nominated for the role by his wife Phillipa.

The part-time English teacher, and father-of-two was chosen from hundreds of entries for the six-man crew.

And after finding out, he quickly snapped up a recommended ‘how to sail’ book.

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” he said. “My father had a boat when I was little, but my only recollection is it was on the driveway, so I have no sailing experience.

“It’s something we really want to get into, especially because of the girls and because we have Chichester harbour.

“I’m really interested in archives and the idea of creating a living archive is fantastic.”

The yacht is being put together by artists Lone Twin, and consists of 1,200 wooden objects which have been donated by the public.

The crew have come from all walks of life and include one experienced sailor, a graphic designer and a plumber.

They 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 six successful seafaring cadets will be fully trained and equipped for the journey, which will begin after the launch in Emsworth and the route of which will be officially announced next month.

Donations have included family heirlooms, tributes to those who have passed away, a piece of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, relics of the second world war and even a piece of Brighton’s West Pier.

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 excited to be giving these six people the chance to sail a very exciting, modern sports boat, capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots.”

The Boat Project shed is located at Unit B, Thornham Marina, Prinsted Lane, Emsworth, and is generally open between 9am-4pm from Monday to Friday when visitors are welcome to see the team’s progress.