In the space of less than six weeks during the summer of 2016 artist Dmitri Galitzine transformed this space at Galleons Point from this:
Working as part of the Tidal Twirlings summer of art in North Woolwich his plan was to build a ship made out of recycled materials, found and donated by local people, with their help.
The fact that Dmitri was able to deliver such an impressive vessel is testament to his hard work and dedication and also to the support and participation of the great many people that contributed time and materials to the project.
On Sunday 18th September it came time for Dmitri to sail away. It had always been the plan to launch the ship in the river Thames but that is not just a case of pushing the boat out in to the water and away you go as there was the safety of Dmitri and other river users to consider and with a project of this nature the first test is also the first live performance.
Also, as anyone who attended the launch will have noticed, the river Thames is a busy place with lots of other vessels out on the water plus very strong and fast tides to contend with.
As a consequence it was decided that the departure would have to be done a different way and, with the kind assistance of CPBS Marine Services, we secured the use of a boat mounted crane to lift Dmitri’s ship away from the shipyard and to sail away.
Those in attendance were lucky to have such a close vantage point to witness quite a complex river based lifting operation – not something many people will have the chance to do.
The fact that they also got to see several tonnes of wooden ship flying through the air was something quite impressive too.
Then Dmitri went and sat on the ship he had built in North Woolwich and sailed away down the Thames.
This time-lapse video shows the preparations and launching of the ship.
To see how the ship was built check out this blog post that documents how the build progressed and for some more pictures from the launch event click here.
February 2017 update
Dmitri has now released the project video that he commissioned in support of the “A Ship (to sail away)” project.
A Ship (to Sail Away) from Dmitri Galitzine on Vimeo.