Daredevil Dmitri Galitzine’s bizarre stunt to sail to the Isle of Wight in a giant pumpkin had “Made in Lancashire” written all over it.
The London artist became the first man to complete the three-mile trip across the Solent in a 800lb orange squash grown near Burscough.
Dmitri drove all the way to Lancashire last weekend to visit the annual Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Competition looking for the ideal vegetable for his epic voyage.
“He just turned up, picked the biggest we had and snapped it up,” said organiser Trevor Wilson. “It was just short of 800 pounds. He told us he was off to sail it across to the Isle of Wight. Rather him than me.”
Dmitri strapped a wooden frame to the pumpkin and fitted a small outboard motor. The trip from Gosport to the Isle of Wight, across one of the busiest shipping channels in the world, was part of his of his latest art project.
Despite having no sailing experience, he left Stokes Bay in Gosport and reached Wootten Creek on the Isle of Wight in just under two hours at a modest one to two knots. Before launching his attempt he estimate it might take him three hours and revealed strong tides were his biggest worry.
“Giant pumpkins are naturally buoyant and have a thick waterproof exterior,” said Dmitri who creates giant vegetable sculptures. “They are round in shape like Welsh coracles, which were an effective vessel in fast flowing rivers.”
On Wednesday Dmitri attempted to set a new world record in another pumpkin, this time paddling 100-metres in Trafalgar Wharf in Portchester. His time of two minutes has to be ratified by the Guinness Book of World Records.