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Boat destruction with flair


Dec. 18 — A 26-year-old British sailor and artist is planning to cut in half the yacht she raced in the Route du Rhum as part of a new art project.

Lia Ditton, who competed in the 2006 Route du Rhum race, wants to cut her Open 40, Dangerous When Wet, in half — like a half-model — and turn the two half hulls into art exhibits, called “The Divorce,” according to information on her Web site. The half hulls will be supported by separate wood structures. Spectators will be able to ascend a staircase to a walkway in the open rear of hull and view the cabin interior.

“It became apparent that the concept was set to attract controversy, provoking questions and emotion and scratching at the very backbone of what is art,” Ditton says on the site. “How do you feel about the idea of a boat, rich in history, which has circumnavigated the globe by single-hander, being cut in two under the banner of art?”

During the race, Ditton kept a log of her experience on board Dangerous When Wet, the site says. She wanted to create a log that could be presented as art, so she scrawled each entry on the cabin walls and roof. “…the boat is to be immortalized, saved from becoming obsolete in the face of the booming Class 40, gathering [mold] in the corner of a boat yard of [old] race boats,” Ditton continues.

Ditton placed second in her class in the 2006 Route du Rum. She has also competed in a number of regattas, and first crossed the Atlantic in the 1980 OSTAR.

Another of Ditton’s projects calls for a series of five Minis, just over 20 feet LOA, to be constructed of materials that will fall apart in the water, says a report on the Yachting World Web site. One of the Minis will be made of ice. The other four will be made of salt, effervescent Vitamin C, paper and of food respectively. The idea would be to sail them as far as possible before they break apart.

It may be difficult to find sponsorship for the project, called “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” Ditton says. “Combining art and sailing is something companies just don’t get,” she says in the report.

Jason Fell