Artist crosses the Solent in giant pumpkin
An artist, called Dmitri Galitzine, has crossed the Solent from Gosport to the Isle of Wight in a giant pumpkin powered by an outboard motor.
Dmitri, who works with oversized vegetables, sourced the 800lb (360kg) squash at the Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Show in Lancashire.
According to the BBC, he left Stokes Bay at 9am and made the three-mile crossing to Wootton Creek in one hour and 56 minutes. Not bad going really!
A spokesperson for the event said that it went so well, that Mr Galitzine decided to return across the water to Portsmouth in the pumpkin.
After arriving on the island, Dmitri said: "I feel great. It was faster than expected, it took under two hours the whole crossing.
"I'm looking forward to getting on to dry land now."
Mark O’Hanlon, the grower who sold the pumpkin to Dmitri, said that the artist had taken a great interest in the fruit.
Mr O’Hanlon, from Hesketh Bank in Lancashire, said: "He followed it through.
"He saw it growing, he came to see it being loaded, he was so determined this was going to happen despite everybody telling him it was a bonkers idea.
"Going in the sea in large vegetables is not a good idea."
On Wednesday, Dmitri also set a new world record for the fastest 100m paddle whilst inside another pumpkin. This one was a 600lb (270kg) squash that was sourced at the same show, and he made the 100m paddle in exactly two minutes.
In order to create the two pumpkin vessels, Dmitri had spent several days working with the boating experts.
The larger of the two pumpkins was fitted with an outboard motor for crossing the Solent, which is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. And the smaller pumpkin was simply hollowed out for the world record paddle.
Guinness World Records said it had received notification of the paddle record attempt, which was recorded by independent adjudicators, and it will be examined later.
To set a new record Mr Galitzine had to complete the paddle within three minutes.
Dmitri creates giant vegetable sculptures which are influenced by English folk culture and he has no sailing experience. However, throughout the project he was supported by Portsmouth marine entrepreneur Jonny Boys.
Whilst this may sound strange, boating in a pumpkin isn’t as rare as you would imagine. In fact a handful of pumpkin regattas, in which boaters have raced in giant pumpkin ships, have been held in the UK and Nova Scotia in Canada since the 1990s.
A pumpkin boat race also took place in Hampshire in 2006.
Mr Galitzine said that while sailing pumpkins was "not common", the crossing over the Solent was "different to the regattas in the US, as it's over three miles and there are strong tides".
He said footage from the crossing would be turned into an artwork in the new year.