ANDREW Baldwin is driven by a desire to achieve “impossible” feats.
Last year he sailed down the Thames in a boat and then “walked” it ashore outside London’s Tate Modern art gallery.
Now he plans to go a step further by taking his tiny red yacht to Iceland, adding wheels and driving it around the island.
The 50 year old sculptor from Sandwich, near Ramsgate, arrived in Shetland on board the Scary Mary last week to stock up on supplies and wait for camera spares before setting off for Reykjavik.
A blacksmith for more than 20 years, Baldwin always wanted to be an artist and took to building “big moving machines” once the children were old enough to look after themselves.
Initially he had hoped to sail the Scary Mary all the way to Canada and to take her across the Rocky Mountains, but the American authorities were not impressed by his ideas.
He now hopes the Icelanders will have a more relaxed attitude towards his “kinetic art”.
A novice to sailing, Baldwin started converting the 25ft steel yacht at Christmas 2010. After 16 months of welding and several sea trials, he set off from Ramsgate in the middle of June.
“I wanted to have an adventure and I fancied sailing, but I decided I couldn’t stand the boredom. I want to do things and this idea of turning the boat into something came just out of the blue. It gives me a reason for doing it, it is purely a jaunt for myself,” he said.
He said the first leg of his journey had been a good experience since “everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong”, for example he had to put into North Shields for some urgent repairs before continuing to Shetland.
After losing his electrics half way he had some close encounters with shipping and oil rigs, and when he made it into Lerwick in thick fog he tied up at Gremista marina instead of Victoria Pier as directed by the harbour office.
As soon as a weather window opens he will be on his way to the Icelandic capital, a 600 mile journey which he hopes to complete in two weeks.
“It is just an adventure. There is no great meaning in it. Very few pieces I make have a great meaning, though possibly a lot of personal meaning, but not necessarily for the greater good, I am afraid.”
More info at www.walkingboat.com/walkingboat.html