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Adventurer to sail down the Hudson on a boat made from rubbish

The world’s waste problem is no secret but is the answer to our ever-growing landfills really to build boats from them? James Bowthorpe certainly seems to think so.

The British adventurer has teamed up with Swiss fine watch brand Tudor on a project that is part expedition, part art film and part factual documentary which will see him build a boat from waste found on the streets of New York City and then sail it from the source of the Hudson River all the way back to the metropolis where it ends. The ethos behind the project is to call into question the nature of our relationship with the earth and create a link between the natural and manmade wildernesses we inhabit. On a practical level Bowthorpe is tasked with creating a boat from scratch that is capable of sailing for 8 weeks on a river which can occasionally reach grade-four white water.

The Hudson River Project trailer

Bowthorpe has budgeted himself six days to collect materials and six days to build the boat, which will be done on the streets rather than in a workshop, using a minimal toolkit. Bowthorpe, director Antony Crook and a second cameraman will then document the boat’s expedition down the Hudson, with extra shots being provided by a helicopter camera crew. Needless to say this is very far from cruising the Caribbean on a superyacht.

However, if there was ever a man up to the task it is Bowthorpe. After studying literature at the University of Edinburgh, he worked at shipyards in Barcelona and Vancouver before moving into documentary filmmaking. He has travelled the breadth of America four times – by train, bike, car and hitch-hiking – and held the world record for round the world cycling for three months in 2009. It took him just 175 days to circumnavigate the globe.

This latest challenge may just prove his trickiest yet but after a successful pre-expedition trek down the Hudson, which saw him hiking and camping for weeks in below freezing temperatures, Bowthorpe is confident of his success. The post-production documentary and online experience promise to be more than a little epic so stay tuned for updates and visit the project’s Kickstarter page to pledge your support.

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