A recipe for a great day out - Take one half baked idea….It started one dark, dark December evening, two Danish guys sat at the OakTable drinking wine from a bag (in Denmark it is common for the inner bag of a wine box to be removed and stored in a novelty container - or so they tell me) and having squeezed the last drops out, the old guy decided to share his wisdom with the young impressionable visitor.
“”If you blow up the empty bag, you have an inflatable pillow as used by scouts and festival goers worldwide" he explained. Then followed a long discussion around alternative uses for these receptacles and this led to exploring their use as a flotation device and the idea that would later be MS Vinonysus was floated.
Their first idea was an air mattress (additional sleeping arrangements is a common requirement in this house), but soon led onto building a raft that could sail in the local lake. Vi Flyder I Vin was born and translated this means floating in Vine.
Initially they intended to collect 42 (of course), bags for their raft and friends were recruited to help them find empties, which basically meant drinking lots of wine.
For me the idea also resonated because this house is in a village called Måløv and I do not speak Danish and always struggled with the pronunciation but was told to 'say it like Merlot' as in the wine, today that is a very literal town name.
Like most good ideas it snowballed and now today, the 1st June 2014 had arrived and the ship would sail.
Back to the recipe:
· 272 wine bags (and lots of hangovers later) - this equates to more than 1,000 litres drunk (most were 3lt but some 5lt).
· Naval captain's uniform given to the old guy Mogens Nørgaard (not that any of you had not guessed the identity already) for his birthday.
· A sailor suit designed by his girlfriend and made from a shower curtain by yours truly for the young guy Nicolai Oster and his hat fashioned from a real Russian Navy hat donated by Alex Gorbachev (don’t worry Alex we took all the important bits off and have now reassembled as before).
· The girlfriend Cecilie will be the ships figurehead as a mermaid in a costume fashioned from an old nightdress and quickly crocheted flowers. Thank you Lotte for the sewing machine.
· The ship itself will be launched with the name MS Vinonysus, taken from Dionysus the Greek God of Winemaking, Madness and Debauchery, all very valid here and the obvious Vino, thanks to Mogens’ daughter Christine for the idea.
· The base of the ship is a large domestic trampoline donated by his young son Viktor but the hope is it too will be restored one day.
· More duct tape than the average DIYer would use in a lifetime
· Lots of champagne and food for the workforce
My role in all this? I am chief safety officer and photographer, dressed in 14mm of neoprene wetsuit stationed in the local lake (read murky pond) with waterproof camera and flask of whiskey (for sustenance only of course). My gopro luckily capturing all for a time lapse video.
Phase I – The build
The day started at 10am marked by the ringing of the local church bells (although it may simply have coincided with the Sunday morning service).
3 bags taped together made a T shape and using 37 of these (sorry the other 5 were used later), we wove them like bricks around the outside of the trampoline and using the duct tape created a firm, floating rim. The remaining bags were strung together across the centre of the trampoline and then the complete top was covered in netting to ensure no escapes.
Phase II – Getting to the Lake
The legs were removed and the trampoline rolled on its side through a side gate and then carried aloft by 4 strapping men (well Mogens and 3 strapping men) the 420 meters to the lake. In this journey only 1 bag was damaged as it hit a sharp stone.
Then rolled through the bushes to the landing deck of the lake.
By now I was in place, with trusty camera and whisky in place, and go pro attached at a dodgy angle to an overhanging tree.
Phase III – Launch
Since it was such a success there were another 4 (.2) sailings (I lie there were 7 in total) allowing most of those who had gathered on the docks to have their go on board the latest addition to the Danish Navy.
I was able to video most from my vantage point at water level and only once had to tow the ship like a tug boat. My dive log and rescue credentials will record my part in this historic event.
Phase IV – Return to Port
After the most successful afternoon, in the beautiful sun, the ship was lifted from the water and carried home. Local walkers and car drivers were intrigued, this trampoline and frogman escort but we were soon home and then decided to leave it as it is, the next outing will have an outboard motor.
One small issue, I lost the flask and had to go back, but luckily the flask was bobbing about on the surface and not too far to swim and retrieve.