BBC1’s ice boat challenge capsizes

A Second World War ice boat concept is recreated in Portsmouth Harbour with dramatic results

BBC1’s science show Bang Goes the Theory came to Gosport Marina, Portsmouth on Wednesday 29 September as the television show’s four presenters attempted to cross from Gosport to Cowes in a boat made of ice!

TV presenters braved the cold waters of Portsmouth Harbour to pay tribute to Second World War inventor Geoffery Pyke. They experimented with his concept of making aircraft carriers out of ice in an attempt to overcome problems with warships freezing in Arctic waters and as a solution to the country running low on steel at the time.

The BBC’s ‘ice boat’, nicknamed Pyke’s Folly, was 16ft long and 6ft wide and was made using 4 tonnes of water and 1 tonne of hemp which had been moulded with a pond liner. The boat had been stored in a refrigerated warehouse in Tilbury, Essex for around three weeks before making its way to Gosport Marina.

 Bang Goes the Theory Team

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The team decided to put Pyke’s theory to the test and set themselves the challenge of crossing the Solent. However, a choppy Portsmouth Harbour caused the craft to take on water that eventually led to it capsizing. With the staff of Gosport Marina on hand, all four presenters were quickly rescued from the water and the remains of the ice boat were towed to shore.

For the full account by the staff at Gosport Marina visit the BBC website.