Chris Burden, The Sailing Destroyer, 1990

Chris Burden
The Sailing Destroyer, 1990

HMS Cavalier, Newcastle upon Tyne
10.09.1990 - 28.10.1990

As part of TSWA Four Cities

The Sailing Destroyer was an attempt by the artist to radically modify an existing, but obsolete warship into a sailing vessel. The intention was to actually sail the HMS Cavalier in the North Sea; however due to financial constraints, only blueprints, calculations and a three dimensional model were possible.

Modifying HMS Cavalier into a sailing vessel represents the 'greening' of a warship because it would no longer use fossil fuels as its power source. However, because its guns would still be functional, it is not a simple 'swords to plowshares' transformation. In fact, because the ship's engines would no longer be functional, the vessel would not produce the noise, vibrations or the infrared heat signature to be detected by other vessels. Thus, the transformation could actually be the forerunner of a new generation of 'stealth' warships.

Related Information

Chris Burden
Project Title:
The Sailing Destroyer
Projects UK