February 21, 2018
On February 21st, the Coast Guard Cutter STEADFAST and her crew departed Astoria, OR on patrol. After crossing the fabled Columbia River Bar, the Steadfast turned south and began its journey to the Eastern Pacific. On its transit down the Western Coast of the United States, STEADFAST encountered heavy seas with swells averaging 12-15 feet for numerous days. The crew did a thorough job ensuring the Pacific Lotus was secured for sea and thankfully, despite the violent pitching and rolling of the ship, no damage was done to the sailboat, regrettably the same could not be said for some unsecured mugs and a desk or two. Once in the Southern California area, STEADFAST conducted aviation qualifications with a Coast Guard helicopter, tactical law enforcement training, and a joint exercise with the Mexican Navy.
As STEADFAST continued steaming south, the seas finally began to settle out. After steaming over 2,000 nautical miles, STEADFAST reached its launch destination, a position chosen off the Baja Peninsula for its favorable winds and currents. On the morning of the launch, the crew gathered for a group photo, wished the Pacific Lotus farewell, and loaded it into the cutter’s small boat. The small boat got underway and gained some separation from the cutter, then the small boat’s crew lowered the Pacific Lotus into the water and watched as it started to sail away. Soon after, STEADFAST recovered its small boat and began to increase its speed. As the cutter continue on patrol, the crew watched as the Pacific Lotus disappeared over the horizon, sailing into the open ocean.
Launch Date/Time: 2 March 2018 at 10:15 AM
Launch Position: 27-28.3N 116-53.6W
Weather Conditions on launch: Winds 329 T at 10 kts
Seas 320 T at 1 ft
The Student’s Story
Out of 82 schools which applied to get a mini-boat, our 7th grade Science class at Cedar Park was one of 5 schools to be chosen! As this is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we were very delighted to find out that we had been selected for this project. We had decided that our goal was ultimately for the boat to cross the Pacific Ocean to Japan. However, we knew that if it crosses the Pacific, wherever it ends up, it would be very impressive.
We started out by creating three teams that were each responsible for a different part of the project. They were the Keel team, the Hull team, and the International Recovery Team. The Keel team filled the keels of both boats with epoxy, a chemical. The hull team unpackaged both boats and sanded them. The International Recovery Team designed the finder’s instructions, and translated them. Later, they took on several other jobs such as writing the story for the Pacific Lotus for Educational Passages.
The name Pacific Lotus came about from several different meanings. First off, we knew that very few boats have been launched into the Pacific, so we thought it would be unique to use the word “Pacific” in the boat name. The word “Lotus” came from a tradition at our school, Cedar Park. We organize each grade into teams, and since our class is on Team Lotus, we named our boat after that. We held a class vote to choose the name, and Pacific Lotus was one of several names. However, the combination of words was appealing to many people, so we went with that.
Afterwards, we divided into several smaller teams that each took on individual, and more specific jobs. We had teams working on the sail, the figurehead, the GPS, and much more. It took several hours to finally get everything together, and to get the boat ready to launch.
Nate’s Note: The s/v Pacific Lotus is ready for deployment and is just waiting for the perfect vessel to take her to the predetermined launching spot.
The 7th grade class of Heidi VandenHooff’s prepared this little boat.
During the 2017-2018 school year, students from the state of Oregon and Aomori prefecture of Japan are embarking on a scientific and cultural exchange without ever leaving their classrooms. Five classes in Oregon each constructed two miniboats—one to launch from the Oregon Coast and the other to send to their partner class in Hachinohe for launching from the Japanese Coast on December 20, 2017.