Updates:

1st Voyage

During the 2021-2022 school year, students at Sgt W. H. Carney Academy Elementary in New Bedford, MA, USA collaborated with students at Escola Básica António José de Ávila in Horta, Faial, Azores, Portugal on a special project. The “US-Azores Miniboat Project: Connecting Communities Across the Atlantic” is a cultural exchange between the US and Azores, Portugal, that engages young students and their communities in learning about the connections to the ocean through building, launching, and tracking of uncrewed, GPS equipped miniature sailboats (“miniboats”).

Funded by the US Embassy in Lisbon in 2020, these two schools have been building their own miniboats while getting to know each other virtually. The project is lead by partners New Bedford Whaling Museum in the US and Observatório do Mar dos Açores (OMA) in Faial, Educational Passages and the College of Exploration.

  • About the Crew and Project

    About the Crew at Sgt W. H. Carney Academy Elementary

    Katie Almeda, STEM teacher and lead teacher on this project, initiated the content learning for this project with whole class lessons. Then our 5th grade students signed up for one of several teams- Cargo, Hull and Keel, Sail, Deck, Launch, or Media. Once students were assigned to one of their preferred teams, small group work began. Ms. Almeda led her teams: the Cargo and Hull and Keel teams in building the miniboat; Mrs. Cosentino, Art teacher led the Sail and the Deck teams in creating the look for the boat’s deck and sail; and Mrs. Fidalgo-Ribeiro led the Launch team in researching and securing a vessel that would take the Carney Star Cruiser out to sea to be launched, and the Media team in writing a script and creating videos to be posted on Flipgrid and be shared with our peer school and students in Faial.

    Throughout the project, from January to June 2022, Robert Rocha, Associate Curator of Science and Research at the New Bedford Whaling Museum visited Carney regularly to provide our 5th grade students with many lessons about currents, wind, nautical vocabulary and principles, and other related lessons.

    Dr. Timothy Walker, from University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth, presented a session on Portuguese explorers and connections to New Bedford’s whaling history. Students greatly benefited from and enjoyed all lessons.

    Once the project was complete, and before we sent it out to the fishing vessel, the F/V MARY K, to carry it out to sea, we had a launching ceremony to celebrate our students, teachers, and Mr. Rocha’s hard work and accomplishments.

    This was an invaluable, hands-on, real life experience for Carney’s 5th grade students, one that they will forever carry with them.

    Naming the boat: The Carney Star Cruisers

    Carney Star Cruisers won the most votes because it brought in the “Shining Stars” tradition we have on Fridays for nominating students who follow Carney’s STAR expectations (S – show kindness , T – take responsibility, A – act safely and R – respect everyone). The Cruiser part of the name is a nautical reference because the boat will cruise the seas.

    What do we hope to learn?

    During the duration of this program, learning took many forms for teachers and students, but looking ahead, we hope our school can increase their global awareness and respect for the ocean as we track the miniboat on its travels.

  • June 28, 2022 - Launched off the F/V Mary K

    On June 22, the Carney Star Cruisers miniboat was delivered to the docks of a local fishing boat, the MARY K. It will soon be launched out into the Atlantic with hopes that it will sail to the Azores.

    The miniboat was launched on June 28, according to the GPS track. Here are some pictures from the crew:

  • July 6, 2022 - Landed in Nova Scotia after 6 days at sea

    The CARNEY STAR CRUISERS miniboat made a journey to Nova Scotia.

    It landed on July 6, 2022 between Sutherland Island and Little Island, Sheet Harbour Passages, Nova Scotia, Canada after 6 days and 634 km voyage.

2nd Voyage - Refloated with tide

3rd Voyage - Refloated with the tide

4th Voyage - Refloated with the tide

5th Voyage - Refloated with the tide - Recovered

  • Awaiting Recovery after July 14

    The CARNEY STAR CRUISERS miniboat made a quick journey to Nova Scotia and is awaiting recovery.

    SEEKING ASSISTANCE WITH RECOVERING 1.5m UNCREWED MINIBOAT NAMED CARNEY STAR CRUISERS FROM BALD HARBOUR ISLANDS, NOVA SCOTIA

    UPDATED JULY 14: Boat refloated with tide multiple times but is now currently located at 44.869513988495, -62.354686260223.

    The miniboat is named “CARNEY STAR CRUISERS,” and is part of an educational and cultural exchange project from the US. It was built by students at Sgt W. H. Carney Academy Elementary in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Students and participants involved in the project are seeking assistance to recover the boat if it is safe and possible to do so. The students would also like to see any pictures and videos that are possible so they can learn more about where the boat landed. To the right is a picture of the boat before it was launched for reference.

    If the boat can be recovered we suggest that it be brought to a nearby school or science center, so the learning can continue. The goal is to get the boat across the Atlantic. We invite you to read above for the full story.

    Please contact Educational Passages for more information and if you know anyone that can assist in a recovery to avoid damage to the vessel. We will advise and assist with next steps after recovery is confirmed.

    It is an uncrewed vessel, like a message in a bottle. Thank you!

  • July 28, 2022 - Recovered by Ethan

    We noticed on Google Maps that there was a boat tour company on a nearby island, so we reached out to them. Sue at Sober Island Boat Tours put us in touch with a fisher named Matthew Spears.

    Matthew went out multiple times searching for the boat, but the boat had refloated with the tide causing some delayed communications! Here is what he saw when he went out the first time on July 8:

    Eventually, Ethan Snow was able to recover the boat on July 28 from Harbour Bald Island. It looks to be in good shape, especially for being on the rocks for so long.

    Thanks to all who helped get the boat recovered. Check back soon for next steps!

The “US-Azores Miniboat Project: Connecting Communities Across the Atlantic” is a cultural exchange between the US and Azores, Portugal, that engages young students and their communities in learning about the connections to the ocean through building, launching, and tracking of uncrewed, GPS equipped miniature sailboats (“miniboats”).

Funded by the US Embassy in Lisbon in 2020, Sgt W. H. Carney Academy Elementary (New Bedford, Massachusetts, US) and Escola Básica António José de Ávila (Horta, Faial, Azores, Portugal) have been building their own miniboats while getting to know each other virtually. The project is led by partners New Bedford Whaling Museum in the US and Observatório do Mar dos Açores (OMA) in Faial, Educational Passages and the College of Exploration.

Sgt W. H. Carney Academy Elementary would like to thank the following people for their participation and engagement in the program: Cassie Stymiest from Educational Passages; Tina Bishop from College of Exploration; Robert Rocha from the New Bedford Whaling Museum; Dr. Timothy Walker from U.Mass-Dartmouth; Pat Kavanaugh owner of the fishing vessel Mary K; Kathryn Hammond from the United States Consulate in São Miguel; Joseph Ribeiro and John Santos for helping us secure transport and a launch vessel for our minboat.