1st Voyage: 2012-2014

  • Fall 2012 - Preparations

  • December 2012 - Launched off South Carolina

    The Crimson Tide was launched off South Carolina along with a few other miniboats, watch the video below! Thanks to Joe Robillard and his crew of FIRST LIGHT for setting the boat to sea on December 2.

    The students were determined that their boat be the first boat in this group to reach Europe.

  • February 2014 - Recovered in France

    On the morning of 16 February 2014, it was discovered by fisherman Paris Broe-Bougourd in a 22′ foot boat off the coast of St Peter Port, Guernsey and brought to shore. The story started to appear in the British press at the Sustainable Guernsey and Daily Mail. Crimson Tide came through enormous seas. Weather buoys in the English Channel recorded a 75 foot wave off Cornwall earlier that month!

    Paris Broe-Bougourd found the damaged unmanned vessel while fishing off the coast of Guernsey

    Thanks to Gail Hennessey, Inc who posted the following on Facebook February 23, 2014 to help extend the learning for the Crimson Tide:

    Extension Activities:
    * After reading this news short, pretend you are the Crimson Tide. Tell about a day during your travels. What did you see? Hear? Feel? as you bobbed in the Atlantic Ocean?

    *Read about the island of Guernsey. http://www.visitguernsey.com/about-guernsey Draw a travel poster for the island including 5 facts learned about Guernsey.

    * Learn about the English Channel: http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/englishchannel.htm Use the map and do some measurements learning about distances between several cities.

    * Draw a picture of a boat. What would be 7 items you’d place in a boat that might go across the ocean to a distance shore? What would you want the person who found the boat to learn about you and your culture?

  • June 3, 2014 - Skyping across the Atlantic

    While MBS students had been using the GPS-equipped boat to help them study the winds and tides, a significant aspect of the project hinged on the hope that the students could connect with their peers across the globe when the boat reached a foreign shore.

    On June 3rd, that hope became a reality as MBS 6th Graders gathered in Lisa Swanson’s classroom to speak to students from St. Martin’s School in Guernsey via Skype.  A loud cheer erupted as the session began, and the students saw their counterparts more than 3,000 miles away.

    Ellen Greer, a teacher at St. Martin’s School, contacted MBS after reading about the boat’s journey in The Guernsey Press.  St. Martin’s School also happens to be the alma mater of Paris Broe-Bougourd, the fisherman who recovered the boat in the English Channel.

    The MBS students have been studying the island of Guernsey since Broe-Bougourd found the boat there in February, and they shared some of the tidbits of information they researched on topics ranging from cuisine and climate to architecture and government.  Some of their information even surprised the Guernsey students—including the fact that Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables, had a house on the island.

    The students compared notes on the most popular sports where they live (football, swimming, cricket, rugby, and rounders for Guernsey), as well as their favorite books (The Twilight saga, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and  Harry Potter were mutual hits).  For better or worse, Minecraft also seems to be a universal favorite!

    The Guernsey students also shared their views on the pros and cons of living on the island.  Their favorite things included the beaches and the shopping, while they didn’t care for the traffic, the weather, and the overcrowding.

    The students also discovered that the way they get to school each day is extremely different; Guernsey students typically walk or ride their bike, while MBS students come by bus or car.

    “It was a really exciting experience for our students to connect with the kids from St. Martin’s School,” said Lisa Swanson, who is arranging two more Skype sessions later this week, and plans to continue the conversation next year as well.  “Our students are discovering how living on an island in the English Channel affects the way people live there.”

    As for the Crimson Tide, the boat’s journey isn’t over yet.  Plans are in the works to repair and re-launch the sailboat in the near future.

  • Voyage 1: Complete

    Explore the titles above to learn more about the first voyage of the Crimson Tide.

2nd Voyage: 2015

  • January 9, 2015 - Repairs made

    Nearly a year after it was recovered by a fisherman off the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, Morristown-Beard School’s 6th Grade Sailboat — The Crimson Tide — has been repaired and is ready to be re-launched from a cargo ship off the west coast of France.

    Paris Broe-Bougourd, the fisherman who discovered the boat last February, has cleaned and painted the boat, and equipped it with a new sail.  The boat’s GPS unit is still on board and continues to function.

    The Crimson Tide is now ready to be re-launched from the cargo vessel Clarity, which is carrying scrap metal to Spain.

    “They are planning to put it in the sea just before the point of Portugal,” said Kathy Broe-Bougourd, Paris’ mother.  “Wouldn’t it be lovely if the little boat found its way home!”

    You can read more about The Crimson Tide in an article from the BBC News here.

  • January 10 through 18, 2015 - Sailing the Bay of Biscay

    The BBC News article reported that “Iain Phillips, agency manager for Alderney Shipping, said the crew of the cargo vessel Clarity – carrying scrap metal from the island to Ferrol, in Spain – agreed to launch it once the ship was in the Bay of Biscay, off the west coast of France”.

    An article about this voyage was published on the Morristown Beard School’s webpage on January 23, 2015:

    Less than two weeks after being re-launched, the Crimson Tide, has landed again… this time in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France!

    The boat was recently repaired by Paris Broe-Bougourd, the fisherman from Guernsey who discovered the boat in the English Channel last February.  On January 9thCrimson Tide was re-launched from the cargo vessel Clarity near the west coast of France.

    According to the boat’s GPS, it has been taken to a shipyard/marina in Les Sables-d’Olonne, a seaside town in western France.  Although nobody has contacted Morristown-Beard School yet, the MBS Community is optimistic — especially since Middle School French Teacher Soni Dougherty has a close friend who lives in Les Sables-d’Olonne.

    “We are hoping that her friend might be able to help us locate the boat and help us make a connection to a French middle school there,” said Middle School Geography teacher Lisa Swanson.

  • February 2015 - Visit to ecole Notre Dame de Bourgenay

    The Crimson Tide landed in a seaside resort town, Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, where it was taken to a private elementary school, ecole Notre Dame de Bourgenay.

    “The students there are a bit younger than we are,” said MBS Middle School French Teacher Soni Dougherty.  “We received the first set of letters before spring break from students whose ages range from 6 to 11.  The 5th graders wrote to us in English; we will be writing back in French.  We’re very excited about it, and our 6th graders are already drafting their letters.”

    In their letters, the French students wrote about their hobbies, life at their school, their favorite subjects, sports, and musical groups.

    As one student wrote, “The name of our school is Notre Dame de Bourgenay.  It’s a small and old school (it’s 104 years old!) and there are 75 pupils.  In our class, there are 15 girls and 11 boys.  We study French, geography, English, math, history, science, sports, religion, and art.  Do you know The Vendee Globe?  It’s a boat race.  They sail around the world from Les Sables d’Olonne and back.  Bye.  We hope you will send us a letter!”

    The five-foot unmanned sailboat was originally launched as part of the “Educational Passages” program on December 1, 2012 off the coast of South Carolina.  The project has been an exciting way for students to learn about a range of subjects including oceanography, weather, geography, as well as map reading and navigation.

    A significant aspect of the project also hinges on the hope that MBS students will connect with their peers across the globe when the boat reaches a foreign shore.  Last spring, MBS 6th graders were able to Skype with their peers from St. Martin’s School in Guernsey.

    Hopefully, Morristown-Beard students will be able to Skype with students from ecole Notre Dame de Bourgenay in the near future as well!

    This update was originally published on the Morristown Beard School’s webpage on March 25, 2015.

  • Voyage 2: Complete

    Explore the titles above to learn more about the second voyage of the Crimson Tide.

3rd Voyage: 2015

  • April 10, 2015 - A six mile voyage

    The miniboat was relaunched from the shore in April. She floated along the shoreline for 6 miles or so.

  • Voyage 3: Complete

    Explore the titles above to learn more about the third voyage of the Crimson Tide.

4th Voyage: 2023

  • April 2017 - Update from France

    “It was brought to us on Friday, April 14th, 2017 by a man who found it stranded on a beach not far from our town,” writes Antoine Noel, who works at the school. “He decided to take it to us because our vocational training school prepares diplomas in the field of boat maintenance. This gave us the opportunity to find out about your project and to work with our pupils (aged 15-18) on geography and English language.”

    As for the future of The Crimson Tide, Mr. Noel has suggested several options. “If your priority is to put the boat back at sea, we suggest taking advantage of a sailing race in Les Sables d’Olonne due to start on November 5th, 2017 to ask a skipper to take Crimson Tide and let it go somewhere around the archipelago of the Azores,” he said.

    “Another possibility is linked to our countries’ history,” he continued. “2017 is a great year of celebration in France and particularly in our area since it is the 100th anniversary of the landing of American troops during World War I. Many celebrations will take place to commemorate the landings and to renew the centuries-long Franco-American friendship. A ‘Centennial Transat’ will take place in which the fastest sailing boats in the world defy the prestigious Queen Mary 2 on the way back from the 1917 American landings. We suggest we put Crimson Tide on the Queen Mary 2 so that it goes back home safely during the celebrations, and you can use it for another crossing.”

  • January 2019 - Repaired in France and brought back to the US

    Crimson Tide is on her way back home to NJ

    The day after Morristown Beard’s boat #7, the Navis Stellarum, went into the water, they got some crazy news out of the blue. Lisa Swanson, MB’s miniboat lead teacher sent us this note: “Our first boat, Crimson Tide, landed in Guernsey 7 years ago, landed in France after a relaunch (twice). About 18 months ago, the vo-tech school that fixed her up had hoped to put her aboard the QE2, but for security reasons that did not happen. Well, apparently the school just put her aboard a catamaran heading to a Fort Lauderdale boat show. We just got word from the boat skipper that he has our boat in Fort Lauderdale and is looking to pass it back to us. We are looking into finding someone to get the boat. What is pretty cool about this little boat is that the kids who worked on her were my former 6th grade students. They are now 12th graders ready to graduate. We would love to the boat back on campus before they head to college. I have lots of pictures of them working on the boat when they were 11 and 12 yrs, old.”

    At the end of January, Captain Wes Abell and Joe Robillard, two of Educational Passages’ most dedicated miniboat heros, arranged to have the Crimson Tide brought back to Maryland. They will bring it to Morristown Beard School very soon. Students at Eric Tabarly High School in Olonne Sur Mer took amazing care of the Crimson Tide before sending it back to the states.

    They included a letter to the students of Morristown Beard with the newly painted boat:

    And even included a group photo:

    How interesting it is that Eric Tabarly, the school’s namesake, was himself one of the greatest sailors and heroes. Joe said in his email, “It all seems so appropriate that it would be this school. I hope the Seniors (and the whole school) get a big kick out of this.  It’s an amazing and unlikely story.  It’s a story of adventure, hope, improbability, kindness, generosity, and international friendship.  It’s a big World…but it’s not too big…
  • May 8, 2019 - Return to Morristown Beard

    The Crimson Tide miniboat has returned home to Morristown-Beard School, where the MBS 6th Grade students that built her are now seniors, just a month away from graduation.

    The MBS seniors who built and launched the Crimson Tide when they were in 6th Grade

    “We are so excited to have this project come full circle and have the boat back on campus just in time for Commencement,” said Middle School Geography teacher Lisa Swanson, who helped to coordinate the project. “Our students’ enthusiasm for The Crimson Tide was infectious from the very first days of the project, and we have launched a 6th Grade sailboat every year since.”

    To read the full article, click here.

    The boat remains on display at the school as a daily reminder to the connections it has made.

  • Upgrades 2022-2023 and Relaunched June 25, 2023

    Since 2019, the Crimson Tide remained on display at Morristown Beard School. As 2022 approached, ideas for celebrating TEN years of the miniboat program at the school began circulating.

    And then as the school’s 10th miniboat had landed in Ireland in July 2022, the students discussed whether or not to build a new boat, or relaunch their first during the 2022-2023 school year.

    Ms. Swanson reached out to Educational Passages and asked about the possibility. It turns out that EP had designed an upgrade kit that would allow a new cargo hold to be installed in the older style boat (Crimson Tide being one of the first miniboats ever launched, and therefore had a small cargo hold).

    The students, while collaborating with their new friends in Ireland who were learning about Crimson Current (CLICK HERE TO EXPLORE ALL OF THEIR CONNECTIONS!) and preparing that boat for a relaunch, began to upgrade the Crimson Tide for a new voyage.

    On May 23, Ms. Swanson delivered it to the Port of Chester where it went aboard the ICL’s M/V Independent Horizon container ship.


    The ICL and Captain of ship are amazing! They agreed to take the boat, pick up Crimson Current from the Port of Cork, and relaunch the boats together later in June.

    June 10, 2023

    Students from Barryroe National School delivered the Crimson Current to the Port of Cork, to be joined on the M/V Independent Horizon with Crimson Tide (which was on the ship already). They got to meet the Captain Bebenek and Chief Officer Naumowicz Jaroslaw and talk about where the boats would be launched.

    The event was highlighted in the Echo on June 14, Mini-boat project is ‘an ocean of educational opportunities’:

    And will be featured by Tom MacSweeney in the July edition of the Maritime Ireland podcast.

  • June 25, 2023: Relaunched into the Gulf Stream

    June 25, 2023 – Crimson Tide is launched on its FOURTH adventure!

    Crimson Tide is the 1st miniboat from Morristown Beard School and was first launched in December 2012. After a trip across the Atlantic to France, the boat was redecorated and shipped back to the US in time for graduation (read above to learn more). In 2022, when the school’s 10th miniboat, Crimson Current, landed in Ireland, the students back at MBS thought to refurb and upgrade the Crimson Tide and try to launch the boats together. The Crimson Tide boarded the M/V Independent Horizon in the US, and was joined by the Crimson Current in Cork, Ireland.

    The boats remained on the ship during their port stops, until they departed Wilmington, NC at the end of June. The two miniboats were released together on June 25, 2023 thanks to Captain Bebeneck and crew. The note was as follows (and videos will be sent later):

    Please note that two boats were launched in position 36-56.7N, 072-17.5W on 25th of June 2023 at 0018 UTC.
    Weather conditions:
    Wind: SW4-5B
    Sea: 3B
  • July 1, 2023 - Recovered in Nantucket, MA

    After only SIX days at sea, the Crimson Tide was picked up at sea on July 1 by Captain Len Greiner on The Magellan (Magellan Deep Sea Fishing Charters) out of  Saquatucket Harbor.

    We are working to reunite the boat with Crimson Current, which was picked up at sea shortly before Crimson Tide by another fishing boat!

    July 6, 2023 – Morristown Beard educator Sara Alders happened to be vacationing on Cape Cod when the Crimson Tide was recovered. So on July 6, Sara and her family decided to visit the little boat at the docks.

    July 7, 2023 – Tom MacSweeney’s Maritime Ireland Radio Show July episode was published. Tom was at the Port of Cork dropoff last month to talk with all the participants in Ireland. Thanks, Tom!

  • 2024 Repairs and Relaunch

    In 2024, Lisa Swanson, who has lead the miniboat programs at Morristown Beard since then, took a sabbatical to explore the places that miniboats have gone, and help give back to her students and Educational Passages. Check out more about the first adventure, and plans for more in the latest podcast:

5th Voyage

  • March 2024 - Relaunch and Visit to Ireland

    March 9, 2024

    The Crimson Tide was relaunched with the Crimson Current in the early morning of March 9, 2024 south of Nantucket.

    That same day, Lisa Swanson was on her way to visit Ireland, joining Educational Passages Executive Director Cassie Stymiest and Educational Studies Intern, Juliet Fluty. The visit to Ireland was inspired and driven by the Mini Maine miniboat, which is connecting students between Maine and Co. Kerry, Ireland. Lisa came along and a trip to Cork was added to the itinerary! To learn more about the trip, check out this blog post: Miniboat Magic in Ireland – Educational Passages

    Morristown Beard School also posted a blog entry about the visit: Lisa Swanson Updates MBS Middle School on Mini-Boat Program from Ireland

    The visit to Barryroe National School was a resounding success:

    And the connection was recorded so that it could be relived and rewatched for years to come:

This is the 1st miniboat launched by Morristown Beard School in New Jersey. In 2023 and again in 2024, it was relaunched with their 10th boat, the Crimson Current. To explore all 10 stories, click here and listen to our special podcast episode: 10 Years and 10 Miniboats from Morristown Beard School.

“A significant aspect of the project hinges on the hope that students can connect with their peers across the globe when the boat reaches a foreign shore. When The Crimson Tide was retrieved off the coast of Guernsey, for example, it set up exciting new learning opportunities as MBS students connected with students there via skype. Middle School French students also began an ongoing penpal adventure with students from France after The Crimson Tide landed in Les Sables-d’Olonne.” – Morristown Beard School

2012: Students at Morristown Beard School in New Jersey, USA

2015: With students in at Eric Tabarly High School in Olonne Sur Mer, France

2019: Return to Morristown Beard for original students’ (6th graders in 2012) graduation

2023: Ready for another adventure!

2024: Relaunched!