Morristown Beard School (NJ)
1st Voyage - Completed
This is the 10th miniboat for Morristown Beard! The first MBS boat — Crimson Tide – was launched in December of 2012 and was recovered by a fisherman in Guernsey, an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. It was later re-launched and washed ashore in France. Other MBS boats have traveled to Spain, Florida, the Shetland Islands, and the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.
To mark this special anniversary, the 2021-2022 boat, Crimson Current, was launched in a new location in the North Atlantic Drift, a current that is an extension of the Gulf Stream. Read more on the Morristown Beard’s website.
10 years and 10 Miniboats at Morristown Beard School
Since 2012, Morristown Beard School in New Jersey has launched 10 miniboats with the Educational Passages Miniboat Program. To hear more about the program, and the latest on the 10th miniboat’s whereabouts, check out the podcast below:
Check out other episodes of the Educational Passages podcast here.
December 2021 - Media Report
We have finally voted on the boat name and boat design. We have some good ones that represent our school and an ocean theme. First, the name of the boat is CRIMSON CURRENT. We have been studying all about ocean currents and can’t wait to see our little boat drift the ocean currents and hopefully get to another continent. Because we are a geography class we voted to have an image of a globe painted on to the deck along with points of the compass. In addition, we plan to have everyone in the class sign the boat with markers, which is a cool idea. The school seal is going on the sail along with the boat name. Finally, we decided on a wave theme to go along with the Crimson Current name.
Taking pictures and taking notes of the different crews is fun. Some of the crews have been working in the hall, middle school common room or outside. So far we have documented a fair amount of the boat’s progress.
Here is what has been happening –
Not many students signed up for the sail crew, but those who are on it have made great progress. Early in their work they spent time looking into the kinds of markers to use on the sail-ones that will hold up under lots of sun and ocean spray. They worked hard to trace the school’s seal onto the sail and it looks pretty good. They borrowed stencils from the art teacher so that they could trace the name of the boat onto the sail. When we get back from vacation, the crew plans to use the markers to color the sail.
This crew seems to be having a lot of fun thinking about what to include in the cargo hold. They have measured the cargo space to see how much stuff we can fit before placing the lid on it. The crew has made a list and has had all of the other crews add to the list. With each item listed, they have begun to add the names of people who will buy or donate the item. We have a big list posted in the classroom to keep track of all the items. Some of the things listed include: a dollar bill, an MBS t-shirt, a map of New Jersey, a mini football, sand from the Jersey shore, and literature on the school. One other big thing will be our pen pal letter and the winning videos from our video contest.
The deck crew is a popular crew because it seems that they get to do lots of the drawing and painting. They worked on first making a template of the deck on butcher paper and added the winning designs. They also have been researching the kind of paints and markers that can be used. We want the colors to be able to hold up with the salt water and sun so that when the boat lands people can see our designs. The crew sanded the deck and used pencils to draw the designs. They put a compass around the mast area, a globe-with continents, and left space in the stern for everyone to sign their name. The name of the boat, CRIMSON CURRENT, was stenciled on each side of the boat and included lots of waves. It should look cool when they start to paint it.
HULL AND KEEL CREW
This crew is pretty small. Mrs. Swanson described it as a crew that would work with smelly materials and paint. Maybe that is why fewer people signed up for it. We could see that the crew started by using a scale to measure the weight of the keel and they have been working outside to fill the keel with sand and resin. They definitely had to work with smelly, goopy liquid! The crew measured and mixed the sand and resin that they put into the keel. The keel was filled to the top and the crew started to paint the keel with the paint that keeps the barnacles from attaching to the boat. They are going to start painting the bottom of the boat next week.
The Launch crew is responsible for deciding where CRIMSON CURRENT will be launched. They have been looking at all of the boat launches from other schools on their iPads. They have also been using a website that shows all of the currents around the world. After interviewing the crew, we have determined that they would like to choose a location to launch other than the Gulf Stream. The school has used the Gulf Stream for all of the past boats and CRIMSON CURRENT is the school’s 10th boat, so they want to do something different. The group is looking at two different locations to launch- off the coast of Kenya and off the coast of Ireland. Everyone seems to want the boat to get to land this year but we may not have the money to send the boat to Africa. The group was talking about ways to contact people in Africa to help get the boat into the current heading to Asia. We have a possible contact in Ireland, so that might be a good way to go. Mrs. Swanson told the crew to not to worry about the cost just yet.
March - April, 2022 - Deployment Plans
The Crimson Current will be launched from the M/V Independent Horizon of the Independent Container Line (who launched the HVES Cruiser in November 2021). The students reviewed their transit schedule beforehand and recommended 3 launch sites to the crew:
On March 30, 2022, Ms. Swanson brought the miniboat to the docks in Chester, PA and handed it off to the crew of the M/V Independent Horizon (see pictures below). We’d all like to thank Jan Roels and Sean Clancy of the Independent Container Line, Edward Moriarty, and Andrew Parish for helping to arrange this incredible opportunity!
After talking with the Captain, it was decided that they would launch the miniboat after the ship leaves Cork, Ireland on its transit back to the US.
April 23, 2022 - Launched off the M/V Independent Horizon
June 28 to July 5, 2022 - Landed and recovered in Ireland
By the middle of June, the Crimson Current started approaching Ireland and by June 28 had landed in Barry’s Cove Bay Beach in Donaghmore, Co. Cork. The students back in New Jersey were notified by their teacher, Ms. Swanson through Google Classroom.
A request for assistance was also posted here on the website, and sent out to contacts in Ireland. Here is the message:
SEEKING ASSISTANCE WITH RECOVERING UNCREWED MINIBOAT CRIMSON CURRENT FROM COASTLINE IN CORK, IRELAND
UNCREWED 1.5m long sailboat (MINIBOAT) ashore at Barry’s Cove Bay Beach, Donaghmore, County Cork, Ireland (51.589501857758, -8.7890517711639 – see map above and zoom in for latest location report) after 66 days and 5,110 km voyage . Please rescue if possible to do so safely, and take pictures/video if you can. To the right is a picture of the boat before it was launched for reference.
This is an educational project from the US, built by Morristown Beard School students in New Jersey. We invite you to read above for the full story.
The students would like to see their boat brought to a nearby school so they can meet and learn about Ireland, so please contact Educational Passages for more information and if you know anyone that can assist in a recovery to avoid damage to the vessel. It is an uncrewed vessel, like a message in a bottle. Thank you!
July 5, 2022
The GPS reported until June 30, but then went quiet and we didn’t know why. We called upon some friends to help us out, and Rory Jackson came to the rescue! He contacted some of his friends, and one of them, Billy McCarthy, went out in a kayak from his fishing vessel Girl Katie, into a cave that he thought Crimson Current was stuck in. Billy was right! He successfully recovered the miniboat, and now we know why the GPS had stopped reporting.
It also turns out that the miniboat had been spotted at sea last week by Billy’s son, but he didn’t know what it was until after it was recovered. Someone else said they also recalled seeing the miniboat floating in Barry’s Cove at one point, which must have been before it found its way into the cave on a tide.
We are so grateful to Rory, Billy, and all of the folks who put effort into recovering the Morristown Beard School’s 10th miniboat.
Later that day on July 5, we received an email from Katie McCarthy, who said: “Hello 6th graders of Moristown-beard school! We found your boat!!! My name is Katie McCarthy, my father Billy McCarthy found your boat in Barryscove, Ireland. We had a great time opening your boat as you can see in the video below! Thank you so much for all the lovely treats and letters and photos of ye all! We cannot wait to give the boat to the local 11-13 year olds in Barryroe National School. Thank you again! Ye made our day! Below are videos and photos of us opening the boat and where the boat was found!”
Next the boat will be brought to Barryroe National and other schools in Cork so they can connect with the students in New Jersey.
1st Voyage - Complete
Explore the titles above to learn more about the first voyage of the Crimson Current.
2nd Voyage - Planning in Progress
July 2022 - April 2023: Classroom Connections
Since the miniboat was recovered in Ireland thanks to Billy McCarthy and coordination from Rory Jackson, it was taken to the Barryroe National School.
By October 7, 2022, students at Barryroe National School received letters from the students at Morristown Beard School in the US that sent the boat. On their Facebook page they said:
“LETTERS FROM AMERICA!!!!!!! Last Friday 6th Class received a visit from Rory Jackson who is the founder and facilitator of the www.oceansplasticproject.ie. One of the projects he is involved with is the https://educationalpassages.org/ which uses Mini boats to educate young people. Some of the boats are built by the students and tracked all over the globe and collect data on wind and tide movements as well as connecting schools and people.
Excitingly one of these arrived in Barry’s Cove earlier this summer and has been the focus of much excitement for the New Jersey based school that built and deployed the boat. The boat was recovered by local fisherman William McCarthy and his daughter Katie, both former students of our school.
Today, the boat ‘The Crimson Current’ was brought into school for 6th Class to open to much excitement. What a treasure trove of goodies, momentos and letters the class discovered inside.
A live zoom has been arranged for next Friday with Morristown Beard School in New Jersey to discuss the contents etc. We then hope to facilitate a pen-pal initiative between the two classes going forward.
It will then be our turn to fill the boat and set it off on another journey. Rory hopes that he can arrange for container vessel ‘The Independent Horizon’ which departs from Cork Harbour to take the boat out and launch it for our school. We hope that 6th class will be able to travel to Cork to deliver the boat to this vessel. We hope to fill the ship under our 50th Anniversary Theme.”
On October 14, 2022, the students got to meet virtually over Zoom! School news from Barryroe that day said about the connection:
“What a day 6th Class had today! Taking full advantage of the fantastic boardroom facilities at Barryroe Co-op, they connected with Mrs Lisa Swanson and her 6th and 7th graders in a live zoom. Mrs Swanson’s class was responsible for setting sail the ‘Crimson Current’ boat that came ashore in Barry’s Cove recently. 6th spoke to them about life in West Cork at home and at school . They also played Amhran na bhFiann on the tin whistles, demonstrated a little hurling and taught the Morristown Beard students cupla focail! Rory from Oceansplastics and local fisherman Billie spoke to the children about their parts in the boat retrieval. It was lovely to have Billie’s daughter Katie join them today too. Thank you to parent Deirdre Noctor Griffin for her assistance in setting up the connection today.”
After the Zoom connections, students were paired up as pen pals and began writing letters to each other, comparing notes on hobbies, sports, food, school, and their daily life.
Pictured above are students at Morristown Beard in the US (left) and students at Barryroe National School in Ireland (right). Both pictured with letters that were sent to each other.
The Irish students also sent a photo of the American flag flying at their school. The flag was part of the cargo that was tucked away in Crimson Current’s hull that also included an MBS baseball cap, a USA jersey, glowsticks, and essays about life in New Jersey.
November 29, 2022
The project made front page news of the Southern Star in Ireland on November 29: New friends are made as New Jersey school’s mini boat lands in Barryroe
The school proudly shared this news article on their Facebook page, saying:Muin Sinéad and Rang a Sé appearing on the front page of the Southern Star this week with their Mini-Boat project.Thank you to Martin Walsh for his help with the article.”
Students continued to connect and learn from each other, and all plan to relaunch the Crimson Current in 2023.
March 9, 2023
Rory Jackson joined the students at Barryroe National School to talk about ocean currents, weather, and shipping. Cassie Stymiest from Educational Passages also joined via Zoom to discuss where the miniboat should (and could) be launched. It’ll be up to the students to make recommendations from here, based on transit map and other information they learned.
March 29, 2023
Barryroe National School received another set of letters from Morristown Beard before they went on holiday. Their Facebook post says, “Another round of letters from America for the boys and girls in 6th Class…”
This is the TENTH miniboat for Morristown Beard School. They launched their first back in 2012, the Crimson Tide.
To explore all 10 stories, click here and listen to our podcast episode:
2021-2022 Morristown Beard School
April 23, 2022 – Launched off M/V Independent Horizon
June 28, 2022 – Landed & Recovered in Cork, Ireland