1st Voyage

For the USS Constitution Museum’s second miniboat project, we partnered with the Donald McKay school, a public school in East Boston. The miniboats Hope and Special were made by third graders in Ms. Feeny and Ms. Rosen’s class over the winter of 2022.

  • November 2022: Ship Design Challenge at the Museum

    The class visited the Museum for a field trip to kick off the project. Students did our ‘Ship Design Challenge’ program and learned the parts of a ship by touring USS Constitution and building their own sailboats out of household materials, then racing them in our water tank.

    And fun fact! The Donald McKay school is named for a famous tall-ship builder who had his shipyard right in east Boston. His most famous clipper was The Flying Cloud, which set the speed record for sailing from New York to San Francisco in 1854.

  • February - March 2022: Boats are Prepared

    Over six weeks, students assembled and decorated the boats in their classroom alongside educators from the Museum. They filled and attached the keel, sanded and painted, and designed the deck and sails. Throughout, they had mini-lessons on the connections to USS Constitution.

    Filling The Keel

    Attaching the Keel

    Painting the Boats

    Sail Design

  • March 17, 2022: Naming the Boats

    Each student submitted a name for the boats and the class voted. Hope easily won, but Special was in a tie with the name Billie Eilish. In a tie-breaker vote, Special prevailed.

  • March 22, 2022: Ceremonial Launch

    US Navy tradition dictates a ceremony when a new ship is christened and launched. We did our own version at the dock by USS Constitution. Each student shared a wish they had for our boats, and then we did an apple cider champagne toast and a loud and spirited “Huzzah!” as the boats were dropped into Boston Harbor. The commander of Constitution stopped by and gave us special captain’s coins to put in our boats for good luck.

  • March 24, 2022: Holds Sealed

    Museum staff sealed the holds that were filled with items from the Museum, the USS Constitution, and the McKay School.

  • March 25, 2022: Boats are Shipped to Florida

    The first part of the boats’ journey was over land, not at sea. They were packed in crates and shipped to Key West, FL. There, they were brought on board the tall ship Corwith Cramer to be launched by the Sea Education Association (SEA) as they sail from Key West FL to Wood’s Hole, MA.

  • April 11, 2022 - Launched off Florida

    The Sea Education Association SEA Class C-303, Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, took miniboats Hope and Special aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer and launched them into the Gulf Stream on April 11. Here’s the report from Sarah Kingston, Chief Scientist:

    “We launched them (amidst student song!) at 15:00. Here are a couple shots, the coordinates, and will make sure I remember to send along the two videos when we return. General Locale – Gulf Stream, just north of FL straights and NE of Miami. 15:02. 27 47.612 N, 79 44.641 W”


  • April 20, 2022 - Landed on beach in Florida and recovered

    Dorine Nadeau was walking on the beach when she saw a strange object floating in the water. At first she didn’t know what it was, but as it got closer she was intrigued. She ventured into the surf and recovered the HOPE miniboat, but lost her shoes in the process! Here is a picture of Dorine with the boat she pulled out of the surf.

    She immediately called the number on the deck and then her son, Pierrot who lived nearby. Pierrot came and helped bring the boat to her house for safe keeping, while contacts and plans were made for next steps.

    Its sistership, the SPECIAL, also had a short trip off the coast of Florida. Plans are in the works to reunite the two boats again and have them relaunched further into the Gulf Stream this time.

2nd Voyage

  • September 1, 2022 - Relaunched off the coast of Florida

    Many thanks to the coordination and support of Mike Alyea, HOPE was reunited with its sistership, SPECIAL while arrangements were made to launch them back into the Atlantic.

    Here is Mike delivering the boats to Captain Jimmy:

    Thanks so much to Captain Jimmy Laidler, Legend Fishing Adventures, HOPE was relaunched into the sea on September 1, 2022! Here is the official launch info:

    HOPE relaunched at 1232 EDST on 9/1/2022 at N30 20.1 W80 17.4

    Its sistership, SPECIAL was relaunched the previous day.

  • September 4, 2022 - Landed in Jacksonville, FL

    After only 2 days and 15 hours at sea, the miniboat HOPE found its way to a beach in Jacksonville, Florida. Special thanks to David who called the number on the deck and delivered it to a nearby school for us!

    Here are some pictures from when it was found early Sunday morning:

    While we really wanted HOPE to go into the Gulf Stream and have a longer voyage, this now presents an opportunity for students at Episcopal School of Jacksonville to see what a miniboat looks like, and meet a new school in Boston, MA. They will actually be assembling their own miniboat this fall! Here are some of the students receiving the boat:

    They opened up the hatch and loved seeing the notes and pictures inside. They will add their own messages to the hold before it goes back out to sea soon. Stay tuned…

The miniboats Hope and Special are part of a partnership with the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, MA, and Donald McKay School, a public school in East Boston. They were made by third graders in Ms. Feeny and Ms. Rosen’s class over the winter of 2022.