1st Voyage

  • December 2016 - Launched from the Gulf of Maine

    Taken from an article in the Portland Press Herald in Dec 2016: “We’re hoping it goes to Ireland,” said Ellis, an 18-year-old student in the Kennebunk High School Alternative Education program. Ellis and his six classmates have teamed up with the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust and The Landing School to construct a 5-foot self-steering boat that is powered solely by winds and currents. The boat – named “The Little Boat That Could” – is equipped with sensors and a camera and is capable of sailing thousands of miles. …

    Students in the alternative education program take classes for the first couple of hours each day, then spend the rest of the school day in the community working on projects and learning about career opportunities. There are seven students in the program, which launched in 2012 to serve kids who weren’t finding success in traditional classrooms.

    The choice of decoration was inspired by vintage suitcases covered with travel stickers. Before they turn over the boat to Educational Passages, the students will fill the hull with Maine-themed items, including a written history of Kennebunk and photos of iconic Maine scenes.’

    The boat was launched near Georges Bank by a fishing vessel from the Portland Fish Exchange on Dec 29th, 2016. We were surprised the boat was underway that day with a strong northeaster affecting most of the mainland. Nevertheless, her adventure is underway.

  • June 2017 - Recovered in the Western Isles of Scotland

    On the last day of school, there was expressions of great joy when an email came in from Scotland:

    “Good afternoon
    I have attached photographs of a washed up object that has your contact details on it. It washed up in Balivanich, Isle of Benbecula, Western Isles, Scotland at 57° 28.2’N 007° 22.4’W.  HM Coastguard has recovered the unit today and is storing it in a local station pending a response from yourself as the presumed owner. I would be grateful if you could let us know what you wish to do with the unit and, if possible, details of where it was released from and when along with its purpose. Kind Regards, Stornoway Coastguard Operations Centre,HM Coastguard Battery Point Stornoway HS1 2RT United Kingdom, (+44)01851 702013zone35@hmcg.gov.uk “
    It was actually John and Angelica Dawson who first came across the boat while walking on the beach with their dog and notified Billy Sloan with the local police.

    After being recovered by the Scottish Coast Guard, the LilBoatThatCould was picked up by Marri Morrison, a primary school teacher from the nearby island of North Uist. Marri has been involved with the rescue and repair of West, another miniboat that landed in Scotland in 2016 but that is another story documented here. Marri is the aunt of Ru Morrison, one the leads of the US Integrated Ocean Observing Systems. Ru happened to be headed to his homeland for summer vacation and naturally got involved with the refurbishment of the LilBoatThatCould bringing it a new transmitter and sail.
  • October 2017 - A summer spent in Scotland

    The LilBoatThatCould spent the summer of 2017 at a local museum in North Uist, Scotland. Just this month, our friend Marri Morrison brought the boat to a primary school on Benbecula (an island between North and South Uist). Excitement and interest is growing and soon the students from Kennebunk, ME will be able to connect with students in Scotland and explore the data they collected. Stay tuned!

  • November 2017 - Skype across the pond

    KHS students in Maine Skyped with Balivanich Primary students in Scotland on November 30.

You can follow the twitter accounts at:
You can see various press releases by clicking on the following links:
There is also more information about those involved at: