“The naming of our boat PHILBERT came after the class learned about a man in our community. I told the class about Phil, a man I knew from the Thanksgiving House. He made a big impression on me when I volunteered there. He loved sailboats. He drew them and made models, and told me many stories. Phil loved kids and supported students in our area who had special needs. He passed away last year. I thought naming our boat after him would be a special tribute, and the class agreed!”
Building the PHILBERT
January 21, 2020 - CRMM Miniboat Student Summit
March 6, 2020: Launched
The Philbert was launched off the Coast Guard STEADFAST on March 6, 2020 along with the Boat-a-Lahti. You can see the pair on the deck of the ship as they were preparing for deployment (pictured right) and at sea during sunset (pictured below).
By March 23, Philbert had already sailed 880 nautical miles in 17 days.
April 23, 2020 - Coast Guard launch crew returns to port
The crew of the USCG Steadfast returned back to port after after 65-day counternarcotic patrol [For Press Release, click here]. On March 6, they launched the Boat a Lahti and Philbert miniboats. More pictures and videos to be posted soon!
August 7 - Philbert has sailed over 5,000 nm
March 17, 2021 - Recovered in the Marshall Islands
The GPS unit started sending intermittent reports in February, and last reported on March 3, 2021. But then, on March 17, the miniboat Philbert sent a new message from Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands! She appears to have been recovered.
We can’t wait to see pictures and hear more about its landing and the people who found it.
June 8, 2021 - Induction into the Domain of the Golden Dragon
June 15, 2021 - Update from Captain Mark Sterns
September 29, 2021 - Pictures of PHILBERT from Mili Atoll
On October 29, the students from Columbia City who built PHILBERT, now as 8th graders, gathered to prepare a special thank you for the students on Mili Atoll:
September 2023: Update from Commodore Mark and Angela Stearns, S/V Uno Mas
SV Philbert landed in Mili Atoll, RMI in March, 2021. This is the second Columbia River Maritime Museum miniboat that Commodore Mark and Angela Stearns, of the Mieco Beach Yacht Club, onboard sailing vessel, Uno Mas, have assisted in recovering and relaunching this year.
SV Philbert was built by 5th graders from Columbia City Elementary School located in Columbia City, Oregon, in partnership with CRMM and Educational Passages. The Miniboat Program is geared towards children designing and building almost 5 foot long sailboats, learning boat building skills along with ocean current, wind and wave and navigation. The goal is for this US based miniboat to reach Japan’s shore. Likewise, Japan has a similar program, launching miniboats built by school kids with the hopes of reaching the shores of the US. Thus, connecting school children around the world.
SV Philbert has had quite the journey. It was first launched March 6, 2020 from a USCG ship, STEADFAST, while patrolling approximately 200 miles off the coast of Baja, Mexico. After 376 days at sea, and 9,744 nautical miles, SV Philbert reached Mili Atoll by following the ocean’s currents, wind and waves. On March 18, 2021, SV Philbert’s GPS tracking device alerted Cassie Stymiest, Executive Director of Educational Passages who subsequently notified then CRMM Education Director, Nate Sandel that Philbert had stopped moving and had landed on shore.
Nate next contacted us and we were surprised to learn of this second miniboat landing while we were waiting out Covid in RMI. We already were working with MIMA and MOCIA and Honorable Mayor Ankit Typhoon to relaunch miniboat SV Liberty, which had landed in Ailuk Atoll, in November, 2020. We wrote an article for the journal in June about SV Liberty’s journey, and now we are fortunate to write about SV Philbert.
Mili’s Honorable Mayor Joel Jitiam, in June, 2021 acquired photos of Philbert, along with children of Lukunor. The photos were sent to the miniboat program to show that Philbert was safe and sound.
We were able to sail our boat to Mili Atoll in August of this year, over 2 years later. Since it has been awhile, we were uncertain if we would be able to find SV Philbert and be able to recommission it.
Councilman Carlson and his family helped with our endeavors as well. His family members were also part of the original children pictured.
We had the great fortune of meeting Joseph Daniel while at Lukunor Island. Many of the children in the original photo were his relatives as well. Since school is not in session during the summer, we presented a plaque to Joseph and his family, as a Thank you gift from the kids in Oregon. We were hoping to get current photos of the Lukunor children from the original picture, to send back to Oregon, to provide closure for Philbert’s journey. While organizing the picture taking, we found out that SV Philbert was on the next island! What an unexpected and great opportunity to have the kids’ picture taken with Philbert. We didn’t know if Philbert was able to be relaunched, but we could at least send updated pictures.
Joseph Daniel along with family members escorted us to Philbert’s location. We were surprised it was in such great shape. Besides the photos, which were our original intention, we were able to bring Philbert onto Uno Mas and prepare it to be relaunched, continuing its journey, with the hopes of still reaching Japan.
Uno Mas brought Philbert back to Majuro to provide further repairs, since we needed more supplies that were here and also sent from Educational Passages.
Philbert is now ready to go back to sea and will be relaunched this week on our journey to another atoll.
SV Liberty stopped tracking near PNG, but hopefully, both SV Liberty and SV Philbert will be carried by the wind, waves and currents to new places.
Please check out the Educational Passages website, www.educationalpassages.org/
atsea. ; You can track the miniboats on the website and also donate to this amazing education program. Please help SV Liberty and SV Philbert continue their journey!
Words cannot describe how thankful we are for the assistance from Honorable Mayor Joel Jitiam, the family of Joseph Daniel, Councilman Carlson, MIMA and MoCIA for making this possible.
Kommol Tata, with our greatest sincerity,
Commodore Mark and Angela Stearns
September 14, 2023: Miniboat PHILBERT is Relaunched!
We received a text from the S/V Uno Mas’ satellite phone that PHILBERT was relaunched:
SV Philbert has been relaunched at 1448, Sept 15, RMI time at N 10.12.591, E 168.10.105.
Pictures and more details about the relaunch will be posted when the S/V Uno Mas crew have internet access again. For now we can all track the boat at the map above, and catch up on this incredible story that is now going to continue thanks to the Mark and Angela, and the people we have connected with in the Marshall Islands. Thanks to all!
September 16, 2023
After only two days at sea, Philbert found its way to Watho Atoll. It appears to have beached itself on Erotjeman Island, a pretty remote location.
Miniboat PHILBERT was originally part of the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Miniboat Program. It was built during the 2019-2020 school year by students at Columbia City, with support from CRMM. It landed and was recovered in the Marshall Islands in 2021. Students exchanged messages and made connections, and in 2023 Commodore Mark and Angela Stearns of the S/V Uno Mas lead the task of recovering, repairing, and relaunching PHILBERT. We invite you to explore the full story here, and track with us.
Sponsorship for this miniboat is currently available, and donations are welcome and very appreciated. All donations will directly help inspire students, support educators, collect valuable data for ocean science, and connect communities around the world.
Educational Passages is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit.