1st Voyage

  • About Sesimbra a Bordo

    An excerpt about the program from the Municipality of Sesimbra website, “Launch of Sesimbra boat on board – Project Takes Portugal to the World”:

    The boat Sesimbra a Bordo is part of the project Take Portugal to the World – Blue School, promoted by this grouping of schools, with the support of the City Council of Sesimbra, and monitoring and guidance of the Directorate-General of the Sea, and the Instituto Superior Técnico, through the ISR Research Center – Lisbon. The aim is to promote ocean literacy by mobilizing society, in particular children and young people from different educational backgrounds, in close collaboration with various institutions linked to the sea and education.

    In practice, it is an educational project that, in addition to stimulating the work of students and teachers from various schools in the decoration, launch and monitoring of this small boat, intends to reproduce the old message on the bottle. But in this case, the message is presented in the form of content in the areas of natural sciences, geography, history, mathematics, citizenship, information technology, arts, or Portuguese, and is compiled in several pen, which are on board this boat, equipped with GPS and satellite transmitter connected to system of the American Agency NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) [CORRECTION: Should read Educational Passages in the US], which will allow you to monitor the course.

    In addition to the contents, the boat is decorated with motifs alluding to Sesimbra and Portugal.

    As the name implies, the idea is to Take Portugal to the World, since when the boat arrives at a new destination, it creates the effective opportunity to promote contact between students from different countries and cultures.

    All information about the project Takes Portugal to the World is available on the website of the Directorate-General for Sea Policy, www.dgpm.mm.gov.pt/leva-portugal-ao-mundo, where the methodology is explained, and referenced some national and international examples within it.

  • June 2019 - Symbolic launch

    The Sesimbra a Bordo (which translates to “Sesimbra on board”) was celebrated at the symbolic launch on 14 of June, in Sesimbra, at 5.30 pm (Praia do Ouro/17.30h), which was preceded by an ethnographic parade with students and their families.

  • September 2019 - Transported to the Azores

    An update from Facebook:

    O barquinho “Sesimbra a Bordo” já está no “Monte Brasil” da Transinsular a caminho da ilha de São Miguel.

    Este mini-veleiro foi preparado pelos alunos das Escolas Azuis do Agrupamento de Escolas Navegador Rodrigues Soromenho, com o apoio da Câmara Municipal de Sesimbra.

    Será lançado no oceano no dia 20 de Setembro a partir dos Açores. O “Sesimbra a Bordo” é parte do projeto Leva Portugal ao Mundo, coordenado por Escola Azul e DSOR Group – Dynamical Systems and Ocean Robotics do Instituto Superior Técnico.

    #escolaazul #literaciadooceano #oceanliteracy #blueschool #oceano #sesimbra#levaportugalaomundo #educationalpassages #miniboats Educational Passages#emsea2019

  • September 19, 2019 - Ready for launch

    On Friday, September 20, students from the Escola Azul (“Blue School”) Rodrigues Soromenho Navigator Schools in Portugal will be launching Sesimbra a Bordo (“Sesimbra on Board”) from the Azores. Here are some pictures of the students making final preparations on September 19.

    This date is significant in the expedition of Fernão de Magalhães (Magellan) who set out exactly 500 years before searching for trade routes.

    Watch the live call on RTP media at ~14:00 GMT!


  • September 20, 2019 - Launched off the Azores

    September 20. Exactly 500 years after Fernão de Magalhães (Magellan) set out searching for trade routes, the Sesimbra a Bordo (Sesimbra on board) unmanned miniboat was launched from the Azores by the Escola Azul to explore the ocean with GPS. This transatlantic journey will connect schools around the ocean and exploration.

    Launch video:

    A news crew joined us and shared the following story:

    RTP Açores – News Azores

    Here is the transcript in English (thanks to the Escola Azul Team for translating!):

    The 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation trip by Magellan was marked in the Azores with the launch of the miniboat “Sesimbra a Bordo”. The project was developed by students of the Navegador Rodrigues Soromenho school in Sesimbra.

    Image of the miniboat:
    This is “Sesimbra a Bordo”, a miniboat that will sail completely alone until it reaches the coast of a foreign country, or at least that is what we expect. The idea is to make a modern version of the old message in the bottle.

    Raquel Costa:
    This launch on this day symbolizes magellan’s circumnavigation, which is why we are launching it today, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This particular project brings messages from our country to the world, and that is its main objective.
    It is an educational project which is related to another international educational project created in the USA. There are many countries that join this initiative and the idea is to bring students from different countries closer.

    Musical Interlude while miniboat sails away…

    … And there he goes…
    In “Sesimbra a Bordo” several symbols that characterize Portugal are drawn.
    The boat was built by the students of Navegador Rodrigues Soromenho school in Sesimbra.

    Like the message inside the bottle the Sesimbra also holds some surprises inside.

    Joana Coelho (Ambassador for the school in Sesimbra):
    There are many surprises, like honey from Sesimbra, some cans of tuna and mackerel. Some souvenirs too, like the color of our sand with some shells.
    It also has pens, some key chains, among many other things… postcards from our home town.

    Thank you very much Joana.

    If all goes well this miniboat will show a little bit of Portugal to the rest of the world.
    Anyone interested in following the “Sesimbra a bordo” route can do so online, through the Educational Passages website.

  • September 22, 2019 - Update

    The Sesimbra a Bordo miniboat has been sailing fast since it was launched. As of the morning of September 22, she has sailed about 105 nm (194 km). As she turned yesterday to sail Northeast, in a straight line the distance from launch point is 96 nm (178 km). Where will she sail to next?

  • November 8, 2019 - Landed in Morocco

    In November, the Sesismbra a Bordo miniboat started heading towards Morocco. We kept a close eye and tried to find contacts ahead of the landing. On November 6, the miniboat was less than one nautical mile from landing, but then turned and sailed north and two days later landed on the coast a few miles northwest. A note on Facebook to the Escola Azul page said “This is the first photo of “Sesimbra on board … it arrived in Morocco this dawn and is already in good hands. We will have more news soon! A thank you to all who contributed to the success of this rescue mission!”

    On November 14, Escola Azul published the recovery story of Sesimbra a Bordo on Facebook: Portuguese | English

    You can also read the recovery story here:

    Here are the pictures of the miniboat in Morocco:


    On this first voyage, the miniboat Sesimbra a Bordo (“Sesimbra on Board”) sailed for >3,718 km (2,008 nm) in 49 days from the Azores in September to Morocco in November 2019. In a straight line the distance was only 1,734 km (936 nm). The average speed was 1.69 knots and was fastest on Sept. 23 when it was sailing at 3.89 knots!


  • March 2020 - At school in Morocco

    The Sesimbra a Bordo is at the Groupement Scolaire Ouled Zaid in Morocco. Our contact there, Mohamed, says that the teachers and students are all very excited and that the students have already started making drawings to be able to paint the boat, including the Moroccan and Portuguese flags.

This miniboat is part of the the Leva Portugal ao Mundo (Take Portugal to the World) program. Click here to learn more.