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
March 17, 2022: Naming the Boats
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
March 25, 2022: Boats are Shipped to Florida
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 13, 2022 - Spotted at sea
A charter fishing boat crew spotted the miniboat Special when they were fishing on April 13 and the boat floated right by!
April 16, 2022 - Picked up at sea
A fisherman picked up the miniboat off the coast of St. Augustine and brought it back to the docks.
More details and next steps to be posted here soon!