The miniboats Teal Turtle and HK Pride are part of a partnership with the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, MA, and neighboring Boston Public School, Harvard-Kent Elementary. They were made by eleven 4th graders in Mr. Brett’s science enrichment class in winter of 2020.
January-March 2020: Boats are prepared
Over nine weeks, the students worked on the boats in their science classroom. This meant filling and attaching the keel, sanding and painting, and decorating the boats and sails. Throughout, they learned about connections to USS Constitution.
Filling the Keel:
Sanding and Sail Design:
Attaching the Keel:
Painting the Hull:
January-March 2020: Field Trips to USS Constitution Museum
The students also took two field trips to the USS Constitution Museum. It’s only a five minute walk from their school! At the museum, they learned about the design and construction of USS Constitution, and put those lessons to the test by making their own tinfoil boats to race. They also learned about the life of a sailor in 1812 and met Jason, a current active-duty sailor on Constitution.
Holding a piece of USS Constitution copper lining:
When the pandemic struck in mid-March, the students weren’t quite done with the boats. In consultation with the students from home, museum staff finished them up.
The holds were filled with introductory letters and swag from the museum and Harvard-Kent, including a sign of the times–a Boston Public School face mask.
Sealing the hold with silicone and caulk.
October 21, 2020: Ceremonial Launch
USS Constitution turned 223 years old and we threw a virtual birthday party with the Ship. During the festivities, the boats were ceremonially launched into Boston Harbor from a dock next to USS Constitution. We were joined by Mr. Brett, the science specialist at Harvard Kent school, and the students watched from home. In keeping with US Navy tradition, the boats were christened with a sparkling beverage right before hitting the water. Huzzah!
The event was streamed on Facebook live:
Education manager Emily and Mr. Brett about to christen the boats:
April 9, 2021: Boats delivered to SEA
Museum staff drove the boats to Woods Hole, MA for drop-off at the Sea Education Association (SEA) campus. SEA is a semester program for college students on marine biodiversity and conservation, which includes a six-week voyage on a tall ship. Their sailing trip from FL to MA will cross the Gulf Stream several times, and they will launch our boats when they cross and winds are favorable.
Here is our education manager Emily with SEA professor of oceanology, Jeff. The hand-off is complete, and the boats are in good hands.
They made it! While in port in St. Petersburg, FL preparing for their voyage, SEA students pose with the boats on their ship, SSV Corwith Cramer.
The plan is for the crew and class of C-297 of the SEA Semester to launch the boats off the SSV Corwith Cramer on their journey from Florida to Woods Hole. Follow their journey at https://www.sea.edu/sea_currents/all_corwith_cramer/category/corwith_cramer.
May 4, 2021: Launched into the Gulf Stream
On May 4, 2021, the crew of the SSV Corwith Cramer, as part of Sea Semester’s class C-297, launched the Teal Turtle along with HK Pride miniboats into the Gulf Stream! Thank you all who made this possible.
Here is the official launch report:
Launched at 1100 EST at position: 34 degrees 57.8 minutes North latitude x 074 degrees 46.7 minutes West longitude, approximately due east of Cape Hatteras.
At time of launch the Cramer was sailing on broad reach, port tack steering 025 degrees with double reefed mainsail, staysails and jib set. Wind and sea conditions were a ‘sporty’ Beaufort Force 6, waves 6-8 feet in height in addition to long-period swell 8-10 feet in height.
Sea surface temperature was 26.2 degrees Celsius, salinity levels 36.27 parts per thousand (grams salt per liter of water), ocean depth was 2836m, Gulf Stream was flowing at 2.2 knots in a direction of 037 degrees or to the northeast.
And here is the video of the launch:
July 2021 - Approaching land in Nova Scotia
After Tropical Storm Elsa came up the coast, the USSCM miniboats shifted their course a bit north. The HK Pride, by the middle of July, started to approach Newfoundland and was recovered on July 22.
The Teal Turtle, who also got nudged out of the Gulf Stream also began to sail north towards Canada, but to Nova Scotia.
By July 22, she was sailing in the Port Felix, Nova Scotia area:
However, she sailed out of the bay overnight and is back at sea!
She continued heading northeast towards Newfoundland.
August 7, 2021 - Landed and Recovered Aug. 10 in Newfoundland
The Teal Turtle made landfall on Flat Island in Newfoundland on August 7. We posted a notice here:
UNMANNED 6 foot long sailboat (MINIBOAT) ashore at Flat Island, Division No. 3, Subd. F, NL, Canada (47.568001, -57.660649 – see map above and zoom in for latest location report) after 93 days and 6,400+ km voyage drifting across the Atlantic Ocean. Please rescue if possible to do so safely.
This is an educational project from the US. Built by students in Boston in collaboration with USS Constitution Museum. Contact Educational Passages for more information and if you know anyone that can assist in a recovery to avoid damage to the vessel. It is an unmanned vessel, like a message in a bottle, but we would like to recover it to avoid damage if possible, and have it brought to a nearby school to connect students from Massachusetts, USA.
On August 9, USSCM Education Manager Emily Bryant and Public Historian Carl Herzog chatted with Linda Swain, host of Newfoundland’s VOCM radio show On Target St. John’s, to recap the latest international escapades of miniboats HK Pride and Teal Turtle!
Tune in to hear the conversation
The next morning, on August 10, VOCM posted an article, Boston Museum Looking to Retrieve Students’ Mini-Boat Run Aground Near Burgeo. A few hours later, Educational Passages received a phone call from Ian Melbourne, who had seen the post on social media.
Here is a recap of the day’s events from August 10:Ian Melbourne went into work this morning and saw the social media post about a miniboat landing near Burgeo. Ian grew up there, but now lives 2.5 hours away, but his parents were close by. So he called upon them and they headed out to Flat Island searching for Teal Turtle. Upon first look around the island on their 18 foot boat, they didn’t find it. So they gave us (EP) a call, and we recommended they try searching on the southeastern coast, and we provided the exact coordinates to assist in the search. Less than an hour and a half later, Ian called back with news that his Dad had successfully recovered the boat, which was wedged in the rocks.Pictured here with the rescued boat is Gilbert (left) and his best friend Ivan (right). They both were the ones who ventured out and found the boat. Gilbert’s wife, and Ian’s Mom Joan, met Gilbert upon his return and took these pictures. She said the students did a great job decorating their boat, and will help us get it to a nearby school if that is what is needed next.Thanks to the entire Melbourne Family and all who helped recover the Teal Turtle. Thanks to them, the adventure continues!VOCM did a follow up story on August 11: Second Mini-Boat Launched by U.S. Students Recovered Near Burgeo.
The mini boats Teal Turtle and HK Pride are part of a partnership with the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, MA, and neighboring Boston Public School, Harvard-Kent Elementary. They were made by eleven 4th graders in Mr. Brett’s science enrichment class in winter of 2020.