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.
October 1, 2021 - USSCM visits Burgeo Academy, Burgeo NL / Teal Turtle is opened
Museum staff made a trip to Newfoundland where they visited Burgeo Academy, in Burgeo on October 1, 2021 and opened up the cargo hatch together with students. They offered programs to 2nd, 3rd, 6/7, and 4/5 students. The 4/5 students opened the boat for the first time since it was launch.
Voyage 1: 94 Days at Sea
Read above for all the details of the first voyage of the Teal Turtle.
December 28, 2021 - Relaunched south of Miffel Island near Burgeo
Gilbert Melbourne, who recovered the boat in July, made arrangements to have Captain Ingram of the Coast Guard on board the W.G.GEORGE launch the Teal Turtle back to sea. Captain Ingram launched it on December 28, 2021 at 0935 NL time (1305 UTC) about 1 nm south of Miffel Island. Sea was 1 meter, Wind was 5 to 10 knots from the North. It appears the sail batten was broken from the first voyage, so it will be interesting to see how it travels from here.
Thank you Captain Ingram and Gilbert!
January 2, 2021 - Landed east of Captain Island and west of Muddy Hole, NL
After only 5 days at sea and sailing over 284 km, TEAL TURTLE landed on January 2 in a remote area called Otter Point Cliff. She is east of Captain Island and west of Muddy Hole on a peninsula but has not yet been recovered.
NOTICE: Uncrewed 6 foot long sailboat (miniboat) ashore at 47.664, -57.995 (see map above and zoom in for latest location report). 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 and recovered by community members in Burgeo, NL. 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.
April 14, 2022 - Recovered!
Captain Ingram of the Coast Guard recovered the TEAL TURTLE on April 14 with the help of his father in law (John James), mother in law (Jean Jame), and wife (Gwen Ingram).
The boat is damaged at the bow and will need repairs before it can be sent back out for a 3rd voyage.
We want to give a big thank you to the Ingram family for the recovery (and launch back in January)!
Voyage 2: 5 Days at Sea
Read above for all the details of the second voyage of the Teal Turtle.
May - September 2022 - Repairs
In May, Tony Warren of A&R Trucking, along with his son Carter (pictured to the right) picked up the TEAL TURTLE from Gilbert Melbourne (fisherman in Burgeo who recovered the boat after its first voyage) and transported it to Corner Brook.
Then, OCEANEX arranged for Armour Transportation Systems to bring the boat to St. John’s. There, it was picked up by Patrick Wells, who will coordinate the repairs and then connect it to another school in the area before it is relaunched.
Thanks to Gilbert, Carter, OCEANEX, Armour Transportation Services, and Pat for all their efforts to help connect more people with TEAL TURTLE.
May 17, 2022
The TEAL TURTLE was put on display at a luncheon honoring the Irish Ambassador to Canada hosted by the Town of Conception Bay South and Manuels River. Click here to read all about it.
The TEAL TURTLE was brought back to Pat Wells’ house where extensive repairs were made, including the addition of new bulkheads and reattaching the deck! Thanks to Pat for his incredible work, and thanks to United Sail Works for repairing the sail.
By September, the TEAL TURTLE along with its sistership HK PRIDE were ready to sail again!
September 2022 - Relaunched off the Grand Banks
September 16, 2022
Pat Wells and Thomas Sheppard, some of our best volunteers in Newfoundland and Labrador, brought the TEAL TURTLE and HK PRIDE to the docks of the M/V Maersk Clipper along with help from Thomas’ son, Noah. They got to bring the boats directly onto the ship!
September 19, 2022
Thanks to Captain Morgan and crew of the M/V Maersk Clipper, they took the boats aboard and launched them on the morning of September 19, 2022. We received confirmation via email that said”
“FYI the two mini boats were launched at 0830 hrs (LT) today, Monday 19th September 2022. Position: 46 30.6’N, 048 34.9’W.”
October 27-29, 2022 - Landed and Recovered in the Azores
After only 38 days at sea, the Teal Turtle and sistership HK Pride found their way down to the Azores. Teal Turtle was first to make land on October 27 on the island of Graciosa. Our local friend on nearby Santa Maria, Helena, was tracking the boat and immediately contacted a local company she knew of on the island, Calypso Azores. They offered to help and a recovery mission was quickly in the works and they alerted the marine police of the situation.
On October 28, they were not able to attempt rescue because of weather conditions, and “the boat lays in one of the most difficult places to access by land,” they said.
On October 29, however, Paulo Mendonça (Sócio Gerente of Calypso Azores) sent us another update that, “Just to inform that “Teal Turtle” has been successfully rescued this morning. Paulo Leal and his friends Duarte made it! They took the chance of weather improvement and low tide. Now they have approx. 3 hours uphill in a very difficult trail.”
Here is a picture of where they found the boat:
Next we hope to bring the boat to the school on the island and connect all the students involved in Massachusetts and Newfoundland. Thank you so much to Calypso Azores for the recovery and going the “extra mile” to hike the boat to safety.
November 22, 2022
Hear about the recovery of the Teal Turtle in the November 17, 2022 Educational Passages Miniboat Traffic Report Podcast Episode:
December 13, 2022
Conceição Silva from Escola Básica e Secundária da Graciosa sent us a message, “The boat Teal Turtle has finally arrived at school. We are going to work with 8th graders, 13 /14 years old. We will open it tomorrow with the students.”
Pictures were later sent of the students with the contents from the hatch!
January 26, 2023 – The Charlestown Bridge published a story about the USSCM Miniboats: Local Students Launch an Adventure Across the Atlantic
Emily Bryant, Education Manager at the (USS Constitution) Museum was quoted in the article as saying, “We’re so excited to follow the miniboats, as it’s not every day that we all come together to ensure the success of something this special.”
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.