1st Voyage

  • July 27, 2021 - Symbolic launch

    A symbolic launch of the miniboat TUGA da Costa Azul was completed on July 27, 2021, and the event attracted the attention of the local newspaper “O Sesimbrense” with an article on August 31 titled, “Quem sabe para onde vou? lançamento do barco iFADO TUGA” meaning “”Who knows where I’m going?” iFADO TUGA boat launch.”

  • March 17, 2022 - Launched at sea

    Miniboat TUGA da Costa Azul was loaded aboard the R/V Miguel Oliver to be launched during a fisheries assessment survey by IPMA as part of the iFADO project in March. The survey will collect samples over the Iberian continental shelf starting from the southern coast (Cadiz). The idea is to launch the miniboat off Sagres – the SW tip of the Peninsula (also with a strong historical meaning in the Portuguese Maritime quest).

    Plans changed and the miniboat was transported to the R/V VIZCONDE DE EZA.

    Then, on March 17 at 9:39GMT, Miniboat TUGA da Costa Azul was launched by the crew of the VIZCONDE DE EZA and tooks some pictures to share:


    Paulo Oliveria, who has led this miniboat project for IPMA, said that, “the forecast in the next couple of days is for S – SW winds, but the meteo conditions next week will be dominated by the passage of low pressure systems and I believe that the trajectory of the miniboat will be quite erratic.”

  • March to April, 2022 - Travels to and Landing in Morocco

    March 19, 2022 Update

    Paulo writes, “More than 90 miles traveled in less than 2 days! After ‘escaping’ from today’s strong coastal southeasterlies, tomorrow TUGA will face its first ciclone. The winds will blow from the west and south. How close to the coast will it come?”

    March 22, 2022 Update

    Paulo writes, “After traveling offshore for more than 100 miles for 3 days, the miniboat started its movement back to the coast, heading to the position where it was released on the 17th March (white dots on the map below). The forecasted winds should make it progress to the north during today, passing just 15 miles offshore the launching position this afternoon! According to the predictions from a simple transport model, based on the relationship between the miniboat speed and the winds (red dots), the sudden change in wind direction tomorrow morning will lead to a new reversal in the path direction and the TUGA should sail again to the deep ocean. Exciting moments ahead to see how the miniboat will move around the low pressure system that will affect the Gulf of Cadiz in the next couple of days! (cf. screenshot from mf2.ipma.pt belo)”

    April 3, 2022 Update

    Paulo writes, “In the last 2 days, the trajectory was a bit to the left of the wind, most likely due to the swell from the north, and at  4AM today it was “only” 160 km from the coast.”


    Refering to the image below, Paulo ran a model to try and predict the path, with blue line actual and red line is prediction. About this he said, “Being this close to the coast, TUGA will sail onshore with the strong winds associated with the low pressure system that I mentioned in the previous email, and presently is forecasted to be located north of Mazagão at noon on tuesday.”

    April 5, 2022 Update

    After 18 days, TUGA DA COSTA AZUL was approaching Morocco coast, near El Beddouza.

    April 6, 2022

    We are seeing how currents are playing a role here as well as wind in the travels of TUGA. During the night of April 5, rather than landing on shore as predicted, the boat circled around.

    By 19:26 GMT on 4/6/2022 near El Beddouza, Morocco, the miniboat TUGA de Costa Azul made landfall after 20 days at sea!

  • April 6, 2022 - Recovered in Morocco

    By 19:26 GMT on 4/6/2022 near El Beddouza, Morocco, the miniboat TUGA de Costa Azul made landfall after 20 days at sea!

    It was shortly recovered by someone nearby as we could see from the GPS reports.

    April 7, 2022

    Miniboat enthusiast Luis Sebastiao of the Blue School PT (Escola Azul) and Instituto Superior Técnico / ISR-Lisboa team was also very involved in this project, especially when it became evident that the boat would head to Morocco. Luis previously coordinated another miniboat recovery in Morocco in 2019 (Sesimbra a Bordo) with friend Mohamed Hadani who is a Geologist and University Professsor.

    Mohamed traveled to the area where the boat landed (see scenary picture above) and successfully recovered the boat. We are grateful for Luis,  Mohamed, and Paulo for their dedication to this mission.

    Here are some pictures that Mohamed shared with us:

    Here is an animated track of the voyage with wind overlay, thanks to Paulo Oliveira, IPMA. (Acknowledgement is made for the use of ECMWF’s wind forecast data, made available by IPMA at mf2.ipma.pt in the frame of the MF2 Project.)

    Voyage Statistics

    After 20 days at sea, the miniboat TUGA de Costa Azul landed near El Beddouza, Morocco. It traveled for 1,444 km (780 nm) with an average speed of 1.58 knots. In a line from start to finish, the distance was 502 km.

This is one of five miniboats to be built and launched in collaboration with the iFADO Project (Innovation in the Framework of the Atlantic Deep Ocean).