Passages: EP News March 2021

Dear Friend,

Perseverance. To move forward and achieve by overcoming difficulties and challenges that are presented. I use this term when describing not only the incredible work of our teachers and students, but to so many other people in our lives as well. I wanted to take a minute to acknowledge them, and you, because you are also supporting us in our efforts to persevere. 

At Wy’east Middle School in Washington, it’s Mr. Boken and his students, who sent their miniboat, Liberty, down the Columbia River last year. They recovered and relaunched it at least a dozen times, and are now building a second boat to attempt the same voyage!

It’s also Mr. Sandel, who has been traveling around in a Mobile Miniboat Makerspace, which has allowed the Columbia River Maritime Museum to continue their work. They have been building their 2021 fleet in parking lots and driveways, with masks and social distancing of course. They will be setting sail soon…

In New Jersey, it’s the students at Morristown Beard School (pictured right, when they shared updates on their project with me last week over video chat), who have persevered through shifting schedules and protocols to prepare their 9th miniboat, the Crimson Storm. 

Thanks to Gretchen for her perseverance as she took on a new virtual internship over these last three months with us. We can’t wait to see where her career will sail to! You’ll be seeing the results of her work this coming year through educational resources and events we’re planning to offer. If you’d like to learn more about internships and volunteer opportunities with us, please reach out. 

And for all those who have been planning for the fall, hoping to bring something new and exciting into their classrooms and educational spaces. We thank you all for providing and supporting these incredible opportunities.

The miniboats continue sailing on… through storms, across thousands of miles, heading for new adventures to connect more people and inspire ocean stewardship. Thank you for joining us and contributing to this mission.

Cassie Stymiest
Executive Director

January - March 2021 News and Updates

All hands on deck; the 2nd Annual Recycle Regatta is ON! The challenge: Build a small-scale (less than 40 cm long), unmanned, model sailboat out of recycled materials, test it, and calculate its speed. The fastest and most creative in each of four fleets will win a prize. Join others from around the world and do your part for the environment. Submit your entry now through March 31!

Virtual Kick-Off Event and Q+A: Join Recycle Regatta coordinators on Tuesday, March 9th from 4:00-4:30 pm EST for a virtual kick-off event! We will provide an overview of the competition, a walkthrough of our website and how to submit your entry. We’ll then open the floor to questions. All interested students, families, and teachers are encouraged to attend! The virtual event will take place live over Zoom and our Facebook pageFor more information, and to register for the kick-off call, please visit the Recycle Regatta webpage.
Entry into the Recycle Regatta is free for students. K-12 teachers participating in the regatta are eligible for NESS’s NGSS-aligned online experiential learning program at a discounted rate. Scholarship funds are also available. This hands-on program dives into the physics of sailing and how to build a recycle regatta boat. Contact for details.  

The 2021 Recycle Regatta is sponsored by New England Science & Sailing FoundationEducational Passages, and the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA).

Blue Heron sails again thanks to the crew of the R/V Endeavor

As we had hoped, the 3rd voyage of Aucocisco School’s Blue Heron began in 2021 and is now heading across the Atlantic via the Gulf Stream. The launch was the first one of the year, and we want to thank the crew of the R/V Endeavor for making this possible. The miniboat was also launched alongside a student built drifter, and both are now providing valuable information about the wind and currents as they travel. 

Update from the students at Rye Junior High School

Almost every day at school we look at a website that tells us where our boat is. It is interesting to see what the currents, temperatures and waves are like around our boat. Rye Riptides was launched at the same time and place as another mini boat called Sojourner’s Truth. At first the boats stayed together, but after a big storm they went in different directions. Ours went east and has been heading towards Ireland ever since while theirs went south and started doing loops in the water due to the currents but now is close to a set of islands called the Azores.” – Student, Rye Jr High

Half a world away: Students connecting between Massachusetts, USA and Western Australia 

When the students of Sacred Heart School began building their boat in Kingston, Massachusetts back in January of 2019, they didn’t really know where it would end up, or the connections it would make. Fast forward to two years later, and their little boat has traveled by plane to South Africa, by ship to the Marion Rise, and by the wind and currents to Western Australia. As soon as it arrived, students began sending letters and video messages back to the US. The boat, named Star of the Sea, which was damaged during its travels, was recently repaired thanks to Mr. Bennett and students at Fremantle College. We can’t wait to see what happens with its second voyage!

Join us!

This program is great because of people like you. Please reach out to learn more about how you can get involved, whether it be to volunteer with a build, support our educators, assist with deployments, connect with experts, or take on an internship with us. In fact, there is an open call right now for a Marketing and Communications Internship.


At Educational Passages, we work to connect and educate thousands of people around the world through the building and launching mighty 6’ boats that sail themselves to distant shores.  We have launched 148 boats, so far that have crossed 3 ocean basinslanded in 28 countries, and now connect 6 continents

But each boat kit costs far more than we charge schools and teachers. We rely on donations from people like you to help offset these costs. To provide at least 5 kits next year, we need to raise $20,000 and so far have raised only 15% of our goal. Please consider making a tax-deductible year-end gift and join us on our mission to inspire ocean stewardship through unique global experiences.


Copyright © 2021 Educational Passages


Join us in our mission to connect people around the world to the ocean and each other! We need your help so that together we can continue to inspire students, support educators, and connect communities.