The MBS 6th Grade Class is getting ready for a high-seas adventure! For the ninth year in a row, MBS will launch a 5-foot, unmanned sailboat as part of the “Educational Passages” program. This year’s boat, Crimson Storm, is expected to set sail during spring break.
The vessel is equipped with a GPS that transmits to a satellite, so the students can track its journey on the web. In its hull, students placed a variety of items including a baseball, a map showing their hometowns, essays about life in New Jersey, an MBS pennant, and issues of Crimson magazine.
To prepare for the launch, the 6th Graders participated in a Zoom call with Cassie Stymiest, Director of Educational Passages. She provided the students with background about the program and discussed launch plans for Crimson Storm.
During spring break, Middle School geography teacher Lisa Swanson will drive the boat to Salem, New Jersey, where it will be placed aboard a cargo ship and launched when the ship reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
The first MBS boat — Crimson Tide – was launched in December of 2012 and was recovered by a fisherman in Guernsey, an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. It was later re-launched and washed ashore in France. Other MBS boats have traveled to Spain, Florida, the Shetland Islands, and the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.
The Educational Passages program was created by a sailor from Maine who wanted to educate youngsters about ocean winds and currents. Mrs. Swanson says the project is exciting because it can also provide a backdrop to teach everything from physics to world languages. A significant aspect of the project hinges on the hope that students can connect with their peers across the globe when the boat reaches a foreign shore. When Crimson Tidewas retrieved off the coast of Guernsey, for example, it set up exciting new learning opportunities as MBS students connected with students there via skype.