Portuguese Students Ready to Re-Launch "Crimson Voyager"

The amazing journey of the Crimson Voyager, Morristown-Beard School’s 6th Grade sailboat that was launched in 2015 through the Educational Passages program, is continuing this summer as students from Portugal are preparing the vessel for its fourth launch.

Students from the Escola Básica D. Pedro I in Canidelo, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal have been repairing the boat and are excited to launch it as part of the “Leva Portugal ao Mundo” (Take Portugal to the World) program.

They have repainted the boat with images that allude to the heritage of Vila Nova de Gaia and the story “A Menina do Mar” (The Sea Girl) by Portuguese poet Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. 

The Crimson Voyager was first launched a few days after Christmas in 2015 and was initially recovered off the shore of Cadiz, Spain on April 17, 2016. The boat was brought to the University of Cadiz, where it was repaired and repainted. It was later re-launched off Madeira and recovered in Porto, Portugal. It was taken to the Escola Básica D. Pedro I in northern Portugal since they are part of the “Blue School” program — a school that actively engages its community in the understanding of the ocean and its influence on our lives while not forgetting our own impact on the ocean. 

The idea to launch a 6th Grade sailboat each year came from former MBS trustee and parent Joe Robillard, who read about the Educational Passages program in a sailing magazine. The program educates youngsters about ocean winds and currents by launching unmanned boats built by vocational high school students in Maine. Each boat is equipped with a GPS that transmits to a satellite so the students can track its journey on the web.

“After I finished the article, it took about three seconds for me to pick up the phone and see if we could bring this to Morristown-Beard School,” said Robillard, whose idea was quickly embraced by Middle School teacher Lisa Swanson. 

“In addition to teaching students about ocean currents and wind, the project is exciting because it provides a backdrop to teach everything from physics to world languages,” said Mrs. Swanson. 

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 The Crimson Tide was retrieved off the coast of Guernsey, for example, it set up exciting new learning opportunities as MBS students connected with students there via Skype. Middle School French students also began an ongoing pen pal adventure with students from France after The Crimson Tide landed in Les Sables-d’Olonne. 

Subsequent MBS sailboats have landed in Spain, Florida, the Shetland Islands, and the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.

Stay tuned for updates!


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