July 27, 2021
USS Constitution Museum Miniboat Rescued by Canadians; Second Miniboat’s Fate Uncertain
CHARLESTOWN, MA (July 27, 2021)—The USS Constitution Museum’s miniboats, equipped with GPS solar trackers, recently had their paths altered by weather, leading to one miniboat rescue in Newfoundland, Canada, and another’s voyage taking an unexpected turn.
The five-foot-long unmanned sailboats–named HK Pride and Teal Turtle–which were made by eleven fourth grade students from the Harvard-Kent Elementary School in Charlestown, were ceremonially launched into Boston Harbor on USS Constitution’s 223rd birthday in October 2020. Seven months later, the miniboats were launched into the Atlantic Ocean Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, by the Sea Education Association. Educational Passages, a non-profit organization that provides miniboat kits for assembly, is tracking their journeys.
HK Pride landed at Kent Cove beach in Newfoundland on July 18. Tropical Storm Elsa blew it north off its original path across the Atlantic, stranding it in a remote location where it would remain until retrieved. The Museum and its partners reached out to organizations and through social media channels in an effort to reach a person or people in the nearest town(s). On July 22, Sherrie and John Feaver, a local couple from McCallum, heard about the search and traveled by boat to retrieve HK Pride. McCallum, located on the southern coast of Newfoundland, is only accessible by boat or by air. Sherrie Feaver noted that right now the population is around 30 residents.
Feaver, who heard about the miniboat on social media, mentioned everyone in town was excited. “We were going to try yesterday but it was a bit windy,” she said in an interview with the Canadian Press on July 22. “I didn’t even sleep last night because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I wonder where we’ll find it.'”
HK Pride is currently in the town of Hermitage, awaiting Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans to take possession. Hermitage is a small town on the south coast of Newfoundland, Canada. USS Constitution Museum is contacting schools in and near the area to work with educators and potentially students to relaunch HK Pride on its journey.
In a fortuitous twist in keeping with this “message in a bottle”-type of outcome, both miniboats actually contain messages from the Harvard-Kent students, and the students who send HK Pride back to sea will get to add their own as well.
“We are so thankful for the efforts of Sherrie, John, the people of McCallum and Hermitage, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans,” said Emily Bryant, Education Manager at the USS Constitution Museum. “With their support, we look forward to relaunching HK Pride on her journey.”
Teal Turtle remains at sea. Landfall seemed imminent last week as the boat closed in on the shore of southern Nova Scotia, but a cold front caused a change in wind direction that pushed Teal Turtle back out to sea. It’s currently sailing along in an easterly direction away from Nova Scotia.
Information on both boats, including current location and tracking, are available online.
About the USS Constitution Museum
The USS Constitution Museum serves as the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the stories of “Old Ironsides” and those associated with her. This award-winning non-profit provides an environment where inter-generational groups seeking an enjoyable and educational experience can have fun while learning and exploring history together. The Museum’s mission is to engage all ages in the story of Constitution to spark excitement about maritime heritage, naval service, and the American experience. For more information, visit usscm.org.