19 October 2021
By Tom Collins
A ‘mini-boat’, 1.5 metre in length with a tiny sail, that crossed the vast expanses of the Atlantic Ocean, sailing over 5,000km and landing in Ireland will set sail once again this weekend, thanks to a collaboration between Cork City Council, Creative Ireland, Port of Cork and the National Maritime College of Ireland.
The boat was originally launched by students from Harbor View Elementary School in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, in May 2017, as part of an educational programme that allows children to follow the progress of the boat and thus learn about the ocean, currents, geography and the environment.
The boat landed in Mayo in 2017 and eventually found its way to Cork for repair and relaunch. To prepare for the return of the boat to sea, Cork City Council’s ‘Old Cork Waterworks Experience’ and Creative Ireland invited Cork primary school children to submit designs inspired by Cork and its special relationship with the ocean. The designs were used to create a collage that was placed on the boat following extensive repair works by Walsh Boat Works. A special sail featuring the Cork coat of arms was also commissioned.
With assistance from the Port of Cork, the completed mini-boat will be put to sea mid-Atlantic by the crew of the Independent Horizon, an ICL cargo vessel and regular visitor to Cork.
The mini-boat is fitted with GPS so that its ocean journey can be tracked on www.educationalpassages.org. The project will be marked by a virtual exhibition of the artwork and a mini-boat pocketbook, as well as virtual transatlantic classroom visits between schools in Cork and Harbor View Elementary School in Charleston, South Carolina.
Cllr. Fergal Dennehy, who was deputising for the Lord Mayor, at the handover commented “This is a wonderful opportunity for Cork school children to connect with children on the other side of the Atlantic and to learn about the ocean, the weather and the world they live in. I want to congratulate all of the team who played a part in getting the boat to sea again to continue its voyage of discovery”
Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer of the Port of Cork, commented “The Port of Cork is delighted to be able to support this exciting educational initiative. It’s a fantastic opportunity to increase maritime awareness amongst school children in both Ireland and the US through our own transatlantic freight links.”