CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — It was like a message in a bottle that took 10 months to cross the Atlantic.

A “miniboat,” built by students from Central Falls, landed on a beach in the United Kingdom.

The little boat, appropriately named “Inspiration,” inspired students and teachers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The five-foot boat’s voyage began in March and ended in November, but the adventure started well before the boat even hit the water last spring.

“We put a GPS tracker on it so we could track where it goes,” said Mason Gutierrez, a 4th grader at Raices Dual Language Academy in Central Falls.

The miniboat was put together by three Central Falls Schools: Central Falls High School, Veterans Memorial Elementary and Raices.

The high schoolers installed the instruments, while the elementary schoolers learned how to make the boat seaworthy, then the boat was filled with letters and pictures from their schools.

“It was very exciting to learn about the boat and how it would be going in the water,” Ashley Donis said.

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The “Inspiration” was launched off the R/V Endeavor, a research vessel operated by the University of Rhode Island.

The “Inspiration” being launched off the R/V Endeavor. (Courtesy: URI-GSO)

The goal of this project, organized by the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (URI-GSO) was to teach the kids about the ocean.

But it also opened up a new world of education for them.

“This boat was almost a message in a bottle. It had lots of information about Central Falls and about the schools and the children that helped build it,” said Andrea Gingris, assistant director of public engagement at URI-GSO.

The tiny vessel was made from a kit from Educational Passages, which has helped create and launch dozens of miniboats across the country.

In fact, another miniboat, also built by Central Falls students, set sail in the fall 2021.

While that boat landed in the Azores, the “Inspiration” made it much farther.

Powered by wind blowing on its small sail, the “Inspiration” traveled more than 9,300 miles.

But its path was not straight, as the currents made the tiny boat do many loops across the vast ocean. It likely encountered numerous storms on its journey, including some tropical systems.

The “Inspiration” left New England in March, and after a 245 day journey, it landed on a beach in the southern United Kingdom on Thanksgiving weekend.

It was eerily similar to the harrowing voyage the Pilgrims took aboard the Mayflower.

The miniboat “Inspiration” on Avon Beach in Southern England. (Courtesy: Amelia Raine)

The boat was found by people walking their dogs on a beach in Christchurch, Dorset, which is located in southern England.

It was brought to a nearby school, per the instructions on the boat. That school was the Tiptoe Primary School in Lymington.

The miniboat and the school soon became famous in England as the BBC featured the story in a recent broadcast.

The URI-GSO, the three Central Falls Schools and Tiptoe had a virtual meeting just as the school day was beginning in Rhode Island on Thursday morning.

The classes waved at each other through their computers and swapped questions from each side of the pond about the boat’s journey and their own schools.

Tiptoe Primary School is a small school with less than 200 students. The small class on the virtual meeting was dressed in their holiday pajamas.

In the spring, third graders in Central Falls helped prepare the “Inspiration” for its trek across the ocean. The now fourth graders were excited to see the kids in England and hear their British accents.

“You’re so young and sometimes you think, ‘Oh, this is my world. It’s just Central Falls,'” said Amy Carney, the students’ third grade teacher at Raices. “Then I think that you also learn, ‘oh, there’s another country out there, and their accents are different, and they’re learning just like we are.'”

The 4th graders at the Raices Dual Language Academy in Central Falls.

The “Inspiration” inspired and will continue to inspire more learning across both sides of the Atlantic.

One of the goals of the miniboat program is for the voyage to continue. The Tiptoe Primary School plans to fix the “Inspiration” up and send it on its way.

Although the miniboat will likely not make it back to the United States, the students in Central Falls and the United Kingdom will continue to learn from its journeys.