Boat launched by New Hampshire middle-schoolers lands in Norway more than a year later

RYE, N.H. — A small boat constructed by middle school students in New Hampshire spent 462 days at sea before landing on Norway’s shores two weeks ago.

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Sixth-grader Karel Nuncic found the damaged six-foot boat Feb. 1 near his family’s home on the island of Smøla, the Portsmouth Herald reported Monday.

The vessel, dubbed Rye Riptides, lost its hull during its 8,300-mile, transoceanic trek, but Nuncic was able to recover the gooseneck barnacle-covered remnants, delighted to find its deck and cargo hold intact. He then took it to school to open with classmates, and they found the photos, fall leaves, acorns, a face mask with signatures and state quarters that Rye Junior High School students assembled for the voyage.

A call between the two schools is expected soon, The Associated Press reported.

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“When you’re sending it out, you have no idea where it’s going to end up, how it’s going to get there, if it ends up (anywhere) at all,” Cassie Stymiest, executive director of Educational Passages, a Maine nonprofit that began working with the school on the project in 2018, told the Herald.

“But these kids, they put their hopes and dreams and wishes into it, and I tend to think sometimes that helps,” she added.

According to the newspaper, Rye Riptides was equipped with a tracking device, but the GPS signal was spotty – and fully quiet for long stretches – until it reappeared online during hurricane season, registering plot points in August and September near the same latitude as Ireland. After vanishing again, Nuncic scooped it up two weeks ago.

“I was surprised the boat actually made it somewhere,” seventh grader Molly Flynn told the Herald.

“I thought it was going to get stuck in some middle spot (on the map) and it actually made it, and it was really, really cool and surprising,” she added.

Read the complete Portsmouth Herald report.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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