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VIDEO: Research 'drifter' needs a lift home

In June 2012, students at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River, Conn., launched a 5-foot, 45-pound, self-righting, self-steering and self-tending research sailboat to chart the currents of the Atlantic as part of the Educational Passages program.

The voyage has gone well. The boat, named Charger, has logged more than 16,000 nautical miles and seen more of the world than many people do — Newfoundland, Wales and Portugal, then back across the Atlantic to Guyana on the northeast coast of South America.

As part of the communal spirit of the project, college students in Portugal relaunched Charger in June 2014 after it reached Portuguese shores.

The problem is, Charger is now stuck in Guyana and cannot be relaunched because its battery and GPS unit are dead.

“We are trying to get the boat back here to Connecticut to effect repairs and relaunch and continue its amazing journey,” says Andy Colloton, founder of Shipwright Technical Services, a high-end marine consultancy business in Essex, Conn. Colloton has offered to help coordinate the recovery effort.

“The students are looking to get the boat back, make all repairs and return it to the water to continue the research project,” he says. “The U.S. Coast Guard has offered assistance if the boat can be delivered to one of their bases, so the students are reaching out to the maritime communities at large for assistance in the first leg of its rescue journey.”

Anyone who would like to assist in Charger’s recovery can contact Colloton at