Students build ‘KES Kraken’ to set sail during The National Oceanography Centre expedition

A collaborative project, with Education Passages and The National Oceanography Centre, involved students building a satellite tracked 1.5-metre-long miniature sailboat ‘mini-boat’, which will be deployed by scientists in the Atlantic Ocean during the DY143 expedition in December.

Since September, a selection of Second Year students, working alongside Sixth Form students, have been preparing to deploy and track their very own miniboat in the Atlantic. Throughout the project, students were visited by scientists, to help them further understand ocean and environmental issues, including microplastics and climate change.

The mini-boat is one of the first to include a new sensor system which will allow the boat to collect additional data about the ocean once deployed, which will allow students to gain a better understanding of ocean currents, weather and technology. Students will be able to track the mini-boat’s journey, and if the boat lands, students will also have the opportunity to connect with a local school and community in the boat’s destination!

Ms Cassie Stymiest, Executive Director of the non-profit Educational Passages in the US, kicked off the series on 13 September with a talk about the Mini-boat Program, sharing stories of other mini-boat adventures. “It was great to meet the KES crew for this project,” she said. “They were quite enthusiastic and seemed pretty jazzed about the voyage of the Galway Sailor, which landed in Norway earlier this summer. Projects like this are really important for helping us all better understand our connection to the ocean and each other.”

Dr Mayor, Teacher of Physics and Junior Science Coordinator commented “I hope all students involved in the project were inspired by the people who visited the school, and have dedicated their careers to science. It was also wonderful to see Sixth Form assisting younger students with the project”.
KES Kraken will make its maiden voyage onboard RRS Discovery heading to the Southern Ocean. In keeping with maritime tradition, it will be gifted to Poseidon while crossing the Equator.

King Edward VI School would like to express their gratitude to; Ms Cassie Stymiest from Educational Passages; Dr B.B Cael, Dr B.Moat, Dr A Horton, Dr E. Frajka-Williams, Dr J.J.Mayor, Dr F.Carvalho, Prof.M Srokosz from NOC; Dr P. Whomersley from CEFAS; members of the cruise DY143 for generously donating their resources and time. The project was supported by DIAPOD project (PI Dr.PI, D.J.Mayor, GOCART project – PI Dr D.Henson and iFADO Project – PI Dr S.Hartman.