Two student-built, unmanned boats launched from Oregon toward Japan made unplanned stops in the Bay Area after unexpectedly changing course.
The two 5-foot-long boats were part of a project by the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon, that allows middle school students in the Pacific Northwest and Japan to design, build and sail GPS-tracked boats from one country to another.
One of the boats, named the S/V Destiny, crash-landed in the area of the Sonoma Coast on Saturday where it was pulled to safety by a hiker, project organizers said. As of Tuesday, the boat was still awaiting recovery. A second boat, the S/V Second Wind, headed toward Half Moon Bay and was recovered by harbor patrol crews in the area Monday night.
Since the program’s inception in 2017, several boats have drifted off course and crash landed across the Pacific Ocean, including in the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, Alaska and Mexico.
The group hopes to travel to California to recover, repair and eventually relaunch the two boats so they can continue their journey across the ocean. At least one of the boats sustained damage during its crash and took on water.
Before being blown toward shore, the S/V Destiny and S/V Second Wind had sailed over 400 nautical miles down the West Coast. As of late July, a third boat, the Great Northern, was sailing south, several thousand miles off the coast south of the Bay Area.
The group is posting updates about the boats on Facebook.