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K-Kids Kruiser

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K-Kidz Kruiser

When we came back to school in September, we had a great surprise when a local man called Michael Cafferkey arrived at our school with a tiny sailboat containing messages from children in the US state of Maine that landed in Ballycroy, more than a year after it was launched.
The four-foot craft survived at least two hurricanes on its journey of more than 4,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
It was launched by the American children, who had been taking part in a school club. Michael Cafferkey discovered the sailboat at Fahy Strand in Ballycroy which was also the location of a shipwreck from the Spanish Armada in 1588.
Inside the sailboat were messages of from children at Old Town Elementary School in Maine. The children, aged eight to 11, are members of the K Kids Club, run by Kiwanis International, a group that aims to foster leadership skills and self-esteem among youngsters.
The children, working under the direction of local teacher Mary Bagley, raised $600 (€427) to buy the sailboat and equip it with GPS (Global Positioning System). 5 boats were launched by a marine academy training ship on the east coast of the US on June 19 last year. Using the GPS, the children were able to track the boat's movements on the internet, but lost contact on November 19 last year when the GPS failed. It had travelled north along the east coast of the US, crossed the Atlantic and was last located 300 miles north of Spain.
Michael Cafferkey said he had no idea what he found when he picked up the boat. He took the boat to the local schools. We were all delighted to read the letters from the children and we wrote letters of reply and e-mailed Old Elementary School in Maine.
TG4 were interested in the story and came to visit our school where they filmed Michael with the boat and the children of the school. We were on the TG4 News on the 3 of November 2010.
The boat is now on display in Castlebar and is used for charity fundraising.


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