As part of this Transit, a 1.5 metre Lancer unmanned sailboat will be deployed into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Nine months ago in September 2016, Méabh Ní Ghionnáin, a 9 year old school girl from Droim, Leitir Móir, Galway found the Lancer boat washed ashore on her local beach after it had travelled across the Atlantic as part of a year-long research project that 18 year old Kaitlyn Dow from Connecticut, USA had undertaken. Kaitlyn had launched the boat from the USA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research vessel Neil Armstrong off the coast of Cape Cod in May 2016. The boat was fitted with a GPS tracker and she studied its movements across the North Atlantic.
Captain Kenny Downing, Méabh Ní Ghionnáin, Leitir Móir, Galway, Margaret Rae, AORA-CSA
The boat successfully crossed the Atlantic on its own following the winds and currents to Ireland, and was eventually washed ashore in the Conamara County Galway, where it was found by Méabh. The Lancer Boat has since been repaired by Ciaran Oliver and James Rattigan from Port of Galway Sea Scouts. The crew will deploy the Lancer boat on the 22nd April from the RV Celtic Explorer during its nine day voyage. It is hoped the unmanned Lancer boat will catch the Irminger current and take it northwards towards Greenland, or the Canary current and take it southwards towards Africa. The Irminger Current is a north Atlantic ocean current setting westward off the southwest coast of Iceland and can be tracked using the GPS once it is launched at: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/drifter/drift_whs_2016_1.html
To read more about the Lancer and it's journey to Ireland click here.