RIP — Builders bid farewell to transatlantic Scout

Her builders cheer as Scout sets out from Fogland on the first attempt. (BILL MURPHY) Her builders cheer as Scout sets out from Fogland on the first attempt. (BILL MURPHY)

Scout gets a taste of ocean waves before leaving Rhode Island waters last summer.

Scout gets a taste of ocean waves before leaving Rhode Island waters last summer.

Little transatlantic boat Scout quietly vanished in mid-ocean a couple weeks ago and her young Tiverton builders believe now that she’s gone for good.

Launched Aug. 23, the 13-foot solar powered electric motorboat chugged steadily toward Spain until late September when her main tracking system failed. Her backup satellite tracker tracked Scout for awhile as she meandered about somewhere east of Titanic’s final resting place — well over a thousand miles in the direction of Spain.

Now that signal, too, has been lost.

The Scout team sent this message to the boat’s many followers via their Facebook page recently:

“We’d like to update everyone about where Scout is today. The truth of the matter is that we lost her a few days ago and we don’t think that we’ll hear from her again.

Scout was launched from Sakonnet Point, Rhode Island, on August 23, 2013, at some ridiculously early time of the morning (at Scout headquarters, we referred to these hours as “business hours.”) Scout set off into the night like an invisible rocket that traveled at around 2 knots, transmitting her position and other data back to us every 20 minutes. We all have fond memories of waking up in the middle of the night to see what Scout was up to.

The last time we heard from this main tracking system was on September 28th. After that system went offline, we had some drinks because it was the weekend and the tracking service provider wouldn’t pick up the phone until Monday, sent them Dan’s credit card number, and had the service activated by Tuesday to find Scout 95 miles to the south. Thus began a series of loopy tracks (“Go home Scout, you’re drunk,” commented one Scout follower) totaling about a thousand miles that lasted a month and a half.

On Wednesday, November 06, 2013, at 4:01:27 p.m., we received the last transmission from Scout. The backup tracker, a completely independent unit operating on the Globalstar satellite network, quietly failed before the next scheduled (4:01a.m.) message was transmitted. It has been exactly eight days since she vanished, and we think that this is as good of a time as any to put Scout to rest.

lthough the chances are that we will never hear from Scout again, our database is ready to accept an incoming message, the satellites watching over Scout will send us an email if they spot her (while Dan’s credit card lasts), and you can all be assured that we’ll all get tattoos of Scout’s position if she ever does transmit to us again. But as much as we have been captivated by Scout, this is probably the right time to let her go. We all have a number of projects to catch up on, and we’re always looking for the next one.

The real benefit of setting today as an end date is that you’ll be able to pencil it in on your Scout Supporter plaques! If you haven’t received yours yet and you were a $30+ Kickstarter supporter, it should be on its way soon. http://www.gotransat.com/images/scoutplaque.jpg

A massive thanks to all for making this project possible and for helping us keep an eye on Scout over the last few months. We hope that you’ve had a good bit of fun watching this tiny boat try to take on the Atlantic; we certainly had fun building her.”

Cheers!

The Scout Crew

 

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