Little Boat Floats By Itself From Newfoundland to Norway — In 14 Months

One boat’s solo 3,700km journey across the North Atlantic started with what looked like an innocent towing operation.

Jason Burton lost the boat, a 6.4m skiff, off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, last year, the CBC reported. He was sure he’d never see it again, but the Atlantic conspired otherwise.

It washed up onshore in Vega, Norway on September 16, after 14 long months alone and adrift.

“Lo and behold, she made quite a journey for herself,” Burton said.

One could say so. It started in June 2021, on a moderately windy afternoon in Trinity Bay. Burton planned on towing the little craft, an Osprey 210, from his home port of Lumsden to Conception Bay to fish for capelin.

“There was a bit of wind when we left, 25 knots or so, but it wasn’t too bad,” he said.

At first, Burton and the crew watched the boat intently. But when the wind died down, they turned their attention elsewhere. The next time they looked back, it was gone.

A search ensued, but conditions grew heavier at sea. It became clear that they wouldn’t find the missing boat.

Burton knew that inland winds blowing across Trinity Bay were notorious but forgot to put a beacon in the boat that day.

“Famous, Trinity Bay is, for southwest wind,” Burton said.

trinity bay

Lumsden to Trinity Bay, Newfoundland; a 150km trip.

 

Upside-down

Dutifully, he reported the lost vessel to the Canadian Coast Guard. A few days later, they learned that a supply vessel had spotted it floating upside-down about 60 km from where it disappeared.

Receiving the news the boat had capsized, Burton wrote it off, expecting it to sink.

“She’s floating bottom up, but once she turns upright, the air’s going to come out of her, and she’s gone,” he told the CBC.

But this September, a Norwegian ocean cleanup organization called In the Same Boat issued a Facebook post that got Burton’s attention. A 6.4m skiff had appeared in Vega, lodged against a rock.

“We got a response from an owner in Newfoundland, and it was just amazing to see how far this boat has traveled,” said Rold Hogset of In the Same Boat. “We have never found anything that big from that far before.”

osprey 210

The group posted photos with identifying details in hopes of finding the owner. Photo: In the Same Boat

 

Hogset said the organization plans to repair the boat, which suffered some degradation along its journey. But after that, it won’t return to Newfoundland and Labrador. The CBC said that Burton has already replaced the Osprey 210 and commented that whatever the group decides to do with it is okay with him.