Reader Contributed Schools

Duffy Elementary Joins the Volvo Ocean Race

Christian Maldonado, Jack Hoye, and Jack Kennedy. Submitted photo

The West Hartford Elementary School students are following the around the world race as an educational experience.

Press release written and submitted by Natalie DeLaCruz, Duffy Elementary School

Christian Maldonado, Jack Hoye, and Jack Kennedy. Submitted photo

Christian Maldonado, Jack Hoye, and Jack Kennedy. Submitted photo

Spring will start with an exciting race for Duffy Elementary School students. Starting April 19, over 200 students will be following the Volvo Ocean Race sailboats from Itajai, Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island.

There are seven boats competing in this around the world race that started on October 11, 2014: Team SCA, Abu Dhabi, Dongfeng, Team Brunel, Team Alvimedica, MAPFRE, and Team Vestas Wind. The male and female crew members represents 19 nationalities and are all racing on the same class boat. Team Vestas Wind is currently under repair and will not be racing until June.

The “captains” of the boats in Ms. Clare Taylor’s 5th grade class are Molly, Andrew, Olivia, Adam, Lowen, Victor, and Natalie. Unfortunately, Natalie’s boat was Vestas Wind and she and her “crew” were split up between the boats when Vestas had to withdraw from the race.

Henry Bissonette and Cathy Keophilavanh

Henry Bissonette and Cathy Keophilavanh


Dongfeng, from China, broke their mast at the tip of South America and the kids are hoping that the ship can be repaired by the start of the 6th leg.

Molly’s crew is Natalie and Maya and they are following SCA, a boat of all women. “It is going to be exciting to follow the race in real-time,” said Molly.

The students will be tracking wind speed, boat direction, wave height and the weather during the three week race. All the boats have Duffy classroom sponsors and 12 classes are following specific boats. “Even though our boat may not win we will never lose heart,” Adam shared.

Ms. Taylor and some families from Duffy are planning on going to Newport to welcome the sailors and participate in the free actives happening for children.

This will be the second sailing race followed by Duffy students. Twelve years ago 3rd grade students followed The Sites Alive race, sponsored by the Hartford Courant, from Hong Kong to New York City and the students won a satellite phone call from the ship in the Indian Ocean.

“It is an exciting way to teach kids about geography, adventure, math, science and technology,” Taylor said. The April 19 race can be followed at the Volvo Ocean Race website site and educational programs are available off the Newport stopover site.

For more information contact Duffy school at 860-521-0110 or email [email protected].

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