Houseboat Gifted to 'Homeless Youth' Washes Up Empty on Other Side of Atlantic

This weekend, a mysterious, tar-covered houseboat apparently built by a Canadian adventurer was discovered unoccupied on Irish beach—some 3,000 miles from where it was last seen.

According to an Irish official, coast guard personnel initially mistook the strange watercraft for a travel trailer due to its odd shape and size. Once they pulled it ashore, however, authorities found the boat had solar panels and an electric motor inside.

The only clue to the craft’s origin was a cryptic note left scrawled on an inside wall. The note was apparently written by Rick Small, a Canadian man who made headlines last year after riding a solar-powered bike across the country.


“I, Rick Small, donate this structure to a homeless youth,” read the message. “To give them a better life that Newfoundlanders choose not to do! No rent, no mortgage, no hydro.”

It’s unclear if the boat was indeed claimed by anyone, but a Canadian woman says she believed the vessel to be abandoned when she saw it floating in Newfoundland in late July.


Other Newfoundland residents say Small initially planned to sail the boat across the Atlantic.

“I saw him on the bay his first day out,” wrote Ted Perrin on Facebook. “Flat calm no seas at all……the next day or so after we had north east winds which are bad here. Guess he found out quickly that the North Atlantic is no joke.”




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Anyone bother to follow up with Rick Small about this? Seems like a solid starting point.