Boat rides in the summer – pretty typical. 1,200 mile boat rides on Boston Whalers, though, aren’t as common, but that hasn’t deterred three entrepreneurs-turned-crewmen from tackling a journey from Norfolk to Boston on their 19-foot Whaler. John Mirassou, John Bertsch and Marty Burke hope to rediscover the American spirit during their journey, dubbed “Only in America,” (OIA) which began on June 3.

To help these three adventurers remain connected to the mainland and share stories of their journey along the way, Microsoft equipped the crew with Microsoft Office 365 (which launched yesterday!), Windows Phone and WiFi – all technologies that are enabling the men to connect and communicate anytime, anywhere, even while at sea.

Office 365 has had a major impact on how the crew orchestrates its journey from the 1987 voyage where a public phone in a marina was their sole communication vehicle. Now the crew uses:

  • Exchange Online to send updates of their journey to fans and to send notes to loved ones.
  • Lync Online to send instant messages, PC-to-PC audio/video calls and Online Meetings to update key sponsors along the way.
  • SharePoint Online to collaborate as they travel, creating journal entries and uploading media and related documents.
  • Windows Phones to capture and share stories via e-mail and documents while seamlessly uploading content from their various ports of call to their SharePoint Online site.

Check out the Office 365 YouTube page for regular updates from the crew about all the ways they’re leveraging the technology on their journey.

The OIA journey will conclude in Boston on July 4, when the boat and crew will escort the USS Constitution as she maneuvers through Boston Harbor and gives her annual 21 Gun Salute. What better way to celebrate the holiday that marks our nation’s freedom and enduring spirit than to welcome the crew as they finish the final leg of their journey? If you own a boat and would like to join OIA as it escorts the USS Constitution, you can find more information here.

And while you’re there, keep your eyes peeled for the Office 365 balloons, which will be on the OIA boat and other boats on the flotilla.

To learn more about the OIA journey and crew, you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook or at www.onlyinamerica.biz. For more information about Microsoft Office 365, visit www.office365.com.