Sailing the Eagle Barque: America’s Tall Ship is Training USCG Cadets

The USCG Cutter Eagle Barque is America’s tall ship sailboat. You will see and hear the story of how this amazing tall ship and square rigger, the USCGC Eagle is manned by U.S. Coast Guard Cadets sailing the seven seas. Hear the story of how it became the only active duty tall ship sailing vessel in the U.S. military.

From the USCG press kit:

…This Eagle was built in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned as Horst Wessel in 1936. Originally operated by Germany to train cadets for the German Navy, the ship was a reparation for the United States after World War II. In 1946, a U.S. Coast Guard crew – aided by the German crew still on board – sailed the tallship from Bremerhaven to its new homeport in New London, Connecticut. Eagle returned to Bremerhaven for the first time since World War II in the summer of 2005, to an enthusiastic welcome.
Built during the twilight era of sail, the design and construction of Eagle embody centuries of development in the shipbuilder’s art. Te hull is steel, four-tenths of an inch thick. There are two full-length steel decks with a platform deck below. The raised forecastle and quarterdeck are made of three-inch thick teak over steel, as are the weather decks. Eagle eagerly takes to the elements for which she was designed. Effortlessly and gracefully, she drives under full sail in the open ocean at speeds up to 17.5 knots. Currently Eagle’s homeport is the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of a Service Life Extension Project that will keep the ship away from its standard homeport of New London, Connecticut, for several years. At the end of this restoration period Eagle will return to New London, where she will rest along the pier on the Tames River near the Coast Guard Academy when not on a training sail.
Te Coast Guard Academy was originally founded in 1876 when nine students boarded the Revenue Cutter Dobbin. Approximately 1,000 men and women attend the Academy each year, all of whom will sail at one time or another on America’s only active duty square-rigger…

To maneuver Eagle under sail, the crew must handle more than 22,000 square feet of sail and five miles of rigging. Over 200 lines control the sails and yards; every crewmember, cadet and officer candidate must become intimately familiar with the name, operation, and function of each line.
A permanent crew of eight offcers and 50 enlisted personnel maintain the ship year round. They provide a strong base of knowledge and seamanship for the training of up to 150 cadets or officer candidates at a time. On the decks and in the rigging of Eagle, young men and women get a taste of salty air and life at sea. They are tested and challenged, often to the limits of endurance. Working aloft, they meet fear and learn to overcome it. ”
Video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally
U.S. Coast Guard District 7
The cutter Eagle serves as a training vessel for Coast Guard Academy cadets and candidates from the Officer Candidate School. It is the only active-duty sailing vessel in America’s military, and one of only two commissioned sailing vessels, along with the USS Constitution.
U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally
Video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Masaschi
U.S. Coast Guard District 5 PADET Baltimore
Video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Masaschi
U.S. Coast Guard District 5 PADET Baltimore
Video by Petty Officer 1st Class William Colclough
U.S. Coast Guard District 1
Video by Telfair Brown
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
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On the Slow Boat Sailing Podcast Linus Wilson has interviewed the crew of Sailing SV Delos, WhiteSpotPirates (Untie the Lines), Chase the Story Sailing, Gone with the Wynns, MJ Sailing, Sailing Doodles, SV Prism, Sailing Miss Lone Star, and many others.
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