Did you know that the Unites States Coast Guard Academy still operates a tall ship?
According to Captain Eric Jones, Eagle’s 26th and current Commanding Officer “Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the Stars and Stripes and the only square-rigger in U.S. government service. A three-masted barque, Eagle‘s foremast and mainmast carry square sails and her mizzenmast carries fore-and-aft sails. The ship was built in 1936 in Germany, and commissioned as Horst Wessel, one of three sail training ships operated by the pre-World War II German navy. At the close of World War II, Horst Wessel was taken as a war reparation by the United States, recommissioned as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle and sailed to New London, Connecticut, our home port ever since.”
A permanent crew of six officers and 50 enlisted personnel maintain the ship and provide a strong base of knowledge and seamanship for the training of up to 150 cadets or officer candidates at a time. During training deployments, Eagle adds additional temporary crew and routinely sails with over 230 hands on board. Eagle offers future officers the opportunity to put into practice the navigation, engineering, and other professional theory they have previously learned in the classroom. The challenges of living aboard and working a large square-rigger at sea build the teamwork, character, and leadership skills necessary for success in the USCG Service.
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, and every crew member, Cadet, and officer candidate must become intimately familiar with the name, operation, and function of each line.
Beam, greatest – 39.1 feet
Freeboard – 9.1 feet
Draft, fully loaded – 16 feet
Displacement – 1824 tons
Ballast (lead) – 380 tons
Fuel oil – 23,402 gallons
Anchors – 3,500 lbs. port, 4,400 lbs. starboard
Rigging – 6 miles, standing and running
Height of mainmast – 147.3 feet
Height of foremast – 147.3 feet
Height of mizzenmast – 132.0 feet
Fore and main yard – 78.8 feet
Speed under power – 10 knots
Speed under full sail – 17 knots
Sail area – 22,300 square feet
Engine – 1,000 horsepower diesel Caterpillar D399 engine
Generators – two-320 kilowatt Caterpillar 3406 generators
Training complement – 6 officers, 54 crew, 20 temporary active duty crew, 140 cadets avg.
Maximum capacity – 239 people
Major missions – Training vessel for Coast Guard Academy cadets and officer candidates
For additional information go the USCGC Eagle’s official website
To get an idea of life onboard Eagle, both hard work and play, enjoy the short movie below: