Photo by Jacqueline Bennett Barque Eagle, America's Tallship, New London, Connecticut August 2015.

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett Barque Eagle, America’s Tallship, New London, Connecticut August 2015.

Write-Up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


Visitors to the Barque Eagle, “America’s Tallship”, were hospitably greeted Sunday by members of the United States Coast Guard at New London Harbor. A training ship for cadets, having completed the 2015 summer cadet training, the “Eagle” arrived in its homeport of New London near the USCG Academy on Friday, August 14. The Eagle is scheduled to depart this morning en route to Portsmouth, Virginia. 008


On this sunny and hot summer day, curious visitors eagerly boarded the massive ship walking up a boarding ramp then immediately down a steep row of steps before touring the vessel – a World War II prize of war. Constructed in 1936, it was originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the pre-WWII German navy, according to the USCG/Department of Homeland Security. Taken by the U.S. as a war reparation, the tallship was recommissioned as the USCG Cutter Barque Eagle and sailed to New London.

Boarding the USCG Cutter Barque Eagle.

Boarding the USCG Cutter Barque Eagle.


The Eagle is 295 feet in length (231 feet at waterline) with a 39.1 foot beam, a 9.1 foot freeboard, a 16 foot draft when fully loaded, has an 1,816 ton displacement, a 380 ton ballast, has a 147.3 foot high foretruck and maintruck, 132 foot mizzentruck, a 78.8 foot fore and mainyard, a 22,227 foot sail area. It carries anchors that weigh 3,860 pounds and can carry 24,215 gallons of fuel oil.


The USCG notes that the Eagle is the largest tallship “flying the Stars & Stripes” and is the only square rigger in U.S. government service. At full speed under power the Eagle travels the water at 10 knots. Under sail it’s speed is even faster, 17 knots.


Courtesy of the USCG a view of the Barque Eagle in full sail.

Courtesy of the USCG a view of the Barque Eagle in full sail.


Although New London is the Eagle’s homeport, it will currently be away for long periods of time in that the historic tallship is involved in a multi-year Service Life Extension Project in Baltimore, Maryland. The summer cadet training brought the vessel from New London to Key West-Florida, the Bahamas, Norfolk-Virginia, Staten Island-New York, Philadelphia-PA, Bermuda, Portland-Maine, Boston-MA, New York-NY, Newport-Rhode Island then back to New London. After Virginia, the Eagle will return to Baltimore.


Aptly described by the USCG as “more than a school for seamanship”, training aboard the Eagle is said to provide an “unparalleled opportunity” to develop qualities such as confidence, courage, and good judgement desired by the academy.


“If wind is the force that can drive the ship, it is human ingenuity that has developed the means to harness the force, and the crew who must employ those means to make it happen.”








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