USCGC Eagle

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USCG_Eagle.jpg
USCGC Eagle under sail

The USCGC Eagle (ex Horst Wessel) is a three masted barque serving as a school ship for the United States Coast Guard. Home ported in New London, Connecticut, she is one of the sister ships of the Gorch Fock.

The ship was built in 1936 as the second of five ships, at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. She was launched on June 13, 1936, baptized Horst Wessel, and commissioned as a school ship for the German Reichsmarine on September 17, 1936. She was homeported in Kiel on the Baltic Sea.

In the three years before World War II, she undertook numerous training cruises in European waters, but also visited the Caribbean. In 1941 she was converted to a cargo ship, transporting men and supplies throughout the Baltic Sea, but continued to perform training missions as well. The ship is said to have downed three aircraft in combat during this period.

After the war, the Horst Wessel was confiscated by the American troops. She was first sent to Wilhelmshaven, Germany, for repairs. On May 15, 1946, the German barque was commissioned into U.S. Coast Guard service as the Eagle and was sailed by her German crew including the Captain together with American sailors from Bremerhaven, Germany to her new home port of New London, Connecticut. She rode out a hurricane during her trip and arrived in New London safely.

In mid-1976, the Coast Guard decided to add the "racing stripe" to her otherwise unadorned white hull. She was the last cutter so painted.

The Eagle is slightly larger than her sister ship Gorch Fock. She has a sparred length of 89.7 m (295 ft), a beam of 11.9 m (39 ft), and a displacement of 1755 tons. She carries 22 sails for a total of 1983  (21344 ft²) and can reach a top speed of 17 knots (31 km/h) under sail. Her auxiliary diesel engine is with its 560 kW (750 hp) also somewhat more powerful than that of the Gorch Fock. The Eagle has a range of 5450 nautical miles (10,000 km) at her cruise speed of 7.5 knots (14 km/h) under diesel power.

The Eagle has a standing crew of six officers and 29 enlisted men; on training missions, she carries on the average a complement of 12 officers, 38 crew, and between 150 and 175 cadets. Each year, she takes two longer training cruises to the Caribbean or to Europe, and two shorter ones along the U.S. east coast.

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