The tall ship Eagle has landed in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - March 18, 2011 (WPVI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle arrived at Penn's Landing on Friday morning on the first stop of its 75th-anniversary tour across the Atlantic.
The three-mast barque-rigged cutter was ushered up the Delaware River at low tide by an entourage that included the Philadelphia Fire Boat Independence and two Moran tug boats. Both the USS New Jersey, from Camden, and the USS Olympia, from Philadelphia, issued gun salutes that the Eagle returned.
The tall ship's anniversary tour includes a visit to its birthplace in the German port city of Hamburg, where the 295-foot-long cutter, originally the Horst Wessel, was built in 1936.
The U.S. recommissioned the vessel in May 1946 after it was claimed as a war reparation from Germany. About 230 Coast Guard Academy cadets, over the course of two sessions, will undergo training aboard it.
Two of the original crew members of that post-World War II voyage, Horst Boettge and Emil Babish, will attend an evening reception hosted by the Coast Guard Foundation at the Seaport Museum later Friday.
Aboard the cutter are Capt. Eric C. Jones, the Eagle's commanding officer, and the cutter's permanent crew of 55. Additionally, 41 officer candidates, members of the USS Constitution, cadets from the Merchant Marines, New York Maritime and Texas Maritime and guests are also aboard.
The Eagle was built with the heaviest steel to manage ice in the Baltic Sea and engineered to withstand the wind and waves of Cape Horn, off South America. Jones believes the cutter has 50 more years of service in her.
"She's very well-built, and we work like crazy to take care of her," Jones said. "Just like anyone who owns a boat, they know that it's a never-ending effort."
Much of that involves the sails. The Eagle has over 5 miles of rigging and 22 sails that encompass 22,000 square feet. It can reach speeds of 10.5 knots, or 12 mph, under power and more than 18 knots, or 20 mph, under sail.
The Eagle will be open for public tours this weekend from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, coast guard, local/state
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