US Coast Guard Cutter Eagle arrives in St Thomas, USVI

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The US Coast Guard Cutter Eagle sails from Norfolk, Virginia, to Boston, June 12, 2017. The Eagle is a 295-foot barque sailing vessel used to train Coast Guard Academy cadets in the historic aspects of sailing, leadership, navigation and teamwork. (US Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist David Lau/Released)

ST THOMAS, USVI — The US Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, “America’s Tall Ship”, arrived to St Thomas Harbor in the US Virgin Islands on Friday morning and moored at the West India Company dock, where the crew will be offering free public tours through Sunday.

“We couldn’t think of a better place to kick off our 2018 summer than lovely St Thomas,” said Capt. Matt Meilstrup, Commanding Officer of the Eagle. “Many Virgin Islanders have sailed Eagle and served in the Coast Guard. The cadets and crew are eager to experience the warm hospitality, explore the island, and help in the community. We will be open for public tours and we would love to have you see the 82 year old Eagle.”

At 295 feet in length, the Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in US government service.

Constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German Navy, the Eagle was taken by the United States as a war reparation following World War II.

With more than 23,500 square feet of sail and six miles of rigging, the Eagle has served as a classroom at sea to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience.

A seasoned permanent crew of 8 assigned officers and 50 assigned enlisted personnel maintain the ship and provide a strong base of knowledge and seamanship for the training of up to 153 cadets or officer candidates at a time. Augmented by temporary crew during training deployments, Eagle routinely sails with over 230 hands on board.

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