Originally christened Horst Wessel, the Eagle was built in 1936 and used by Nazi Germany to train sailors. In 1946 the U.S. took it as a war prize though and sailed it back to New London, CT where it's been based ever since.
If you’ve spent anytime in major port cities in the North East, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the Eagle. It’s absolutely unmistakable as it’s the only tall ship adorned with the signature Coast Guard red racing stripes. Also, at 295 feet length overall and with 22,000 square feet of sail area, it's massive.
I grew up seeing the Eagle regularly in New London and have always wanted to go aboard. Last weekend I luckily stumbled into my first chance to do so (evidenced by these iPhone photos) when the Coast Guard opened her up to the public for the afternoon. It’s not a rare occurrence. The ship is used to train Coast Guard Academy cadets and officer candidates and also as sort of an ambassador for the U.S Coast Guard at home and abroad.
Getting to board a ship like the Eagle is amazing simply for the scale. The amount of line, sails, railings and hardware is just so far beyond any typical boat. It was clearly built to handle any seas and travel any ocean in the world. And this incredible capability makes it jaw dropping in person.