Edmonds Discovery Programs
A Leader in Conservation Education since 1980

On Tuesday July 1, 2008, the USCGC Eagle sailed into Puget sound on her way to Tacoma's tall ships festival. Eagle is a 295' barque used as a training cutter for future officers of the United States Coast Guard. Often called "America's Tall Ship," the gleaming white square-rigged vessel attracted quite a crowd of onlookers on the Edmonds waterfront.

For over an hour the vessel lay off Edmonds while dignitaries and members of the news media were shuttled from the Edmonds Marina to the waiting ship. When all were aboard, Eagle sailed on; but many will long remember her short presence on the waterfront.


USCGC Eagle has a colorful history. The ship was built in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and commissioned as Segelschulschiff Horst Wessel (named after a well known Nazi party member). Five other sister ships were also built, many of which are likewise still used to this day by other nations as training ships for their naval/maritime academies.

Originally operated by Nazi Germany to train cadets for the German Navy, the ship was taken by the United States as a war prize after World War II. In 1946, a U.S. Coast Guard crew - aided by the German crew still on board - sailed the tall ship from Bremerhaven to its new homeport in New London, Connecticut.

Built during the twilight era of sail, the design and construction of Eagle embody centuries of development in the shipbuilder's art. The hull is steel four-tenths of an inch thick. There are two full-length steel decks with a platform deck below. The raised forecastle and quarterdeck are made of three-inch thick teak over steel, as are the weather decks.

Eagle eagerly takes to the element for which she was designed. Effortlessly and gracefully, she drives under full sail in the open ocean at speeds up to 17 knots.