America's Only Sailing Vessel Used For Training By US Coast Guard

10:39 AM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - The U.S. Coast Guard's only tall ship is docked at the Port of St. Petersburg this weekend.

10 News reporter Allison Kropff sailed from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle on Friday morning. It took about three hours from the Sunshine Skyway to the Port of St. Petersburg. We learned a lot about the Eagle and even got to take a tour below deck.

At 295 feet, the Eagle has been dubbed "America's Tall Ship." We had the chance to get on board and sail into Port with the crew. Much like cadet training, it's a unique experience.

"It's a training ship. Everyone is learning. It's basically an underway school where you can learn the essentials of navigation, the engineering department, of anything really," says First Class cadet Brooklyn Andreason.

The crew handles more than 22,000 square feet of sail, five miles of rigging and over 200 lines to control the sails.

Forty-five cadets have called this ship home for the last five weeks. They run the Eagle, along with six permanent crew members and 55 enlisted personnel maintain the ship year-round.

"You do learn a lot about sailing of square rig vessels and that's just a cool knowledge to have," says First Class cadet Grant de Visser.

The Eagle was built in Germany in 1936. It was taken by the US after World War II as a war prize. Below deck is the original plaque. There are several things that are still the originals, including 85% of the wood in the Flag Cabin, the furniture and a sink with the words "auff" and "zu" in German.

For the cadets, it's a great experience to be training on a ship with so much history.

"It's great to be on a training ship that's been her purpose her entire life, all 76 years," says de Visser.

You have the chance to see The Eagle this weekend. Tours start Friday at 2 p.m. and run until 8:30 p.m. then again on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Learn more about the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle here:

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