In the nuclear and space age, squaresails still belly to the wind, wooden blocks still creak, halyards slap against tall masts and the quarterdeck is an honest location. For many bluewater sailors, one of the finest examples of this fast-disappearing “splendid anachronism” can be seen in the USCGC Eagle, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's training barque that is still actively operating as one of the world's great sailing ships.
The Eagle, originally named the Horst Wessel, was built in 1936 by Blohm and Voss in Hamburg, Germany. She served as a German naval training ship and then as a cargo ship during World War II. After the war, the U.S. Coast Guard claimed her as a war reparation.
While other academies and training centers have largely abandoned old-fashioned methods of seamanship training for newer laboratories, simulation devices, and programmed instruction facilities, the Coast Guard continues to regard experience under sail as an additional prerequisite for its commissioned officer corps.