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Coast Guard cutter Eagle arriving on July 4

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Welcome aboard: The US Coast Guard cutter Eagle

The American tall ship Eagle is set to spend the July 4 weekend here in Bermuda.

The historic vessel, in use as a training ship for the US Coast Guard is expected to arrive at port in Hamilton tomorrow, and will be open to tours on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday.

The 295ft Cutter is the largest tall ship flying the American flag and the only active square-rigger in US government service.

It was constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German Navy. However the vessel was taken by the United States as a war reparation following Second World War.

A US Consulate spokeswoman said: “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 permanent crew of six officers and 55 enlisted personnel maintain the ship and train up to 150 cadets at a time in the skills of navigation, damage control, watch-standing, engineering and deck seamanship.

“The summer 2015 deployment spans three months, stopping at 14 port calls, including Bermuda and the Bahamas.

“While in port, cadets from the Eagle will engage in several community projects with Habitat for Humanity Bermuda and Keep Bermuda Beautiful.”

Tours of the ship will be available between 1pm and 7pm on Saturday, and between 10am and 7pm on Sunday and Monday.

While the American Consulate will not be hosting any July 4 events this weekend, fireworks are expected over the west end Saturday night as the American Society of Bermuda enjoy the group’s annual members-only Independence Day celebration at Moresby Plains.

A crewmember on the US Coast Guard tallship Eagle ties up as the boatmoors (photo by David Skinner)