BOSTON — The U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle, "America's Tall Ship," will begin the Grand Parade of Sail into Boston Harbor at 9 a.m. Saturday when 56 sailing ships from around the world arrive for Sail Boston 2017.
Led by Eagle, the parade of majestic tall ships will arrive in flotillas beginning from Broad Sound into the main channel of Boston Harbor, along the Boston waterfront, turning at Charlestown, before proceeding to their assigned berthing areas.
The Eagle will be moored at the Charlestown Navy Yard and open for free public tours June 18-21 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Built during the twilight era of sail, the design and construction of Eagle embody centuries of development in the shipbuilder's art.
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.
To maneuver Eagle under sail, the crew must handle more than 22,000 square feet of sail and five miles of rigging. Over 200 lines control the sails and yards, and every crew member, cadet and officer candidate, must become intimately familiar with the name, operation, and function of each line.
A permanent crew of eight assigned officers and 50 assigned enlisted personnel maintain the ship year round. They provide a strong base of knowledge and seamanship for the training of up to 150 U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets or officer candidates at a time.
Eagle is scheduled to depart Boston June 22. From Boston, the ship will head north to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
Thousands of people are expected to view the ships within the harbor, and the U.S. Coast Guard has issued timelines and guidelines that apply to all spectator vessels during the Grand Parade of Sail and the traffic pattern for the event from June 17-21.