Coast Guard Eagle to open for tours in New London this weekend
The U.S. Coast Guard barque Eagle, the 295-foot-long tall ship the Coast Guard Academy uses for cadet training, is scheduled to arrive at City Pier in New London on Friday.
It will be moored there until Sunday, with free public tours available from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday, noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to noon Sunday. There will also be military and first responder tours, with a valid ID, from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday.
The Eagle is scheduled to depart New London on Monday; arrive in Portland, Maine, on Aug. 6; and leave Portland on Aug. 9. It's scheduled to arrive in New London again on Aug. 13, with cadets disembarking and summer training ending the next day.
The ship originally was scheduled to be in Newport this weekend. But Capt. Michael Turdo, commanding officer of the Eagle, said there was limited pier availability due to the Newport Jazz Festival, and he'll look for an opportunity to bring the ship back to Newport soon.
The Eagle last left New London on Monday and went offshore for “swab shorts,” a short cruise that is the first time underway on a ship for some swabs — those preparing to become cadets at the academy in the fall. Cadets also sail on the Eagle for one week after their first year at the academy and for five to six weeks after their second year.
"Not only does it play a critical role in their development as future Coast Guard officers, but also an opportunity for us to sail around the world as ambassadors of the United States," Turdo said in a video earlier this year from Ponta Delgada in the Azores. The Eagle left New London on May 8, making it to the Azores on May 22.
Turdo said the Azores has been a port of call for the Eagle many times over the years, and at about 1,800 miles away, "it's in a perfect spot" for making a necessary stop and reprovisioning. The Eagle then sailed to Iceland, arriving in Reykjavik on June 9.
"I congratulate Iceland on a successful Arctic Council and Arctic Coast Guard Forum chairmanship, and I thank them for their persistent and reliable partnership in the Arctic Council and Arctic Coast Guard Forum," Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, said in a news release at the time. "Maintaining a strong, rules-based order in the Arctic remains a top priority, both for my command and the U.S. Coast Guard. Steadfast partners like Iceland enable and enforce this."
He joined Jonathan Moore, principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, in meeting with officials from the Icelandic coast guard and Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs aboard the Eagle.
There was a phase change in Iceland, with the second cadet phase beginning. Also in Iceland, Chief Warrant Officer Melissa Polson reported aboard the Eagle. She is the first woman to be assigned as the Eagle's sail master in the ship's history.
The Eagle then left for Bermuda, arriving July 10, and last arrived in New London on July 21.
This is all very different from last summer, when the ship stayed in New London rather than making stops at ports around the world, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you go
The Coast Guard barque Eagle will be moored at City Pier from Friday until Sunday. Free public tours will be available:
• 1 to 6 p.m. Friday
• noon to 7 p.m. Saturday
• 9 a.m. to noon Sunday
There will also be military and first responder tours, with a valid ID, from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday.