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Two Tall Ships Will Moor in Portland During Coast Guard Birthday

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Barque Eagle arrives in New London May 4, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole Barger)
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Barque Eagle arrives in New London May 4, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole Barger)

Two of the world's most majestic three-masted tall ships will be in Portland Harbor in Maine this weekend on what just happens to be the anniversary of the founding of the United States Coast Guard.

Known as "America's Tall Ship," the Coast Guard's 295-foot barque USS Eagle is scheduled to dock at Portland's Ocean Terminal around 10 a.m. Friday. The Eagle will be joined Saturday morning by another tall ship -- the 200-foot sail-training ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, which was moored off Fort Allen Park Thursday night. Both ships will be open for free, public tours throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday.

The event is sponsored by Tall Ships Portland -- a nonprofit that promotes sailing experiences for high school-age teens -- in conjunction with the Coast Guard, which coincidentally will be celebrating its 227th anniversary on National Coast Guard Day. The Coast Guard was founded by an act of Congress on Aug. 4, 1790.

"We are thrilled to bring these two storied vessels together for Tall Ships Weekend," Alex Agnew, President of Tall Ships Portland, said in a statement. "We hope that the people of Portland and everyone in the area enjoy all that we have planned."

"Portland has a strong maritime heritage, and I hope the entire community takes advantage of the opportunity to visit the ship and meet the cadets and crew," said Capt. Michael Baroody, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England.

The Eagle, based in New London, Connecticut, is the Coast Guard Academy's training ship. It travels the world with cadets in the summer months, serving as a goodwill ambassador for the United States.

Baroody said cadets sail on the Eagle for one to eight weeks, along with instructors. The ship is commanded by Capt. Matthew Meilstrup.

"Maine has one of the oldest seafaring traditions in the country. We have depended on the Coast Guard for hundreds of years to protect our coast and the men and women who go to sea, so we are especially proud to welcome the Eagle back to Portland on Coast Guard Day," Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) said in a statement.

Anyone interested in watching the Eagle sail into Portland Harbor on Friday morning should be able to find a good view.

Willy Ritch, spokesman for Portland Tall Ships, said the Eagle is expected to sail past Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth at approximately 9 a.m.

The ship will then start to head toward the mouth of Portland Harbor, a course that will take it past the breakwater at Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse -- located at Southern Maine Community College -- before the vessel rounds the point at Bug Light Park and Portland Breakwater Lighthouse in South Portland. Spectators should also be able to get a good view from Fort Allen Park on Portland's Eastern Promenade.

Ritch said the Eagle will dock at Ocean Terminal on Portland's waterfront, but will not be open to public tours on Friday. It will be open for tours on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Eagle was built in 1936 by a German shipyard. It was originally operated by Nazi Germany to train cadets for the German Navy, but served as a reparation for the United States after World War II. It can operate on the ocean under full sail at speeds up to 17.5 knots.

Ritch said the Oliver Hazard Perry arrived in Portland Thursday and is currently anchored off the East End. That ship will be available for tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Ocean Terminal is located on the eastern side of the Maine State Pier near the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal.

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is the largest civilian sailing school vessel in the United States. It can accommodate 32 people overnight in addition to 17 crew members.

It is owned and operated by Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, a nonprofit that provides education at sea programs aimed at promoting personal and professional growth.

"If you see the sails of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry appear over the horizon, you might easily believe she was a vessel from over two hundred years ago," the nonprofit says on its website.

--This article is written by Dennis Hoey from Portland Press Herald, Maine and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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