With 90 meters in length and its three masts, the current ‘USCGC Eagle’ in the service of the US Navy Coast Guard is a ship with a long history of 87 years. She arrived at the port of Funchal yesterday, being moored at the south pier and today, like tomorrow, she is open to visits on board, between 10 am and 7 pm.
With capacity for up to 230 crew, including 180 sailors in training (it does the same as the ‘NRP Sagres’ does for the Portuguese Navy), the ‘Eagle’ came from the seas of northern Europe (the last port was in Aalborg , in Denmark) and should head to the other side of the Atlantic, on Wednesday, more precisely to Hamilton, in Bermuda, where it should arrive on July 21st, stopping before returning to base.
However, during these days in Madeira, you will be able to get to know from the inside the octogenarian history of this training ship, even when it belonged to the navy of the III Reich. Before being given as war booty to the Navy of the United States of America, after World War II, in April 1945, it even received Adolf Hitler himself on board.
In 1936, still in the early days of Nazi power and on the eve of the last major world conflict, it was named ‘Horst Wessel’ in honor of a martyr of the Nazi party’s paramilitary militia. That past, today really left behind, and in the last 78 years.
One of the curiosities of this long history is that on its ‘inaugural voyage’ (from May 30 to July 12, 1946) from Bremerhaven, in defeated Germany, to the port of New London, in Connecticut, where it has been its base since then, the ‘Eagle’ sailed over the port of Funchal, as evidenced by this plaque that marks the moment.