Sea stories: Pure salt

Red Shannon devoted 33 years of service to the Coast Guard, logging a record 12 years aboard Eagle. It’s a ship he knows from stem to stern. He first reported in 1954, as a quartermaster first class. His last tour – from 1981 to 1987 was served aboard Eagle as a chief warrant officer and the ship’s sail master. Following Eagle, he earned his master’s license and spent an additional 23 years at sea as the captain of square-riggers and other ships. These experiences, along with his extensive historical knowledge of both sailing and the Coast Guard, make him an ideal instructor for the trainees and crew. He’s still teaching advanced ship handling at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.


Weathering the seas

With 23 sails harnessing wind as the ship’s primary means of propulsion, Eagle’s operators take the weather very seriously. While Eagle generally navigates in the direction of its next port call, the ship often sails on whatever wind is present. The ship can only sail approximately 75 degrees off the true wind, and thus if the wind is blowing from the direction of the next port call, planning a transit can be challenging. Observing, predicting and responding to the weather all play a huge role in life on the barque.


Swabs at Sea

It can be daunting when swabs first walk up to the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle during ‘Swab Summer.’ The triple-masted, barque-rigged, tall ship sways in the water like a brilliant reminder of our presence at sea and the 223 years of maritime history in our service.