New iron for the Eagle

The nation’s tall ship, the Gorch Fock-class segelschulschiff training barque USCGC Eagle (WIX-327), America’s only active duty square rigger, recently just picked up only her third engine (aka the “iron topsail”) in her 82-year career. Her first, a 700hp diesel, was installed by the Germans. Her second, 1,000 horsepower Caterpillar D399, was recently installed 30+ years ago.

The ship’s new model, an MTU 8V4000, has 1,340bhp (1000kW) of power. The choice of the MTU over a Caterpillar is a good primer for officers headed to a fleet where the two most common small patrol types, the 154-foot Sentinel-class and the 87-foot Marine Protector-class, both use various MTU diesel. Formerly the USCG utilized twin Caterpillars in both the Point and Island-class patrol boats, but the first is long gone and the second are heading out rapidly.

According to the Coast Guard, “This eight-cylinder engine is half the size of the old Caterpillar and is environmentally friendly. It releases cleaner air than it takes in.”

Eagle has a busy schedule this year, taking two different OCS classes out as well as a number of phases of cadet recruit training on a six-week international cruise that includes port calls in Colombia, Curaçao, Honduras and the DR.

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