The first of eight of the U.S. Coast Guard's new fleet of uniquely designed and newly constructed 44-foot sailboats was christened and launched under a clear, sunny sky Thursday.
Bob Hallock, chairman of the procurement committee, spoke about the unique design of the boat, which was customized for the Academy's sail training program.
"This is our boat," he said above the noise of flags waving vigorously in the wind. "And today is a very good day to go sailing."
The L44-01 Shearwater will be used by the Academy's cadets for a 12-day sail training program where five to six cadets take the boat out to sea and work in rotating stations, from cook to captain. The eight new boats will replace four 40-year-old boats and open up the program to all junior and senior cadets.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to have a boat better than a Navy boat," said Rear Admiral J. Scott Burhoe, the outgoing superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy.
Burhoe joked that the inclusion of hot water will give the school an advantage with new recruits.
The entire process was quick, according to Hallock, who said the entire process, from the first phone call through design, construction and to the launch took "three days shy of 30 months."
The USGA Class of 1953 sponsored the first boat, which costs around $800,000.
"We decided we wanted to be part of this," said Rear Admiral Richard Cueroni, who spoke on behalf of the Class of 1953. "One letter, a few phone calls and we met the goal."
The boat was built by acclaimed boat builder Morris Yachts and designed by world-renowned naval architect David Pedrick of Newport, Rhode Island in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the Coast Guard Foundation, Alumni Association and Parents Association.