Sponsors of two new sailboats shattered bottles over the vessels’ prows on Friday afternoon as the school officially welcomed the boats into the cadet training fleet.
The Blue Goose and Stormy Petrel are the third and fourth new sailboats to be added to the academy’s Leadership 44 program. The vessels were sponsored by the Coast Guard Academy Class of 1958 as well as the Coast Guard Foundation.
“I think the boats speak for themselves,” said Anne Brengle, president of the Coast Guard Foundation. “They’re just beautiful, and I look forward to tracking their progress in the years to come.”
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The Leadership 44 program brings six second-year cadets on two-week sails overseen by a commissioned officer. During the trip, cadets rotate through different roles and learn to work together as a crew.
John “Jack” Hall, a cadet who recently completed such a sail, said the experience was the best he’s had at the academy so far. He thanked the organizations for their work in procuring the sailboats, and said they are a symbol of the trust the academy places in cadets.
“I already relish every opportunity I’m given to be out on the water, but even I didn’t anticipate just how much the Coastal Sail Program would affect me,” he said.
Superintendent Sandra Stosz said the campus waterfront is an invaluable asset to the academy, allowing cadets to train on vessels ranging as small as 13 feet in length or as large as the barque Eagle.
“We’re thrilled to have a whole system and a program of leadership here instead of just pieces thrown out,” she said. “We’re tying it all together.”
The eight new sailboats were designed by Dave Pedrick and manufactured by Morris Yachts. They replace four Luder boats used for the same purpose.
The Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association is raising funds for five of the boats and the Coast Guard Foundation is raising the money for three. Each sailboat costs approximately $900,000.
“With eight boats, we’re able to do the entire second class during their second class summer,” said Commander Jim Sylvester, a 1971 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and president of the Alumni Association.
The Coast Guard has taken possession of six of the sailboats, and the final two are going through their final phases of completion and sea trials. The first and second boats were , and the fifth and sixth are scheduled to be christened on Sept. 7 and Sept. 28.