Local News

U.S. Coast Guard's 'Tall Ship' docks in Wilmington

Posted August 6, 2010 3:49 p.m. EDT
Updated August 6, 2010 7:30 p.m. EDT

— The U.S. Coast Guard's tall ship, the Eagle, is docked in Wilmington through Sunday. The ship came up the Cape Fear River on Friday morning and was greeted with a bang.

Sid and Ida Bowman along with dozens of others went to Fort Fisher to see "America's Tall Ship.”

“It’s just a spectacular site,” Sid Bowman said. “(There’s) something patriotic about seeing the Coast Guard ship.”

The Word War II-era ship was taken from the Germans as a spoil of war.

So impressive is the 295 foot barque that Fort Fisher staff decided a long-time tradition of firing a salute with a Civil War peplica cannon was in order.

“Whenever a friendly vessel would sail up the river, the commander of Fort Fisher would fire a salute,” said Paul Laird, of the non-profit group Friends of Fort Fisher.

“It’s so complicated. It takes six people to move the gun, get it ready and fire it,” Fort Fisher assistant site manager Amy Thornton said.

Gunner Jessica Sutton said the blast was awesome. “It was a ground shaker,” she said.

The Eagle returned the salute with its barley audible small cannon then continued upstream to the North Carolina State Port in Wilmington, where it will dock for the weekend.

Free tours of the ship are available. Tickets are free and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

A limited number of tickets for Saturday and Sunday tours will be available only on Saturday at the USCG Cutter Diligence parking lot, 109 N. Water Street in downtown Wilmington between 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. (while supply lasts). No tickets will be distributed on Sunday.

Buses will be transporting people to the ship. Tickets will be required to board the buses. Buses will depart from Legion Stadium, 2149 Carolina Beach Road. Only buses will be permitted to enter the State Port.

Organizers urge people to arrive at Legion Stadium with their tickets 15 minutes prior to their scheduled departure. Passengers are limited to two small carry-on pieces (purse, camera case, etc.).