"Now lower your butts, Flangeheads, and haul away, haul away!" | People & Places | Smithsonian
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"Now lower your butts, Flangeheads, and haul away, haul away!"

"Now lower your butts, Flangeheads, and haul away, haul away!"

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"Girls and boys of what one Eagle officer calls the 'Nintendo Generation' lay out along the yards most gingerly, scared as never before. They shuffle along the slack cables that loop below the yards. Sick, and swaying 50, 75, 130 feet above the deck and out over the sea, the cadets are too terrified to vomit. That comes once they're safely down, as they're helped by the enlisted crew into safety belts, as rules require, clipped fast to the waist railings where they kneel, throwing up to leeward and praying for shore, for a time machine to take them back to the future."

So writes Russell Drumm, who cruised for weeks with U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets about Eagle while they earned humility and pride the hard way, by learning the ropes of one of the world's great square rigged training vessels. Eagle began her voyages in 1936 as the Horst Wessel, built for Hitler's new navy. She came to us as a spoil of war.

With 21,350 square feet of sail the great ship can make 17 knots, but to sail her is to voyage into a seagoing past more unforgiving and more exhilarating than the high tech present.

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