80L x 19W x 76H (cm)
The HMS Victory was a first-rate three-decker, carrying 110 guns, and was accounted the finest ship in the service. In 1744, she was the flagship of Admiral Sir J. Balchen, a venerable officer of 75 years of age, who had been called from the honourable retirement of Greenwich Hospital to command a fleet destined to relieve Sir Charles Hardy, then blockaded in Lisbon by a superior French force, under the Count de Rochambault. On returning from the successful performance of this service, the fleet was dispersed in the chops of the Channel by a tremendous gale, on October 4th. The rest of the ships, though much shattered, gained the anchorage of Spithead in safety, but the Victory was never more heard of, though from the evidence of fishermen of the island of Alderney, she was believed to have run on to the Caskets, some dangerous rocks lying off that island, where her gallant crew of about a thousand perished to a man
In the late 1920s, the Japanese Ministry of Transport ordered the four-masted barks Nippon Maru and Kaiwo Maru for the Kokai-Kunrensho (Institute for Nautical Training), which already operated the four-masted bark Taisei Maru and the four-masted barkentine Shintoku Maru. Their work for the merchant marine is reflected in their names. Maru, which signifies wholeness or unity, is an almost universal suffix for Japanese merchant-ship names. Nippon means Japan, and Kaiwo is the mythological king of the seas, equivalent to Neptune or Poseidon. Commissioned in 1930 and 1931, respectively, the barks were described by Harold Underhill as “imposing rather than beautiful.” Their very high freeboards reflected a desire to maximize the amount of natural light admitted to the crew spaces below decks, while their comparatively shorter yards and smaller sails were designed to accommodate the relatively small stature of the average Japanese before World War II.
Before World War II, the ships’ training voyages carried them throughout the Pacific, and Nippon Maru made four voyages to the United States, five to Hawaii and seven elsewhere in the Pacific. During World War II her yards were sent down and she was used as a motor-training vessel in the Home Islands. Repatriating Japanese soldiers and civilians after the war, she was rerigged in 1952 and resumed training, making her first cruise to the United States in 1954, and her first to the East Coast in 1960. Both Nippon Maru and Kaiwo Maru remained active training ships until the 1980s, when they were replaced by new ships with the same names.
The Eagle is a three-masted sailing Barque with 21,350 square feet of sail. It is homeported at the CG Academy, New London, Connecticut. It is the only active commissioned sailing vessel in the U.S. maritime services. (One of five such Training Barques in world. Sister ships include: MIRCEA of Romania, SAGRES II of Portugal, GORCH FOCK of Germany, and TOVARICH of Russia.)
The Eagle bears a name that goes back to the early history of the United States’ oldest continuous seagoing service. The first Eagle was commissioned in 1792, just two years after the formation of the Revenue Marine, the forerunner of today’s Coast Guard.