This summer two Sea Scouts from Ship 248 Mendota, Zach Hofius and Matthew Verweg, were selected to join the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle. The Barque Eagle is a 295’ three-masted cutter used to train future officers from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Ship 248’s two scouts were selected along with 7 others from around the United States to participate in “Swab Week”, 7 days of training aboard the big cutter.
Matthew and Zach started their journey on August 9th, flying into Boston and staying with Eastern Region Sea Scout leaders on Cape Cod. That day they joined him on his boat to go out to Martha’s Vineyard. The next morning they were off to Salem, Ma to join the crew of the Barque Eagle. The weekend entailed some liberty to sight see and explore Salem, Ma.
They began their voyage in Salem, Massachusetts where they boarded, had a safety briefing, and were assigned to their sleeping areas. During their safety briefing everyone was reminded that they would get as much out of the opportunity as they put in and that they were expected to do everything with the first year cadets.
The duties included preparing meals in the swaying mess deck for the 200 people on board, scrubbing the teak deck with Simple Green and water, polishing the brass for public tours, trimming sails for maximum speed and changing direction, and trying to stay awake in the scorching engine room at 1 a.m.
The multitude of lines that were heaved and hoed during the week in order to trim the sails left them tired and worn out. During their shifts, they also climbed aloft in some of the 6 miles of standing and running rigging to prepare the twenty-three sails to be set and stowed, used celestial navigation to pinpoint their location, and attended interactive training. The training included preparing for fire emergencies, man overboard, abandon ship, and weather safety.
The week of exhausting hard work did have its perks. They watched dolphins dance through the waves off the bow, did sunrise workouts and climbed the masts to watch the sunrise come up over New York City and laying anchor near the statue of liberty. They enjoyed watching the sunrise over New York City from 130 feet up on the Royals, the top yardarm for the top sail.
Matthew and Zach’s favorite experiences were meeting and working side by side the U.S. Coast Guard cadets and fellow Sea Scouts.
“With scouting there is always a new goal to reach for. I heard about Sea Scouts getting to go on the USCG Eagle at the first Sea Scout meeting I ever went to, back in 2015. I’m grateful to be one of the scouts this year who got this opportunity,” said Matthew Verweg.
When asked his impressions of the week, Zach Hofius said: “One of the most unique opportunities in scouting. High adventure bases have thousands of people attend. This year only the Eagle 9 Sea Scouts. This was truly the trip of a lifetime that won’t soon be forgotten.
Facebook page address: seascoutshipmendota#248 Phone Contact: 651-334-6050