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U.S. Naval Academy’s sailing squadron docks

  • Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy will arrive in the port of Charleston on Friday, June 15. They are sailing from Annapolis, Md., on four 44-foot sail training vessels.

These young men and women are participating in an offshore professional development program designed to provide experience in navigation, seamanship and small unit leadership responsibilities. This experience allows them to integrate skills learned at the academy during their first year of study. Some Midshipmen return the following summers as either skippers or executive officers in the program, providing further command opportunities.

Docked at the Charleston Maritime Center, downtown Charleston and at Patriots Point, Mount Pleasant, the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron boats will be available for touring and Midshipmen crew members will be available for comment and conversation. Visiting hours on Saturday and Sunday will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The sailing craft in which these midshipmen train are the latest of four generations of one-design offshore cruiser-racers to be authorized for the training of Midshipmen. Midshipmen began sailing in a fleet of identical 44-foot wooden yawls at the end of World War II. After 25 years of service, these vessels were replaced by 12 fiberglass yawls with the same exterior lines as the original boats designed by Naval Architect Bill Luders, but with an interior auxiliary diesel engine. After another 25 years of offshore and Chesapeake Bay sailing, a sloop rigged craft designed specifically for use by Midshipmen, was commissioned. McCurdy & Rhodes of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., designed the boats, and the first was placed in service in 1988.

Midshipmen on this training exercise are on the newest model of Navy 44, designed by David Pedrick. The first boat of this series was delivered in 2007. The Navy 44 has proven to be a very successful design, and a fitting successor to the famous Luders yawls which gave generations of Midshipmen a professional appreciation for wind, waves, weather and command responsibility, and introduce them to the pleasure and excitement of going to sea under sail.

For more information about the Naval Academy, visit www.usna.edu. For more information about Naval Academy Sailing, visit http://www.usna.edu/SailingTeam/newsite/home/.

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