MMA Training Cruise To Visit Mediterranean Ports

Press Release
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CASTINE, Maine -- Maine Maritime Academy students, officers, and crew will visit Mediterranean ports this spring as part of the college’s annual two-month training cruise to foreign and domestic ports-of-call. This year’s training cruise itinerary includes Norfolk, Va., May 6- 9; Valetta, Malta, May 25- 28; Civitavecchia, Italy, May 31- June 3; Cobh, Ireland, June 12- June 15; Portland, Maine, June 25-26. The ship will host a family day sail on the return leg from Portland to Castine.

Under the command of Captain Leslie B. Eadie, III, of Brewer, Maine, interim master of the training ship, State of Maine, the ship will begin sailing operations at 6:15 a.m., and will depart Castine harbor at approximately 7 a.m., on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. The training cruise will commence in port on Friday, April 29, for pre-sailing preparation.

Eadie, a 1976 graduate of the college, recently assumed command of the vessel, following the retirement of long-time permanent master of the ship, Captain Larry Wade of Bradley, Maine. Also a graduate of the college, Wade had served as the training ship’s top officer since 1996.

A seasoned professional mariner with more than 28 years at sea, Eadie has sailed in various capacities with Sun Oil Company, ARCO Marine, Inc., and Sabine Transportation Company. While with Sabine, he served as captain of the largest tanker to enter Anchorage, Alaska, and Massawa Inner Harbor, Eritrea.  He joined the Maine Maritime Academy faculty nearly six years ago, teaching courses in terrestrial navigation, marine communications, advanced tanker operations, and casualty analysis. As a faculty member, he sailed aboard the T/S State of Maine in deck training and senior deck officer positions. Eadie holds a U.S. Guard license as an unlimited master, and is a 1st Class Pilot for the waters of Alaska’s Prince William Sound. He earned a B.S. in nautical science from Maritime Academy, and an M.B.A. in 2004 from the University of Phoenix. Eadie and his wife of 35 years, Kathy, have three grown children and one grandson.

“Follow the Voyage,” MMA’s annual online ship tracking and training cruise activities web site, will be coordinated by students and staff as part of this year’s training activities. In its tenth year of operation, the site covers the Academy’s annual training cruise from a variety of perspectives. In addition to an interactive tracking chart of the cruise, the site provides links devoted to teaching and educational materials for students of all ages. Once the ship is underway, the public is invited to join the voyage by visiting and following the Cruise 2011 link. 

Complementing the educational focus of MMA’s and training cruise, students and staff sailing aboard the State of Maine will work for the fifth consecutive year with the Belfast-based organization, Educational Passages, to launch small sailboats at various locations. Educational Passages utilizes 4.5 foot-long unmanned sailboats to enable the study of ocean wind and current patterns by school or community groups.~ Designed with assistance from an experienced naval architect, the boats are made of molded fiberglass and are capable of making long ocean passages. They are crafted to sail indefinitely downwind and will transmit their location and boat speed for up to one year. The boats rely solely on wind and current power and need no outside assistance.~ MMA enjoys an ongoing relationship with Educational Passages. Initial sea trials were launched from MMA’s schooner Bowdoin in 2008, off the northeast cost of North America.

Coordinated by program founder, Richard Baldwin, Educational Passages will work with local schools to facilitate this year’s program aboard the State of Maine. To follow the boats, visit, or contact Baldwin,, 207-338-4087, for more information.

Due to shipboard security, the vessel will not be open to the general public for tours while in foreign or domestic ports. Well-wishers are welcomed and encouraged to view the vessel departure and return from the Maine Maritime Academy waterfront, however shipboard visits are not permitted.            

On the return leg to Castine from Portland, upper class students may invite their parents to join them. The day sail allows parents the unique opportunity to see the high level of technical proficiency and leadership achieved by their students. The training ship will return to its homeport of Castine, Maine, on Sunday, June 26. Arrival in Castine Harbor is expected at approximately 8 p.m., with docking anticipated at 8:30 p.m. Training cruise activity will continue in port through Tuesday, June 28.

Students pursuing an officer's license from the U.S. Coast Guard as a third mate or third assistant engineer are required to train at sea for at least 60 days in each of their first three years at the Academy.  Freshmen and juniors sail aboard the MMA vessel, while sophomores are assigned to merchant ships worldwide. In recent years, MMA training cruises have taken students to Aruba, Bermuda, Brazil, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Ireland Italy, Poland, Russia, and Spain; as well as other European and Caribbean countries.

The 500-foot, 16,000-ton T/S State of Maine, the former USNS Tanner, originally served as a Navy oceanographic research vessel and was converted in 1997 to accommodate the training needs of the college. The fourth vessel to bear the name State of Maine, the ship is a modern, technologically advanced training vessel.

Maine Maritime Academy, founded in 1941, enrolls more than 900 students from 35 states and several foreign countries. The college awards A.S., B.S., and M.S. degrees in 15 fields of study.                                   

Source: Maine Maritime Academy

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