BALTIMORE, JULY 20 -- More than 100 cadets training for high-tech careers in the U.S. Coast Guard sailed into Baltimore today on the Coast Guard's lowest-tech ship: a three-masted, wind-powered bark.

Part of the Coast Guard's 200th-anniversary celebration, the visit by the Eagle drew hundreds of admirers to the Inner Harbor to see the 295-foot vessel, the nation's only military seagoing square-rigger.

Instead of radar and computers, the crowds saw shrouds and furled sails and crow's nests and gleaming mahogany and walnut trim.

Coast Guard instructors say there is much for cadets to learn on the Eagle, despite its 19th-century appearance.

"It has to be worked by hand," said Lt. Ted Bull. "It takes teamwork much more than a modern ship."

More important, he said, cadets are required to sail on the Eagle "because nowhere else can you learn how the sea and wind interact."

The same is true to a limited extent on modern ships, he said, but "there is not as much impact."

Motorized vessels are more stable, Bull said, "and they can go into the wind," while sailing vessels must tack, or zigzag, into the wind. The real challenge with a sailing ship is coordinating the cadets to keep the ship going under adverse conditions.

"It brings out their confidence . . . their true mettle," he said.

The 1,816-ton, steel-hulled Eagle is a German-built vessel originally commissioned in 1936 as a training ship for Nazi sailors.

Named the Horst Wessel, it was claimed by U.S. forces after World War II and brought to the United States in 1946 and again put to use as a training ship.

Ironic? "Yes, it is," Bull said. "I enjoy that {idea}. It is now being used for a noble purpose, rather than an ignoble purpose."

While most instructors on the Eagle teach nautical science and engineering, Bull teaches English.

Coast Guard cadets go through a four-year college-level course and must complete a wide range of classes, including English, to obtain a bachelor's degree, Bull said.

Bull specializes in American literature. What have his students been reading while on board the Eagle? " 'Moby Dick,' of course," he said.

Bull, one of about a dozen instructors on the Eagle, said he finds the ship "fully seaworthy." It has made numerous transatlantic voyages.

Last summer, it visited Leningrad. And two years earlier, it sailed across the Pacific to Australia, Bull said.

As a seagoing classroom for future Coast Guard officers, it offers cadets a chance to apply what they have learned in navigation and engineering, Bull said. They also learn how to handle the ship and stand watch.

To maneuver the Eagle, the cadets must learn to manipulate its 20,000 square feet of sail and 20 miles of rigging.

There are more than 200 lines, or ropes, controlling the sails and yards, or sail supports, "and the cadets must learn them all by name," Bull said.

Although the Eagle functions exclusively as a training vessel, Bull said it has occasionally assisted in search and rescue operations.

The Coast Guard's more modern ships are equipped for other missions such as ice-breaking, weather patrols, drug interdiction, refugee assistance, oil-spill control, and port and fisheries protection.

The Eagle, whose home port is at the Coast Guard's academy in New London, Conn., has been touring East Coast ports, including Philadelphia and Boston, in connection with the Coast Guard's bicentennial.

It will be in Baltimore's Inner Harbor Saturday, open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.