boats 36 sloop

Let's face it, with a culture steeped in powerboats, individual watercraft, pontoon boats and other powered-craft, there are few boaters out there who actually would know what a sloop looks like or how it differs form a yawl.

Indeed, many would figure that a ketch might be a sloop or a yawl, when there's actually a world of difference between all of them.

Indeed, in the world of sloops there are individual varieties that might prove confusing, even to someone who knows what the basic sloop looks like.

So what is a sloop? For starters, it is usually a single, center-masted sailboat with a relatively deep keep for stability. Sloops have had their place in the history of the nation's navy as some of the earliest ships of war were sloop-rigged as they were the quickest off the ways. Sloops also, at one time or another, operated as in-shore mail or packet boats and, in many cases, operated as coasters or coastal freighters that delivered small cargoes to the many communities that have dotted the offshore islands of the US.

Sloops of war were also the victors of the northern campaign of the Revolution and held the British at bay int the War of 1812, a war that some historians have termed the Second Revolution. This was the war in which the British did burn Washington and whose decisive battle actually occurred after the formal end of hostilities when Gen. Andrew Jackson and a mixed force of regulars and frontier militia and irregulars gathered at New Orleans and defeated the, until then, undefeated Black Watch, inflicting heavy casualties on the British who were mown down like corn as the American sharpshooters defeated the straight-backed, marching British.

This victory might not have been possible were it not for the intelligence information provided by America's last recognized pirate (later privateer/pirate) Capt. Jean Lafitte, whose strategy, crews and sloops-of-war provided the difference for Gen. Jackson and the line of 1,000 at the Battle of New Orleans. Lafitte and crews were also granted pardons for their participation in the battle.

Today, Lafitte and crew would be at home in sloops as their outlines have changed very little in the last century, although the technology and their basic hull designs have undergone vast changes that make them faster and more reliable in heavy or following seas. For example, hulls have become sleeker, while riding somewhat higher to deliver more freeboard in heavy weather, while keels have also become sleeker and a bite more deeply into the sea for stability and maneuverability.

Today's sloop features a sharply defined bow with relatively narrow beam. The sloop-rigged sailboat features a center-mounted mast and boom with backstays. Near the bottom of the mainsail, the boom runs out almost to the cockpit (in most sloops). The mainsail is foot-mounted to the boom and extends to the rear. The forestay that raises the mainsail also helps build in rigidity in a single-sail-rigged sloop while backstays provide for the mainsail.

The sloop usually has a rather deep, enclosed cabin that presents an interesting and intriguing piece of design work. The cabin looks like it is rather low and narrow, however, because of the amount of the sloop that is underwater (keel and hull), the cabin is far deeper that it seems. This means the designer can design a cabin that is sleek and wind-cheating, while the interior can feature staterooms, a full galley and living space and full head facilities.Just aft of the cabin, which is enclosed by a sliding horizontal hatch and small entry way, you find the cockpit where the captain or mariner handles the maneuvering with the wheel. All of the sloop's external electronics are mounted in weatherproof housing near the wheel. The engine and access to the engine are usually provided under the cockpit area.

The sloop's sleek lines usually finish in a rounded stern that mounts the rudder.