Friendship Sloop

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Friendship Sloop in c. 1920 Friendship Sloop.jpg
Friendship Sloop in c. 1920
Fiberglass Friendship Sloop Bay Lady (launched in 1979) Friendship Sloop Bay Lady 2008.jpg
Fiberglass Friendship Sloop Bay Lady (launched in 1979)
Diagram of a Friendship Sloop Friendship sloop diagram.jpg
Diagram of a Friendship Sloop

The Friendship sloop, also known as a Muscongus Bay sloop or lobster sloop, is a gaff-rigged working boat design that originated in Friendship, Maine around 1880 and has survived as a traditional-style sailboat.



Fishermen in Friendship and neighboring Bremen collectively originated the boat's design, influenced in part, by the fishing sailboats of Gloucester, Massachusetts. [1] The boat was used primarily for lobstering or local commerce. [2] Boat builder Wilbur A. Morse was principle among five major Muscongus Bay builders [3] that produced the design from the 1880s to the 1910s. [4] From then until 1960 four major builders continued the tradition, three from the region. [3]

One person could manage its single-masted rig and haul traps unassisted, yet the boat could carry sizable loads. With an open cockpit aft, and a small forward cabin outfitted with bunks and a stove, it made fishing during cold weather much less arduous than in an open boat. By 1900 these sloops ranged from 30–40 feet (9.1–12.2 m) feet long along the deck and were used for bringing fish or lobsters from offshore vessels to processing plants. [3]

In the 1900s the boats received auxiliary motors until 1920, when power boats supplanted them for commercial use. Thereafter, the fleet became available to those who adapted boats to become affordable sailing yachts. [3]

Modern reproductions, both wooden and fiberglass, continue to be built. And the boat design and historical examples are preserved through the Friendship Sloop Society. [5] The society holds annual races in Maine. [6]

Design and classification

Friendship sloops typically have a clipper bow, a full keel, an elliptical stern and a bowsprit. The mast height is approximately equal to the length of the deck and stepped forward, such that the head sails are attached to the bowsprit. The hull typically has a full length keel, traditionally ballasted with rocks or more recently with steel. [1] They are gaff-rigged, with a mainsail, a staysail and normally a jib. They may additionally have a topmast with a main topsail and jib topsail (flying jib). They have ranged from 19–50 feet (5.8–15.2 m) feet along the deck; plans are available for such vessels up to 40 feet (12.2 m) along the deck. [3]

The Friendship Sloop Society initially classified the boats, as follows: [3]

In 1986, it combined classes B through D. The boats recognized as "one of a kind" outnumber those regarded as "semi-production". Races are held in two divisions for boats 25 feet (7.6 m) or shorter on the deck (Division I) and those longer than that (Division II). [3]

Related Research Articles

Sloop Sail boat with a single mast and a fore-and-aft rig

A sloop is a sailboat with a single mast typically meaning one headsail in front of the mast, and one mainsail aft of (behind) the mast. This is called a fore-and-aft rig, and can be rigged as a Bermuda rig with triangular sails fore and aft, or as a gaff-rig with triangular foresails and a gaff rigged mainsail. Sailboats can be classified according to type of rig, and so a sailboat may be a sloop, catboat, cutter, ketch, yawl, or schooner. A sloop usually has only one headsail, although an exception is the Friendship sloop, which is usually gaff-rigged with a bowsprit and multiple headsails. If the vessel has two or more headsails, the term cutter may be used, especially if the mast is stepped further towards the back of the boat.

Schooner Sailing vessel

A schooner is a type of sailing vessel defined by its rig: fore-and-aft rigged on all of 2 or more masts and, in the case of a 2 masted schooner, the foremast generally being shorter than the mainmast. A common variant, the topsail schooner also has a square topsail on the foremast, to which may be added a topgallant and other square sails, but not a fore course, as that would make the vessel a brigantine. Many schooners are gaff-rigged, but other examples include Bermuda rig and the staysail schooner.

Sailboat Boat propelled partly or entirely by sails

A sailboat or sailing boat is a boat propelled partly or entirely by sails and is smaller than a sailing ship. Distinctions in what constitutes a sailing boat and ship vary by region and maritime culture.

Sail plan Diagram of the masts, spars, rigging, and sails of a sailing vessel

A sail plan is a description of the specific ways that a sailing craft is rigged, as discussed below. Also, the term “sail plan” is a graphic depiction of the arrangement of the sails for a given sailing craft.

Bermuda sloop

The Bermuda sloop is an historical type of fore-and-aft rigged single-masted sailing vessel developed on the islands of Bermuda in the 17th century. Such vessels originally had gaff rigs with quadrilateral sails, but evolved to use the Bermuda rig with triangular sails. Although the Bermuda sloop is often described as a development of the narrower-beamed Jamaica sloop, which dates from the 1670s, the high, raked masts and triangular sails of the Bermuda rig are rooted in a tradition of Bermudian boat design dating from the earliest decades of the 17th century. It is distinguished from other vessels with the triangular Bermuda rig, which may have multiple masts or may not have evolved in hull form from the traditional designs.


A scow is a type of flat-bottomed barge. Some scows are rigged as sailing scows. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, scows carried cargo in coastal waters and inland waterways, having an advantage for navigating shallow water or small harbours. Scows were in common use in the American Great Lakes and other parts of the U.S., in southern England, and in New Zealand. In Canada, scows have traditionally been used to transport cattle to the islands of New Brunswick's Saint John River. In modern times their main purpose is for recreation and racing.

Tall ship Large, traditionally-rigged sailing vessel

A tall ship is a large, traditionally-rigged sailing vessel. Popular modern tall ship rigs include topsail schooners, brigantines, brigs and barques. "Tall ship" can also be defined more specifically by an organization, such as for a race or festival.


A topsail ("tops'l") is a sail set above another sail; on square-rigged vessels further sails may be set above topsails.


A mainsail is a sail rigged on the main mast of a sailing vessel.

Cutter (boat) Small ship

A cutter is generally a small- to medium-sized vessel, depending on its role and definition. Historically, it was a smallish single-masted, decked sailcraft designed for speed rather than capacity. As such, it was gaff-rigged, with two or more headsails and often a bowsprit of some length, with a mast sometimes set farther back than on a sloop. While historically a workboat, as used by harbor pilots, the military, and privateers, sailing cutters today are most commonly fore-and-aft rigged private yachts.

Gaff rig

Gaff rig is a sailing rig in which the sail is four-cornered, fore-and-aft rigged, controlled at its peak and, usually, its entire head by a spar (pole) called the gaff. Because of the size and shape of the sail, a gaff rig will have running backstays rather than permanent backstays.

Bermuda rig Configuration of mast and rigging for a type of sailboat

A Bermuda rig, Bermudian rig, or Marconi rig is a configuration of mast and rigging for a type of sailboat and is the typical configuration for most modern sailboats. This configuration was developed in Bermuda in the 17th century; the term Marconi, a reference to the inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi, became associated with this configuration in the early 20th century because the wires that stabilize the mast of a Bermuda rig reminded observers of the wires on early radio masts.

Full-rigged ship Sailing vessel with three or more square-rigged masts

A full-rigged ship or fully rigged ship is a sailing vessel's sail plan with three or more masts, all of them square-rigged. A full-rigged ship is said to have a ship rig or be ship-rigged. Such vessels also have each mast stepped in three segments: lower mast, top mast, and topgallant mast. Other large, multi-masted sailing vessels may be regarded as a ships while lacking one of the elements of a full-rigged ship, e.g. having one or more masts support only a fore-and aft sail or having a mast that only has two segments.

Thames sailing barge

A Thames sailing barge is a type of commercial sailing boat once common on the River Thames in London. The flat-bottomed barges with a shallow draught and leeboards, were perfectly adapted to the Thames Estuary, with its shallow waters and narrow tributary rivers. The larger barges were seaworthy vessels, and were the largest sailing vessel to be handled by just two men. The average size was about 120 tons and they carried 4,200 square feet (390 m2) of canvas sail in six working sails. The mainsail was loose-footed and set up with a sprit, and was brailed to the mast when not needed. It is sheeted to a horse, as is the foresail; they require no attention when tacking. The foresail is often held back by the mate to help the vessel come about more swiftly.

Fractional rig

A fractional rig on a sailing vessel consists of a foresail, such as a jib or genoa sail, that does not reach all the way to the top of the mast.

Bermuda Fitted Dinghy

The Bermuda Fitted Dinghy is a type of racing-dedicated sail boat used for competitions between the yacht clubs of Bermuda. Although the class has only existed for about 130 years, the boats are a continuance of a tradition of boat and ship design in Bermuda that stretches back to the earliest decades of the 17th century.

Log canoe

The log canoe is a type of sailboat developed in the Chesapeake Bay region. Based on the dugout, it was the principal traditional fishing boat of the bay until superseded by the bugeye and the skipjack. However, it is most famous as a racing sailboat, and races continue to be held.

<i>Amazing Grace</i> (ship) Topsail schooner ship

Amazing Grace is an 83' topsail schooner. Her home port is in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ship serves as the platform for the non-profit Maritime Leadership and is also available for private charters and memorials at sea. Maritime Leadership provides traditional sail training adventures through sailings ranging from 3–48 hours.

Falmouth work boat

The Falmouth Work Boat is a type of small traditional sailing craft that evolved for fishing in the waters of Falmouth, Cornwall.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to sailing:


  1. 1 2 Chapelle, Howard Irving (1951). American Small Sailing Craft, Their Design, Development, and Construction. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 266. ISBN   978-0-393-03143-0.
  2. Bray, Maynard (2000). The Book of Wooden Boats. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 16. ISBN   978-0-393-04899-5.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Brooks, Bob; Zink, Al (October 25, 2018). "Friendship Sloops: From Old-time Workboats to Today's Pleasure Craft A Condensed History from the 1800's through 2003" (PDF). Friendship Sloop Society Handbook. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  4. Herzog, Brad (2001). States of Mind. Simon and Schuster. p. 266. ISBN   978-0-7434-1782-2.
  5. Hinckley, Sarah (September 11, 2019). "Newman's legacy, and his boats, will sail on". Mount Desert Islander. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  6. Staff. "Friendship sloop races to set sail July 19 through 21 - Knox VillageSoup". Village Soup: Knox. Retrieved 2020-07-01.