“The Gjőa Discharging by Aerial Ropeway,” The Northwest Passage: Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the ship, Gjøa, 1903-1907, 1908, From The Library at The Mariners’ Museum, G650.1903.A5.


When a ship is referred to as a sloop, it is describing the ship’s sail configuration. The ship’s hull types may be different or the ship may have an engine, but it is still a sloop. The sloop-rigged ship has a small triangular topsail and a larger triangular main mast, with a sail forward on the main mast and aft on the main mast.

Before the 17th century, sloops had a variety of sail arrangements and up to three masts. After that time, sloops were known as smaller ships, with one mast, and were very fast.