1 A sailing vessel with a single mast, fore-and-aft rigged, setting, in western Europe, a single headsail. Its development, in respect of dates etc., was parallel with that of the cutter. In the USA, the term also embraces vessels setting two headsails, which in other parts of the world would be termed cutters. In 2003 Mirabella V, at 75.3 metres (247 ft) LOA (length overall) and with a rig 91.5 metres (300 ft) high, became the largest sloop ever built up to that time when she was launched at Woolston, Southampton.
2 A designation used during the Second World War (1939–45) to describe a small class of anti-submarine convoy escort vessels used during the battle of the Atlantic. It was a resuscitation of the name of
3 an older navy class of ships, 17th–19th century, used mainly for auxiliary naval duties. Until the late 18th century the term was used somewhat indiscriminately to embrace any of the smaller naval vessels that did not fit specifically into a recognized class of minor warship. However, by the beginning of the 19th century there were two accepted classes of sloop depending on the number of masts: the ship sloop (three masts) and brigsloop (two masts), both of them square rigged on all masts. As a distinctive type of warship, the sloop finally disappeared in the late 1880s although some navies, including the British, retained a few for sail training. Those in Britain were attached to the boys' training ships and continued in use until 1904.