A vessel having one mast and fore-and-aft rig, consisting of a boom-and-gaff mainsail, jibs, staysail, and gaff topsail. The typical sloop has a fixed bowsprit, topmast, and standing rigging, while those of a cutter are capable of being readily shifted. The sloop usually carries a centerboard, and depends for stability upon breadth of beam rather than depth of keel. The two types have rapidly approximated since 1880. One radical distinction is that a sloop may carry a centerboard. See Cutter, and Illustration in Appendix.
In modern usage, a sailing vessel having one mast, commonly with a Bermuda rig, with either a center-board or a keel. In the United States, a sloop may have one or two headsails, while in Western Europe and Great Britain a sloop has only one headsail.