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History of the Friendship Sloop

a small boat in a body of water

These beautiful boats were the original lobster boat! In the late 1800’s, fishermen worked aboard small sloop-rigged sailboats fishing and hauling lobster traps by hand. The need for a stronger boat that could handle Maine’s harsh winter weather led to the building of a larger and more stable sailboat. These new boats were built by various boat builders along the mid-coast of Maine, such as the McLain’s, Morse’s, and Winchenbach’s, especially near the town of Friendship, which became their namesake. The Friendship Sloop was extremely stable and had a great carrying capacity. Around the early 1900’s, Friendship Sloops were so common and useful on the Maine Coast, a dozen or more would be found in any harbor tending to fishing, lobstering, carrying firewood, or people to islands. They are fondly referred to as the pickup truck of the sea.

While not in regular use as lobster boats anymore, yachtsmen kept the design alive because of its beauty, sail-handling, and stability. This also makes for an excellent day charter vessel. They are still built in Southwest Harbor today. Sailing a Friendship sloop is an experience in both the local history and maritime heritage of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park.