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Combat Level: 10
Polars and Open Sea Speed not updated for v. 02.12.33.00
The Bermuda Sloop is a type of fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessel developed on the islands of Bermuda in the 17th century. In its purest form, it is single-masted, although ships with such rigging were built with as many as three masts. Its original form had gaff rigging, but evolved to use what is now known as Bermuda rig, which had been used on smaller Bermudian boats since the early 17th Century, making it the basis of nearly all modern sailing yachts. 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.
The development of the rig is thought to have begun with fore-and-aft rigged boats built by a Dutch-born Bermudian in the 17th Century. The Dutch were influenced by Moorish lateen rigs introduced during Spain's rule of their country. The Dutch eventually modified the design by omitting the masts, with the yard arms of the lateens being stepped in thwarts. By this process, the yards became raked masts. Lateen sails mounted this way were known as leg-of-mutton sails in English. The Dutch called a vessel rigged in this manner a bezaan jacht. A bezaan jacht is visible in a painting of King Charles II arriving in Rotterdam in 1660. After sailing on such a vessel, Charles was so impressed that his eventual successor, The Prince of Orange presented him with a copy of his own, which Charles named Bezaan . The bezaan rig had been introduced to Bermuda some decades before this. Captain John Smith reported that Captain Nathaniel Butler, who was the governor of Bermuda from 1619 to 1622, employed a the Dutch boat builder, one of the crew of a Dutch frigate which had been wrecked on Bermuda, who quickly established a leading position among Bermuda's boat makers (to the resentment of many of his competitors, who were forced to emulate his designs). A poem published by John H. Hardie in 1671 described Bermuda's boats such: With triple corner'd Sayls they always float, About the Islands, in the world there are, None in all points that may with them compare.
Ships of somewhat similar design were in fact recorded in Holland during the 17th Century. The rig was eventually adopted almost universally on small sailing craft in the 20th Century, although as seen on most modern vessels it is very much less extreme than on traditional Bermudian designs, with lower, vertical masts, shorter booms, omitted bowsprits, and much less area of canvas.
Strategy and Use
The characteristics of the Bermudian vessels were such that, when the Royal Navy began building up its establishment in Bermuda, following US independence, it commissioned large numbers of these vessels from Bermudian builders, and bought many more up from trade. As the long-boomed, single-masted designs were such demanding sailers, the navy favoured multiple-masted designs, which also had the advantage of longer decks, which carried more guns. Although, today, these vessels might be considered schooners, and some might debate the use of the term sloop for multiple-masted vessels, the Royal Navy rated such vessels as sloops-of-war. The first three built, HMS Dasher, HMS Driver, and HMS Hunter, were each of 200 tons, well-armed armed with twelve 24 pounders. They were intended to counter the then-extant menace of French privateers, which the Navy's ships-of-the-line were ill-designed to counter . Eventually, Bermuda sloops became the standard advice vessels of the navy, used for communications, reconnoitering, anti-slaving, and anti-smuggling, and other roles to which they were well suited. The most notable examples of these were HMS Pickle, which raced back to England with news of the British victory and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson at the end of the Battle of Trafalgar (it had also been Bermudian picket boats which had given warning of the enemy fleet), and HMS Whiting, of 79 tons and four guns, which lowered anchor in the harbor of Hampton Roads on 8 July, 1812. She was carrying dispatches from Portsmouth, and, while her captain was being rowed ashore, the American privateer Dash, which happened to be leaving port, seized the vessel. The crew of the Whiting had not yet received news of the American declaration of war, and her capture was the first naval action of the American War of 1812.
The Bermuda Sloop is one of the fastest ships in the game, reaching a top speed of 16.5 knots while perpendicular to the wind, and only losing 10% of its top speed while at Close Haul. Its fast acceleration and turning speed allow it to outmaneuver more powerful vessels. Armor and hull integrity are major concerns, as with most small scout ships, so avoid taking broadside volleys from larger frigates.
Other variants of the Bermuda: