In the days of sailing ships, a vessel would carry several ship's boat
Ship's boats are utility boats carried by larger vessels to act as tenders amongst other roles. Boats had different names depending on hull form, rig, size and role during the Age of Sail, this nomenclature persisting to the present, especially in military circles, long after most distinctions have...
s for various uses. One would be a longboat
, an open boat to be rowed by eight or ten oarsmen, two per thwart
A thwart is a strut placed crosswise in a ship or boat, to brace it crosswise.In rowboats it can also serve as a seat for a rower....
. In other words the longboat was double banked: its rowing benches were designed to accommodate two men.
Unlike the dinghy or the cutter, the longboat would have fairly fine lines aft to permit its use in steep waves such as surf or wind against tide where need be. Like other ships' boats, the longboat could be rigged for sailing but was primarily a pulling boat. It had the double-banked arrangement in common with the cutter. This was possible as it had a beam similar to a cutter's but broader than that of a gig, which was single banked.
The longboat was generally more seaworthy than the cutter, which had a fuller stern for such load-carrying work as laying out an anchor and cable. In a seaway or surf therefore, the cutter was more prone to broaching
A sailboat broaches when its heading suddenly changes towards the wind due to wind/sail interactions for which the rudder cannot compensate. This causes the boat to roll dangerously and if not controlled may lead to a capsize...
The Oxford English Dictionary
notes uses of the word from 1515 to 1867. In later years, particularly in the Royal Navy, the longboat tended to be replaced by the whaler. The cutter was still in use in the 1950s but had been largely replaced by the 32 foot and 25 foot motor cutters.
In some places such as Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha is a remote volcanic group of islands in the south Atlantic Ocean and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying from the nearest land, South Africa, and from South America...
and Pitcairn Island, the surfboat
A surfboat is an oar-driven boat designed to enter the ocean from the beach in heavy surf or severe waves. It is often used in lifesaving or rescue missions where the most expedient access to victims is directly from the beach.-Construction:...
s are known as longboats, perhaps because the settlers who introduced them were European seamen. The Tristan da Cunha boats are single banked.
The French link is to chaloupe
, which in this context is a cutter, but lent its name to the Dutch sloep
A sloop is a sail boat with a fore-and-aft rig and a single mast farther forward than the mast of a cutter....
Longboat racing is a sport in Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...