Whipping Twine & Telltales

Small-stuff but incredibly useful - whipping twine and telltales. Sailmaker's twine can be used to whip the end of a rope and prevent the ends from unraveling and fraying. Used as a guide to good sail trim, telltales are an effective tool for finding the best position to the wind. Want to buy braided cord, whipping twine or telltales for your boat? Find a wide range of yarns and fabric strips in our online shop.

What can I use for whipping rope? What type of twine is best?

- Waxed, unwaxed, braided or twisted? -

Whipping high-quality braided cordage prevents the core and sheath from coming apart. With twisted ropes, it prevents the individual fibres from unravelling. There are a number of different methods for whipping the ends of synthetic rope. Some prefer to use shrink whippings or liquid whippings, others fuse the ends with a lit match or lighter. Using whipping twine, however, is a more traditionally proven method and the most reliable! Not only that, it also looks much better.

Cordage and whipping twine is commercially available in a vast array of different qualities and designs: The spectrum ranges from waxed and unwaxed to twisted and braided material in different thicknesses and colours. Sailmakers twine is generally made of high-strength polyester fibre. This is the best choice for common and stitched whippings. Twisted twine is available in smaller thicknesses, whereas braided twine does not kink. Waxed twine is slightly more expensive than unwaxed twine, but it has additional benefits. The final whipped assembly kind of welds together and does not fall apart so easily. The wax also allows the twine to pass smoothly through the rope and it protects the material from moisture.

What size whipping twine should I use?

- Length, thickness and spacing -

It's not that difficult to whip the ends of rope yourself and you can find the tools you need including strong craftsman needles in our Splicing and Accessories section. The whip at the end of the rope should be about as wide as the rope is thick. For mooring lines, it is necessary to make two, and the distance between the two should be twice the width of one whip. Different types of whip include the common whipping knot, stitched and back splice. Stitching is the best and most durable way to whip the rope. Back splicing makes the rope end very thick, and it won't pass through blocks. This can sometimes be beneficial, for example, if you want to stop a halyard from slipping out of a fairlead, or if you need to feel the end of the rope. Whips can also be used to colour-mark ropes according to use or length.

What are telltales used for?

- Sailing telltales show the best position of the sails to the wind -

Jib telltales: Telltales are attached on both sides of the luff of the jib and indicate the direction of wind flow. For power, keep the leeward telltale on the jib streaming horizontally. If the sail is overtrimmed, the leeward telltale will rise and stall and the helmsman will have to luff or sheet out. If your sails are under-trimmed, the windward telltale will hang down limply and the helmsman must bear away or pull in the jib tighter.

Mainsail telltales: Telltales are attached to the leech of the mainsail, usually on each side of the sail. They are used to indicate how much sail twist you should have. Trimming the mainsail is quite a complex process because many tiny adjustments can have an influence. Basically, if the telltales are flowing out horizontally most of the time, the wind is flowing evenly over both sides. If telltales are wrapping around the inside of the sail, there is too much twist. The ideal position is reached when the upper telltalle occasionally flaps to the leeward side and all other telltales blow out aft.

Related categories: Rigging, sails and accessories

You can find other related products in our Sails, Rigging, Rope Cutters sections, as well as helpful tips in our rigging guide.

Customer ratings & reviews

All reviews (126.163)
User profile icon

Marine P. on 30.09.2022

Fantastik service

User profile icon

Astthor G. on 30.09.2022

Everything fine

User profile icon

Andrej J. on 30.09.2022

everything ok