Sailmaker’s Whip: How To Whip A Rope


If you fail to take care of your rope, you will end up spending money on new ropes now and then. The sailmaker’s whip is an ideal way to prolong your rope’s lifespan. To ensure that your ropes do not end up losing their value too quickly, we will show you how to whip a rope.

What is Rope Whipping?

Rope whipping involves binding a whipcord or a marline twine around the end of a rope. The main reason why people whip their ropes is to keep them from fraying. If a rope is ignored after being cut, in most instances, it will end up unraveling into thinner fibers.

When whipping a rope, you will need to apply multiple twine-turns tightly around the rope, close to the cut end. To make the rope whipping permanent and neat, most people usually tie it off or sew the twine ends through the rope.

Whipping is ideal for natural and synthetic lines and ropes. You can use it on braided and stranded ropes, cables, and lines.

While there are numerous whipping techniques, the sailmaker’s whip offers the best results. It does not loosen under normal circumstances.

Although the name “sailmakers whip” suggests that the maintenance technique is only used by sailors, this is not the case. You can use the sailmaker’s whip on all ropes, irrespective of how you want to use them. When used on sailing ropes, however, the sailmaker’s whip can improve boating safety considering that it will reduce the chances of the rope failing after you rig the sailboat and head offshore.

How to Whip A Rope – Step by Step Guide


Whether you intend to use your rope the next time you wear sailing boots and a sailing jacket or you will be using the rope at home, the steps we will outline in this section should help you implement the sailmaker’s whip.

1. Getting Started

If you had stored your rope and twine in your sailing bag, get them out. Hold the end of the rope you intend to whip in one hand and the twine in the other.

Poke the twine’s end through the rope, passing under one of the rope’s strands. You should poke the rope approximately 200 mm from its end.

Pass the twine over the next available rope strand and then through your rope again, going under the last strand. If you get this right, the twine is supposed to come out in between the same 2 strands you poked initially.

Pull your twine through to get approximately 200 mm of hanging twine. Make sure you have left approximately 50 mm of bight hanging out at the back. Now, you should be ready to initiate whipping.

Note: Depending on your preference, you can unlay your rope to perform the steps above. You can then lay up the rope again when you are ready to initiate whipping.

2. Start Whipping

If you ask someone who has learned how to whip a rope in the past, he or she will tell you that this step is a little bit complicated. Attention is necessary to get the whipping right.

You will need to leave the bight and the short end of your twine hanging. Take the long part of your twine and pass it tightly round and round the rope. Make sure that you are working against the lay, toward the rope’s end.

Continue until you get satisfied that you have sufficient turns. Generally, the whipping is supposed to be as long as the width of your rope.

3. Make Your Rope Stay Whipped

Knowing how to whip a rope is generally not enough. If you leave the whole process at step 2 above, the rope will not stay whipped.

To keep the rope whipped, grab the twine bight and pass it up outside of your whipping. Be sure to follow the lay of the strand it surrounds. After doing this, hook the bight over the strand available at the end of your rope.

Next, grab the short end of your twine and then pull hard. To eliminate uncomfortable friction when pulling the twine, you can wear your sailing gloves. The pulling should help tighten the bight. When pulling, work your bight neatly down between the rope’s strand available at the end.

After ensuring that the bight is nice and tight, bring the twine’s short end up, outside your whipping. Follow the lay of your rope when doing this. Reef knot the 2 ends of your twine at the center of the rope.

4. Finishing

The last step will involve trimming the rope and the twine. When trimming the twine, ensure that the left length is enough to keep the reef knot from working loose. When trimming the rope, leave enough length to make sure that the reef knot available on the twine is hidden.

You should also consider burning the end of the rope after completing the sailmaker’s whip. While melting the rope generally diminishes its beauty, it offers improved protection. Most people who are familiar with how to whip a rope do recommend burning the end of the rope.

If your rope features a core that does not melt, for example, an aramid core such as Kevlar, burning the end of the rope is still a good idea. The burning will help cover and bury the core.

Globo Surf Overview

If you do not want your ropes to fray, you should learn how to whip a rope. While the whole process of creating the sailmaker’s whip may appear complicated, it becomes much easier with practice.

The key thing to keep in mind when learning how to whip a rope is that once you are done with the whipping, you should take the necessary steps to ensure that the sailmaker’s whip stays intact. Creating a perfect sailmaker’s whip is important. However, ensuring that it stays in place when you are using the rope is even more crucial.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!