A whipping is sail twine passed tightly around the circumference of a line to prevent it fraying. It is said these were originally applied to reef points which would “whip” against the sail and wear excessively, and the name is a derivation of this. Whippings can still be seen on yachts and sailing vessels, whereas working boats will typically employ electrical tape. Less glamorous but certainly quicker to apply.

Plain whipping

The most basic style. All that is required is twine and a sharp knife. The width of a whipping should be about three times the diameter of the rope. It is not unusual to see a second whipping behind the first, separated by the length of about three whippings from the first.

Plain whipping.

Sailmaker’s whipping

A more advanced version with the twine wormed into the whipping, acting as frapping turns and making it more secure. Additionally the twine is thrust through the line itself using a needle and sailmaker’s palm, making this the most secure and time consuming to apply.

Sailmaker’s whipping.

Seizing Wire

A seizing is joining a line to itself or an object using small stuff (marline or twine). When a whipping is applied to wire rope, it is called a seizing. This is done to prevent an end from opening, but also as a part of the process of cutting wire. Three seizings should be placed on either side of the planned cut. These seizings should be made tightly of steel wire and act to maintain the original balance of the tension in the wires and strands. This will stop them unlaying when the cut is completed and possibly causing injury.

Applying and snipping wire seizings.