History of The Whip

The "Whip"

After hundreds of years of good seamanship, the historical method of whipping the line end with twine or cord, remains the best method and lasts the longest.

The actual method for whipping varies. Some wrap the twine (floss or cord) around the rope and then tuck the ends between and through the rope strands, wrapping the whipping itself in what is often called the "sailmaker's" whip. Others tuck the ends back through the line and whipping to make what's called the "sailor's" whip. Some tie a series of knots to create a "knotted" or "West Country" whip. 

References as far back as the 1300s show that whipcord was also used to tightly bind things subject to rough service, like the ends of rope, the fastening of fish hooks to line, the marking of a church's bell ropes, or around an archer's bow string.

Today though, whipping's most important use is to prevent the lines on your boat from falling apart. This condition of shaggy-ended rope has been variously known as cow tails or deadmen.

The Pinta, the fastest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first transatlantic voyage in 1492, is shown above using traditional whipping on the rigging lines. The New World was first sighted by Rodrigo de Triana on the Pinta on October 12, 1492.