It happens quite often. You visit a tall ships festival at a nearby harbor and on all of the ships you see these:
So you turn to one of the crew members and you ask, “What are those fuzzy caterpillar looking things up there?” And they smile and answer “Those are Baggywrinkle. ” (No joke, this is a pretty common question to be asked and one of my favorites)
But What Exactly is Baggywrinkle?
Baggywrinkle is a form of chafe gear that is attached to points on the ship where a sail might rub against it. The goal is to provide a soft surface that will not wear a hole through the fabric of the sail. I have most often seen it attached to the lifts that hold up a boom (example: the Spanker on the Brig Pilgrim) where the sail is going to be blown against the leeward lift.
How it’s made
Baggrywrinkle is actually made of old rope that has been deconstructed, cut into short lengths and tied to stretched lengths of seine twine. Once it has been made, it is wrapped in a spiral around line or spar in question. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of work to create enough baggywrinkle to make a difference, but it is a great chance to sit and socialize with your crewmates or (if the place you are making it is open to the public) a great way to engage the public and start a conversation with them about tall ships and sailing.