Baggywrinkle is the scruffy-looking padding made from bits of scrap rope. It is wrapped around part of the rigging (shrouds and spreaders) to protect sails from chafing.
Baggywrinkles have become a rarity in the modern sailing world, but we have witnessed one place where they should make a comeback: Full-batten mainsails are increasingly popular, but when you let the sail out the full battens come in contact with the lower shroud.
Two parallel lengths of marline are stretched between fixed points, and the lengths of yarn are attached using a hitch (knot) called a “railroad sennit”. This creates a long, shaggy fringe which, when the marline is wound around a cable, becomes a large hairy cylinder.
Manilla rope is the answer to flat or droopy baggywrinkle. While baggywrinkle could be made out of any rope (nylon, dacron…), most salty ‘old-timers’ recommend manila rope. The characteristics of the man-made ropes that make them soft and good handling are the opposite of what you want in baggywrinkle.
Manilla rope fibers are stiff and bristly, they also don’t absorb water adding weight aloft in foul weather.