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Barber Hauler and Twing – Sailing – Sail Away Girl


Hello Sailors,

Barber Hauler and Twing, sounds like a great name for a band doesn’t it? Nope, these are actually sailing trim set ups that I ran across when I was reading something else about sailing and as my good friend Dan says I got distracted by the next shiny object. I can’t even tell you what the heck I was reading about when I got sucked into these two trim mechanisms.

What I primarily found out, is that the only information I could find on Barber Hauler in particular, was contradictory. Barber Hauler is actually named after twins named Barber from San Diego. They were racers in the late 1950’s and were looking to fine-tune the sheet-to-jib/genoa angle and to adjust the clew laterally to improve the slot between jib/genoa and mainsail when on a beat.

Barber Hauler:

Barber Hauler

Image 1 From Defender.com. Click photo to link to the product page.


Basically, the mechanism is a line that is run through blocks on the cabin around mid ship that pulls the clew of the jib/genoa inboard. It essentially enables you to narrow the slot between the jib/genoa and the mainsail so you can go faster  and improve pointing.

A barber hauler also opens the leech of the jib/genoa and will immediately ease weather helm. It makes the jib/genoa much more efficient for reaching and prevents back winding onto the mainsail.

Please note that closing off the slot too much will backfill the main and defeat the purpose, so practice makes perfect here. It reportedly also has the added benefit of making passage on deck free of clutter and therefore safer.

Now I also found where a Barber Hauler is now considered out of date and now is a term sometimes used for pushing the clew further outboard on a downwind tack and in lieu of lines a “jib stick” or whisker pole is used. This is the complete opposite of the original inventors’ use so I’m perplexed why this would also be considered a Barber Hauler mechanism.

Whisker Pole

From Defender.com. Click photo for link to product.


Many racers use whisker poles or even their spinnaker poles for downwind runs. A spinnaker pole can be a bit of a pain to use if yours is one of the larger models, but it’s doable and of course anything that can be used for double duty on a boat is a good thing.

Another commonly used item to push the clew of the jib/genoa further outboard is the boat hook. It is usually telescoping and is lighter than the spinnaker pole.

Boat Hook

From Defender.com. Click photo for link to product.


Mountain Climber's Carabiner

Click on image for link to product.


OK so I just had to read about Twing because it’s a fun word. I like the word twang too in case you were wondering. OK so what is a Twing? It is a ring or carabiner that is placed between the clew of the jib/genoa and the jib car with a line running from the ring/carabiner to a block right below the clew.

A Twing is used to pull down on the jib sheet, when sailing off the wind on a reach, to keep from spilling the wind off the top of the sail. A line is run from the carabiner to a winch so that the tension on the Twing can be adjusted as needed.

The same thing can be accomplished by moving the jib car forward. However, the argument for the Twing is that the jib car can now stay in place as it is hard to move forward and aft all the time.

The Twing, particularly if on a carabiner, is easier to release and can stay in place when not in use by simply clipping the carabiner to the life line.

Please make sure to use a carabiner that mountain climbers use as they can handle loads like those that a sail under power can create.

The barber hauler depicted in “Image 1” above can also be used as a twing to bring the foot of the jib/genoa down, so again another piece of equipment that can perform double duty.

The Twing is also used with the spinnaker with many racers.

Fun tweaks to try. And these are not just for racers either, Cruisers make use of these tweaks too. The only caution is the additional chafe that these can cause if in the same place for any length of time so chafe gear may be in order.

See you on the water,

Sail Away Girl