A parrel is a loop, typically made of rope or wire, that can be wrapped around an object to help it be hoisted, lowered, or moved. To avoid chafing, friction, and excess wear, the parrels are sometimes lined with plastic parrel beads which act as roller bearings to help the loop slide along the surface of the object it is attached to.
In marine applications, parrels can commonly be found on gaff rigs to help the gaff or spar raise and lower along the mast. As the loop is wrapped around the entire mast, this also allows a certain amount of rotation which is beneficial in this application (as opposed to a fixed attachment point). However, most modern rig plans and sailboats do not have gaff rigs or any sort of parrel application that would use parrel beads in this manner. Instead, these simple drilled out beads have found numerous other applications onboard and on land.
Parrel beads can also be referred to as rope stoppers, tie balls, halyard stoppers, or stopper balls, because they make excellent line terminations. At the end of a line, a parrel bead can provide the dual benefits of an easy-to-grab end knob as well as being a durable stop to prevent the line from pulling all the way through the sheave, fairlead, ferrule, or cleat. In applications where they would not need to be removed with each use, stopper balls can be more reliable and effective than a stopper knot at the end of the line. In certain applications, the beads will also protect the eye splice and whipping twine used to terminate the line. They are also commonly found on the end of shock cord in various applications.
The diameter of the parrel bead will typically be much larger than the diameter of the rope it is fitted to, contributing to its effectiveness as a stopper compared to a simple knot. Ronstan’s standard parrel bead range includes a 16mm bead suitable for 4mm line, 20mm or 25mm options suitable for 5mm line, and a 32mm bead suitable for 6mm line. These parrel beads also have a stepped bore which allows the rope end knot to be contained within the ball for a clean aesthetic.
Please do not hesitate to contact us directly with any questions you may have or view our parrel bead offering online here.