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Fairleads You may be asking, "What's a fairlead?" Oh, about a foot depending on how fast the bird is... No, seriously, it is a guide that helps the spool lay down cable tightly and evenly. They come in two basic styles. Roller: It protects the wire cable from unnecessary abrasion and wear as you're pulling the cable on and off the spool due to rollers that cover every angle. It also helps to guide the cable on and off the spool tightly and evenly at any angle. Hawse: Like a roller fairlead, a hawse fairlead helps guide the cable on and off the spool tightly and evenly, but there is less cable abrasion protection due to the lack of rollers.