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Cunningham Systems

The cunningham controls the fore and aft position of draft in the mainsail or genoa and works together with the traveler, mainsheet, outhaul and vang to optimize sail shape and increase boatspeed. Cunningham controls lead to the crew to encourage adjustment as wind speed changes.

Typical Boat Length:
Small Boat: 22' - 28' (6.7 - 8.5 m)
Midrange: 29' - 34' (8.8 - 10.4 m)
Big Boat: 35' - 42' (10.7 - 12.8 m)

4:1 Cascaded

This simple 4:1 system leads aft to the cockpit. A favorite on small keelboats and daysailers.

DiagramRef. Description Small Boat Part No. Midrange Part No. Big Boat Part No.
A Single 2146 2148  —
B Stand-up 349 2652  —
C Cheek 350 2644  —
D Cam cleat 470 458  —

8:1 Cascaded

The most basic cunningham is a self-cleating 4:1 tackle positioned at the mastbase.

DiagramRef.DescriptionSmall Boat Part No.Midrange Part No.Big Boat Part No.
AFiddle24426552621
BFiddle24526582624

4:1 Double-ended Cascaded

This system is easy to adjust from the trapeze. It’s easy to rig and unrig. Popular on smaller beach cats.

DiagramRef.DescriptionSmall Boat Part No.Midrange Part No.Big Boat Part No.
ASingle348 — —
BPivoting lead395
CCheek233

12:1 Cascaded

This simple 2:1 purchase is attached to a 6:1 cascade for a 12:1 system. Used on larger racing and cruising boats.

DiagramRef.DescriptionSmall Boat Part No.Midrange Part No.Big Boat Part No.
ATriple34426402640
BTriple34726482648

6:1 Double-ended Jib Downhaul

Small boats like J/24s use a double-ended genoa cunningham system to adjust draft from the weather rail.

DiagramRef.DescriptionSmall Boat Part No.Midrange Part No.Big Boat Part No.
ASingle214621492152
BCheek35026442606
CCam cleat468150150
DBullseye339339237

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Chiudi