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Old 04-06-2013, 05:08   #1
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Cunningham / New Main

I'm a much better fisherman than I am a sailor, as in I'm a novice. I recently bought a new fully battened main with 3 reefs and although I requested it, it did not come with a Cunningham. The previous main had a Cunningham. The boat has been in refit since I bought it. Going for a 3 week cruise and sailing lessons in 10 days.

My research is the Cunningham is used to move the draft forward when pointing in higher winds the draft is pushed aft creating loss of power. If the halyard is used for the same purpose the twist in the sail may be lost...closed roach. My advisor tells me that cruisers rarely if ever use the Cunningham.

My common sense tells me that if the wind is getting strong I would probably reef the main anyway and therefore the Cunningham does not come not play.

Any comments??? How important is the Cunningham? My boat is a Ted Brewer designed Cape North 43; hull is fin with rudder on skeg...Brewer bite currently sloop rigged although can be cutter also.

Thanks Folks
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Old 04-06-2013, 15:04   #2
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Re: Cunningham / New Main

I'm not sure that a cunningham would move the draft on a fully battened sail. In fact, I think that on such a sail, the draft position is fixed by the batten flexibility.

IME, the advantages of a cunningham over playing with the halyard for adjusting luff tension are:
- there is generally less friction on the cunningham (not as many sheaves)
- even if the head of the sail goes up to the masthead sheave, it's still possible to increase luff tension.

The vang has more effect than the halyard on roach tension.

Alain
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Old 04-06-2013, 16:25   #3
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Re: Cunningham / New Main

As mentioned above, the cunningham is really just an easier way to adjust luff tension without needing to adjust the main halyard. In conditions of variable wind, it is a pain in the ass to be constantly adjusting halyard tension. The cunningham allows you to adjust luff tension tighter or looser in a second or two.

In simple terms, more luff tension is desirable in stronger breeze. And sure; you'd reef if the breze gets too strong, but between no breeze and reefing there is plenty of scope for "tweaking".
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Old 04-06-2013, 16:35   #4
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Re: Cunningham / New Main

As usual, Weyalan has this pegged.

IIRC, the Cunningham (developed by a famous sailor named Briggs Cunningham I think) was used in racing where there was a "black band" near the mast head which marked the maximum point that you could hoist your sail and be within measurement limits. Naturally, folks wanted to have their sails cut to the max size permissible for light airs, and so the sail reached the BB when hoisted with little luff tension. When the wind piped up and more tension was desired, the Cunningham could introduce it without exceeding the BB's limits.

Only you can decide if your style of sailing will benefit from incorporating this device for tweaking before reefing.

Cheers,

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Old 04-06-2013, 16:39   #5
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Re: Cunningham / New Main

An old cheater from the IOR days.
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Old 04-06-2013, 17:03   #6
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Re: Cunningham / New Main

Never used one cruising, but could have... if you rig your reefing with a hook/line forward for the tack cringle... just use it as a cunningham if you desire... nothing extra but having a cringle put in the sail....
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Old 04-06-2013, 18:31   #7
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Re: Cunningham / New Main

I have a cringle I could use as a cunningham but never do. I would have to go to the mast to do it but can adjust halyard tension from the cockpit. Apart from that, I am cruising and not racing - There have been a couple of times I might have used it but I am lazy and have twenty three other things to do on the boat at any given moment. What would I get out of the adjustment? A tenth of a knot? Two tenths? Who cares?
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Old 04-06-2013, 18:44   #8
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pirate Re: Cunningham / New Main

Quote:
Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
I have a cringle I could use as a cunningham but never do. I would have to go to the mast to do it but can adjust halyard tension from the cockpit. Apart from that, I am cruising and not racing - There have been a couple of times I might have used it but I am lazy and have twenty three other things to do on the boat at any given moment. What would I get out of the adjustment? A tenth of a knot? Two tenths? Who cares?
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Old 04-06-2013, 18:48   #9
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Re: Cunningham / New Main

I always like my cruising mains a little flatter than a racing main, kinda gets rid o f the need for a cunningham I guess....
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Old 04-06-2013, 22:57   #10
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Re: Cunningham / New Main

Thanks for the info. I guess I think if there is a way to tweek the sail and improve performance why not be able to do it.
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