Cunningham replacement

One afternoon, stumbling about the topsides, looking things over and daydreaming about getting the boat off the hard and into the water, I stopped in my tracks by the mast. Something was missing. The cunningham. How, or why, a cunningham goes missing, I don’t know. But it wasn’t there.

I immediately googled “Cunningham J35″ and came up fairly short-handed. It appears the boat originally had a 6-to-1 advantage setup with 20′ of line, but I can’t find images anywhere.

Concurrently, my most visited store, West Marine, was having their spring commissioning sale, with triple member points (which means it adds up to 15% off when you get the voucher back, instead of the typical 5%). Looking around, I found a Ronstan 50mm fiddle block both with and without a cleat. I ordered them (plus another $100 of other stuff, because boats).

Picking them up, I also got some 3/8” dacron line (20′, as recommended by the Chesapeake J/35 fleet webpage available here.). The blocks and the line have a Breaking Load just north of 3,000lbs.


Once I had everything, I laced them all together. I ended up tying a bowline around the beckett on the fiddle block that has the cleat.

On the boat, I found a convenient pad-eye bolted to the deck with four large bolts on the SB side of the mast. The build-in shackle on the block unscrews, so it was a simple matter to attach it to the pad-eye.

When I have 5 free minutes, I spend some time whipping the ends of the line.

The assembled cunningham

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