After a 15 months sabbatical from racing the Cape Fear 38’ “Tangent” program reassembled at 2016 Sperry Charleston Race Week and regained its’ winning form claiming 4 first in 4 starts in extreme conditions and currents. While the victory took place over the weekend, the ground work was set months in advance through extensive planning and preparation.
In the months prior to the regatta boat preparations, crew and housing arrangements, sail inventory considerations and practice schedules were coordinated. The boat was 100% race ready and launched early so the crew could spend two days practicing before the first race. Wednesday’s inshore practice focused on upwind work and rig tuning, specifically fine tuning for heavy-air and big seas anticipated for that weekend. Thursday was a long day of practice starting out in the 6 - 8 foot seas stirred up by the 25 - 32 knot north easterly breeze. This was followed by 4 hours of upwind and downwind tacking and gybing, sets and take-downs in 18 - 24 knots on the inshore course. Our team was race ready!
Friday morning welcomed 26 - 32 knot breezes offshore with 7 - 10 foot seas resulting in cancellation of racing for the offshore course. Saturday morning the breeze had laid down a little to 20 – 25 knots at start time. The race committee struggled to set a course and start line in the tough conditions but managed to get a race off as conditions deteriorated. The winds increased to 25 - 30 knots with very rough seas making it a tough race with every competitor.
On Tangent we lead pretty much wire to wire suffering through a failed spinnaker halyard clutch, which lead to our bow sprit being torn from the bow of the boat, shrimping the AIRX 700 A-2 spinnaker and suffering 2 separate 15 foot tears; all on our first downwind leg. Our seasoned crew quickly recovered, jury rigging the boat on the upwind leg, swapped out kites and had a good set for the downwind leg to the finish. We handled the weather better than most, especially better than the race committee who after being thrashed around all morning called racing for the day with multiple race committee members injured.
Sunday the breeze dropped a little to 19 – 22 knots. The race committee wisely moved our fleet inshore, up the Wando river. We sailed in 3 knots of current, huge geographic shifts in fickle breeze that ranged from 6 - 24 knots over the course of the day. After 3 more windward leeward races on Sunday, this regatta was in the books. Tangent enjoyed a perfect score of four bullets in four races; a nice reward for all the hard work, preparation and practice.
Tangent has a full inventory of sails from Chesapeake Sailmakers comprised of carbon fiber membrane mainsail and jibs with Airx Nylon asymmetrical spinnakers.