I was very excited to start off 2012 on the water. When Skipper Dave sent an email about the annual Hair of the Dog Race on New Year’s Day, I thought it sounded like fun. Dragging myself out of bed on the morning of January 1, after partying with friend on New Year’s Eve, was not fun.

Hair of the Dog: Ben Takes The Tiller

Hair of the Dog: Ben Takes The Tiller

Greasy McDonald’s breakfast in hand, I met up with the team at the marina. Fortunately, or not so fortunately, I wasn’t the only one with an unintended hangover that day. With that in mind, we started the race cautiously, choosing the conservative jib #3.*

The course was to be three laps on the the Potomac River between the boat house north of Old Town and the Woodrow Wilson bridge (marks 6 and 2).

With only about a dozen boats on the water, we enjoyed a less hectic start than usual, and were able to sail our intended course. By the time we rounded the first mark, we had hit our stride and were feeling more confident – and less hung-over thanks the cold, fresh air. We switched to the larger jib #2 and started gaining on the competition.

The race results aren’t in, but I think we finished in the middle of the pack.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and temps were probably in the high 50’s, though it was darn cold when we were beating upwind on the water. Thanks to the Daingerfield Island Sailing Club for organizing the race – it was a great way to start the New Year.

*The jib is the smaller, ‘front’ sail on a boat. The jib contributes to speed and power. Jibs come in many sizes, and most boats will carry several for different conditions. The larger the number of the jib, the smaller it is. The largest jib, called a Genoa or Jib #1, will be so large that it will overlap the main sail behind it when you view the boat from the side.

A smaller jib would be desirable in strong wind when you may be worried about being overpowered. It may also be a good choice when when your crew is hungover.

A Smaller Jib Means Less Surface Area To Catch The Wind

A Smaller Jib Means Less Surface Area To Catch The Wind