Submitted by Boris Badenov
As a fly on the wall attending the recent 82nd annual Moosehead Awards Luncheon, it admittedly has been quite a while since my wife, Natasha and I laughed so much. As almost everyone in our region knows, the mission of the Mooseheads is to poke fun – in a good-natured way – at the foibles and fumbles of Race Committees. Poking fun is one way to put it … but “roasting” is probably more like it.
To start, host club Northport YC did a terrific job of getting everyone in the mood with a well-staffed gunnery crew on the waterfront, welcoming all arriving signal boats from visiting clubs with cannon fire. Not sure how many exactly, but literally, at least several hundred rounds were fired.
Of course, every signal boat, keeping up with tradition, had at least one cannon aboard and returned volleys acknowledging their arrival. Yes, it sounded like a war zone (the local police, USCG, neighbors and their dogs were all given a courtesy notice in advance).
Bloody Marys flowing with bagpipes blowing in the background added to the atmosphere as signal boats disembarked, many of them toting up their Moosehead trophies from last year, hoping to not take them home later. A welcoming “moose cocktail” was handed to all guests arriving by sea, including unidentified moose “specimens” in test tubes. Not sure what was in them but they tasted good and went down easy.
Once inside and after a late morning cocktail or two, the show started and as usual, the International Society for the Perpetuation of Cruelty to Racing Yachtsmen (I.S.P.C.R.Y.) did not disappoint. Every year they seem to raise the bar, this year with more props, readings, citations using Karaoke, videos and even modified movie trailers.
After the opening monologue which included MH Committee intro’s, a warning to have thick skin and not be offended, and a lesson in Moose sign language, they paid homage to one of their own, by awarding a Lifetime Achievement in Yachting (DBK Award) to Park Benjamin III, who passed away just prior to the event. (An empty seat was reserved for him on the dais.)
Then came recognition for the annual Excellence in Race Committee Management, which went to the Storm Trysail Club for their running of the 2023 Block Island Rcae Week presented by Margaritaville.
And then the real fun started. I won’t go through all twelve of the awards, but suffice to say, they were all cleverly written with some being funny while some were downright hilarious. As stated by Moosehead Chair Thom Hering, “we were fortunate this year because we had a bumper crop season of Moosehead stories. We had more content than we could fit in the program, which made it difficult to decide what to present. On the flip side, however, most of the stories wrote themselves. Although ‘we do not always let the facts get in the way of a good story’, this year saw little need for us to embellish anything. Of course, not all those who won Mooseheads will agree with that, but that’s our story and we’re sticking with it.”
The yacht clubs referenced above that went home with an animal part, included: LHYC, BRYC, FYC, RYC, OGYC, CPYC, DYS, AYC, NYYC, STC, and of course, LYC.
All the citations, read by the MH Committee members were presented as “teaching moments” for RC volunteers, with the goal of helping to Make Yacht Racing Great Again (MYRGA).
The MH Supreme, as always, was the finale, and this year it included a trailer for the new epic film 2023: An Opti Odyssey (an epic worth viewing on YouTube; you’ll find the story, “When all hell breaks loose,” at sailingscuttlebutt.com).
Everyone left in good spirits with a reminder from the MH Committee that, “If you see something, say something…and hope to hear from you soon, and often.” ■