(From an Undisclosed Location, November 24, 2019) – For almost eight decades, a “secret association” of sailboat racers called “The International Society for the Perpetuation of Cruelty to Racing Yachtsmen”(ISPCRY) has recognized both excellence in race committee work in Long Island Sound, as well as gaffes that will “live in infamy.” Affectionately known (or not-so-affectionately, depending on which end of the moose you’re on!) as the Moosehead Committee, the group convenes at the end of each racing year to roast the human failings of deserving race committees, as well as to toast the race officials who have gone above and beyond in the performance of their duties. This year’s event was held at the Manhassett Bay Yacht Club in Port Washington, New York with the usual sold-out 200+ attendees.
Every year, all of the race committees attending the event arrive at the host club (which is rotated annually around various venues) via their race committee vessels where they are greeted with salutes from signal cannons ashore. Each RC boat then returns fire (using blanks, of course). The ensuing volleys between shore and boats are numerous, often to the consternation of the local constabulary.
Bagpipes then accompany each club’s RC personnel to the banquet and awards. It’s all done with pomp and circumstance, but the pomposity is promptly popped once the awards begin. Just about every club that rings LI Sound has been “graced” by a Moosehead award – the most “prestigious” of which are “enormoosely” large, authentic, mounted moose heads that tradition holds must be hung in the winning club for the entirety of the year until the following year’s ceremony. (It should be noted that several of these mounts are well-worn and somewhat ratty, so if you have a mounted moose lying about the house please let them know. Taxidermy of other animals – deer or wild boar, for example – are also employed in the ceremonies, as are parts of animals such as butts and hooves. Please note: The Moosehead Committee is not that picky when it comes to its trophies, but greatly prefer that donations not be fresh roadkill.)
The ISPCRY’s sense of decorum (such as it is) demands that those who have received an award in the category of a mishap or mistake are treated anony-moosely, but excellence is celebrated and moose-called out. This year, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club and Oakcliff Sailing were jointly recognized with The Moosehead Committee citation for flawlessly running two Class 1 Match Racing regattas (a World Sailing certification that is only given to a handful of events around the world) this past summer.
The “Donald B. King” Award is the Moosehead Committee’s lifetime achievement award for race committee service, and is only awarded as circumstances warrant. Don King (not to be confused with the comb-challenged boxing promoter) was a local race committee legend and longtime member of the ISPCRY. The unusual trophy – a cremation urn that contains the ashes of the previous mounted Moosehead Supreme that met a tragic and untimely end when the club in which it was hung burned to the ground – was awarded to Ray Redniss (of Storm Trysail Club and Stamford Yacht Club) for his decades of race committee excellence in everything from local beer-can racing to World Championship regattas for a variety dinghy classes all the way up to grand prix yachts. In keeping with the spirit of the Moosehead Awards and proving a complete lack of favoritism, Redniss also won one of the less-glorious awards shortly after receiving the Donald B. King Award.
The Moosehead Committee is always on the lookout for moose-worthy shenanigans, so “if you see something, say something.” A special “snitch line” has been established via the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All reports will be kept confidential.
In an unrelated development, the Moosehead Committee wishes to disclaim a rogue Facebook page – Moosehead Yacht Klub – that is clearly the doings of an insider “moose-mole” who is intent on divulging some of the inner workings of the ISPCRY. We cannot confirm nor deny our approval of this social media outlet, but wish to note that loose moose lips often lead to good moosehead tips. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MooseheadYachtKlub/