One of my most embarrassing moments as a sailing event organizer happened when I was the regatta chairman (not on the race committee as required by the group writing project on Top Race Committee Screwups but hey, it's my project, I make the rules, and I can break them).
Where was I? Where am I? Oh yes.
I had volunteered to host a Sunfish Regional Championship at my sailing club in New Jersey. In the world of Sunfish sailing, Regionals are a pretty big deal. They are the highest level of open event below the North Americans, the winner of each Regional qualifies to sail in the Sunfish World Championship, and the events are usually written up in the class newsletter the Windward Leg. I knew already that at least one former Sunfish World Champion and at least one former Sunfish North American Champion, plus a sprinkling of national champions from other classes, plus all the local New Jersey hotshots would be coming to the event. So I wanted to do a good job. I did not want to screw-up.
I persuaded the best people I knew in the club who sailed other classes to be on the race committee so I could sail in the Regional myself. I used every method I could think of to publish news of the regatta and ensure a large entry. I wrote the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions and agreed them with the PRO. I set up the paperwork for registration and arranged some volunteers to handle that on the day. I bought some really cool trophies. I was working hard to ensure that this would be a quality event.
What else? Oh yes, food and drink. Very important.
I made all the arrangements to make sure that the sailors would be well fed and watered before, during and after sailing. As part of this I decided that I would break from the usual tradition of sandwiches and chips for lunch and treat the Sunfish sailors like the finely tuned athletes that they imagined themselves to be (and some are). So for lunch one day I would give them energy bars and fruit and a sports drink. I went down to the local supermarket and grabbed a random selection of dozens of energy bars including my favorite Clif Bars. I was all set.
On the first day of the regatta we handed out bags of my healthy fitness lunches to the sailors on the water between races. The fleet dispersed from the committee boat and the sailors settled down to open the bags and enjoy their lunches.
Then I started to hear howls of complaint from all over the fleet. It seemed that some of the male sailors had problems with the contents of their bags...
"I'm not eating this."
"What are you trying to do to me?"
I sailed over to find out what the problem was. It turned out that in my haste to grab energy bars in the shop I had accidentally bought a batch of Luna Bars which are marketed as "the whole nutrition bar for women". And of course most of the Luna Bars had been given to male sailors. Oops.
The men thought that one bite of this girlie food was going to play havoc with their hormones. They imagined all sorts of terrible side-effects including facial hair loss, higher voices, growing breasts... or shrinking of vital parts of the male anatomy. I never heard the end of it.
But in my defence I would like to point out that a certain sailor did not eat his Luna Bar for Saturday lunch and had a fairly mediocre score at the end of the day by his standards. But then he did eat the female dietary supplement before sailing on Sunday... and went on to win the regatta.
Way to go Chris! Sorry about those side-effects.