My new career is organizing sailboat races wearing a blazer with nice insignia. Last week I’ve organized the Eastern Hemisphere Championship (sort of European Championships) for the Star Class in close cooperation with the KNZ&RV, The Royal Dutch Yacht Club.
I realized that organizing large meetings for many people, make them feel comfortable and having them outperform themselves is something I enjoy a lot. I was supposed to organize and join the racing. But during weight measurement it became clear that this was not going to happen. Together with my son we were 7 kilos too heavy and were not allowed to participate… I could barely hold my tears driving my son to the railway station. I had prepared this event since February and now I could only drive a speedboat and follow the races from a distance.
It took me 2 days to step into my new role of Chairman of the Regatta (although the other competitors this probably didn’t notice) and start to like what we were doing. We organized a great formal dinner for 100 sailors, their acquaintances and volunteers with a performance by children of the Lucia Marthas Institute of Performing Arts, had a Tombola and SUP races. Next to that we sailed 7 great races led by Hein Nanninga, the Race Officer of the Yacht Club. We provided everybody with trackers so that it was possible to follow the races real time and professional photographers captured the best moments.
We received a lot of appreciation and a five time Olympian from Greece congratulated us with the words: ‘This was one of the best regattas that I ever attended!” Next to that I learned more about sailing my boat than when I would have joined the races. I noticed the differences in sail trim between the top and the sub-top sailors, realized what tactics people were using and got a better overview of racing in general. It was one of the first times that I didn’t participate but could look from the Balcony (as Heifetz suggests) to what was happening. I am deeply grateful to all the volunteers who have put so much time and energy in co-organizing this event and make it as successful as it was.
So our next challenge is to loose 7 kilos in a week. If my son and I manage, we will join the races next week in Switzerland: 80 boats and 100.000$ prize money… Who knows, the buttons of my blazer might be tightened after 10 years.