By Charles K. Egan, ESQ.
The 45th annual Dutch Shoe Marathon, which covers the 7.2 nautical miles between SDYC and Coronado Yacht Club, was tackled by 152 junior and senior sailors in near perfect conditions on a sunny July 18th. The favorable current and breeze, in addition to the lack of participation in this year’s race by Navy and commercial traffic, made for one of the fastest and cleanest Dutch Shoe’s in recent memory. This, along with the decision to add a Leukemia Cup component to the race to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, made 2014 a race to remember.
In keeping with the tradition of staggered fleet starts, the C Fleet boats were first out of La Playa and followed in order by B Fleet, A Fleet and Seniors. Sailors who fundraised for LLS were given green stripes to place on the head of their sail courtesy of Chris Snow at North Sails, John Gladstone at North Graphics, and the Plavan family. As usual, a sizable spectator fleet accompanied the racers down the harbor, taking advantage of the once a year look through the viewfinder at 100 pound sabots on a backdrop of 100,000 ton carriers.
Leaving the Shelter Island basin with a flood tide to follow them down the course and a cooperative 6-8 knot breeze, the C Fleeters put the hammer down, gave the rest of the fleet a near permanent view of their transoms, and led the way to CYC. With the race up for grabs in the Glorietta channel and Corinthian patiently awaiting the finishers at the turn in the bay, two SDYC juniors jockeyed for the lead in the closing moments of the race. In the end, Sean Caulfield played the Glorietta shifts the best and narrowly edged out young Peter Busch for the 2014 Dutch Shoe Marathon championship. The C Fleet had carried the day, numbering seventeen of the top twenty overall finishers.
Finishing in seventh place overall in just her first Dutch Shoe race was First Girl to Finish Katie Plavan, followed by Katie Olsen in tenth place overall. Top SDYC finishers in other fleets included A Fleet sailor Piper Holthus (3rd in fleet, 28th overall), A Fleet sailor Jack Egan (4th in fleet, 34th overall), B Fleet sailor Jack Plavan (2nd in fleet, 15th overall), and Senior Fleet sailors Scotty Sinks (2nd in fleet, 47th overall), Commodore Chuck Sinks (3rd in fleet, 55th overall), and Eric Heim (4th in fleet, 58th overall).
Thanks to CYC for being such a great post-race host and kudos to Director John Reiter, Junior Director John Fretwell, and the many junior coaches and volunteers that came together and ran a great race.
As if the fun and camaraderie of this race wasn’t enough in and of itself, this year’s Dutch Shoe was also a Leukemia Cup event and sailors raised funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the days leading up to the race in a show of support for SDYC junior Jack Egan’s battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. North Sails, the Holthus family, and LLS donated prizes for the top fundraisers. In a little over six weeks our sailors raised in excess of $51,000, an absolutely unbelievable and unprecedented effort by our juniors. This is a testament to both the character of our sailors and to the philanthropy of our community as a whole, and it is certainly cause to step back for a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are to be a part of the fabric of something so great.
On a personal note, our family owes a world of thanks for the work of so many people who supported and encouraged our son Jack by making the Leukemia Cup a reality. Our thanks in particular are due to JAC Chair Steve Harris, Junior Commodore Clayton Schluter, Cole Harris, the Plavan family, the Caulfield family, the Junior Board, Commodore Chuck Sinks and the entire SDYC Board. Though we never really saw it coming, the stars aligned and Jack was able to sail the race this year despite being in the middle of his chemotherapy regimen and spending the day before the race in the hospital. There is no question in our minds that that the outpouring of support was a major reason for his resolve to sail the Shoe, and the scene at the finish line with Corinthian’s horn accompanying the applause and cheers of the sailors and spectator fleet is something we will never forget.