On Friday, July 20, over 150 sailors, both junior and senior from several Southern California clubs, celebrated the 49th annual Dutch Shoe Marathon with a long, fun race from San Diego Yacht Club to Coronado Yacht Club in sabots.
The DSM started with an ideal 0.5 knot current and steady breeze around 8 knots from the south, creating an even course for late starting fleets. As the sabots sailed out of Shelter Island, the clouds broke and the wind shifted to the west, making for a fairly quick race. Sailors of all experience levels participated in the Dutch Shoe Marathon after a summer of preparation. Coaches advised them to stay hydrated, stay relaxed and stay focused during their trek down Coronado Roads and through Glorietta Bay. As per tradition, juniors filled their boats with the best snacks, candy, sandwiches and Gatorade.
Jack Reiter, SDYC member and junior sailing instructor described his take on the DSM. “I’ve sailed the Dutch Shoe Marathon for about 7 or 8 years and I just love how special it is for the sailors of all different ages... from the C3’s all the way to the seniors.”
Member and Instructor Matt Dorgan followed Reiter’s comment. “We really like coaching these kids because we went through what they went through as members. We’ve sailed this race plenty of times and know how it feels to participate in it and accomplish it.”
Mission Bay Yacht Club’s Kaden Miller (C Fleet), held the lead for the majority of the race with Coronado Yacht Club’s Preston Miller (C Fleet), right behind him. About half way through the race as the sabots approached downtown San Diego, Preston pulled ahead and took the lead for the next beat of the race. However, as the sabots passed under the Coronado Bridge into Glorietta Bay, the current switched up and the fleet compressed along the carrier. About 30 boats were given the chance to catch up.
Not long following, Coronado Yacht Club’s Max Olson (C Fleet) hugged the shore line and pulled ahead, taking the final stride into the finishing line and coming in first overall and in the C fleet.
“I feel great. It’s a big thing for me,” Max commented. “This race is the biggest, [Sabot] Nationals is close, but this race is a fun race down the bay. I like that in sailing, some races are quieter and you can just relax. It’s not competitive but a fun sport to be a part of. My advice to other sailors is just to try again. Come back. All people have a chance to win, you just have to get out there.”
Preston Miller held his place and crossed the finish 10 seconds behind Max, taking second overall and in the C Fleet. In third was San Diego Yacht Club’s Alice Schmid (B Fleet) taking first for the girls and the B fleet, followed by Kaden Miller in fourth. First in the A Fleet was SDYC’s Mackenzie Harris and first in the Senior Fleet was SDYC’s Scott Finkboner.
“The Dutch Shoe is the longest race I’ve done. I like how all these people from all these yacht clubs that I hardly ever see are all here with one goal - to sail down the channel to Coronado. It takes a whole lot of patience and snacks… You have to look at your tell tales, the water and the sail because it will be constantly changing throughout the entire race. Anyone should do this, it’s great self-character building,” explained Preston.
SDYC Commodore Michael Dorgan was out on the water with his family as well. “A huge thanks goes out to SDYC Junior Sailing Director John Fretwell and coaches for preparing our sailors and other yacht club sailors to be able to travel such a long distance. The kids, and parents, all conducted themselves alike to launch over 150 sabots with associated gear and all. Like Fretwell has said, it takes a village to run this event, but this year there was nothing but success and smiling faces. Watching the race from the power boat and seeing the kids having a great time really gets your heart racing. It’s fantastic to see so many young sailors participate.”
The Dutch Shoe Marathon is about more than sailing. It’s about building relationships with your fellow sailors and being there for each other during the fun race. About half way through the race, C Fleet’s Carlin Fretwell experienced some trouble with her sail. A pin had come loose and Carlin was beginning to fall behind when another SDYC junior sailor, Oakley Cunningham (B Fleet), halted his race to help her get her boat back together.
“That’s kind of what the Dutch Shoe is all about, people helping each other and having fun. It was pretty cool seeing some of the older sailors giving tips to the younger sailors,” added Instructor Michael Dorgan.
Awards were announced at the Coronado Yacht Club along with a celebration commemorating a huge accomplishment for the sailors of the DSM, which for most of them was their farthest distance in the summer program. This year’s race ran very smoothly with no traffic and no interruptions, just a beautiful day on the water.
Looking to next year, the 50th annual Dutch Shoe Marathon now has everyone’s attention. You can expect next year’s event to be the largest event ever, with hopefully over 200 sailors and some adjustments to accommodate a larger fleet while respecting the traditions. We hope to see everyone there for the biggest Dutch Shoe Marathon yet.