Sabot sailing is an essential activity for Junior Sailors at San Diego Yacht Club, especially during the summer season. In observance of this tradition, on July 21, 2017, San Diego Yacht Club will host the 48th Dutch Shoe Marathon, a distance dinghy race for both Junior and Senior Sailors from SDYC to Coronado Yacht Club completed in a sabot sailboat.
The annual event draws over 150 sailors each year from numerous yacht clubs located throughout Southern California. Most juniors that participate are between ages 8 and 15, and adults are encouraged to race in the senior division.
The race starts in La Playa cove and competitors sail down San Diego Bay, finish in Glorietta Bay, and celebrate at the awards ceremony later that afternoon at Coronado Yacht Club. This is the longest distance many of these juniors will sail throughout the summer program and finishing the race will be a huge accomplishment for these children.
According to John Fretwell, San Diego Yacht Club’s Junior Sailing Director, “The Dutch Shoe Marathon is a uniquely SDYC experience, and a defining moment of every summer. On Dutch Shoe day, we cancel everything else, so it’s all about the Shoe. Lots of Junior Sailing alumni come back to sail the Dutch Shoe, year after year, and some families have even had three generations race down the bay at once! It’s a rite of passage that’s so fun, we do it over and over again!
The 2016 overall winner was Jake Major from Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. Samantha Gardner from SDYC finished second overall and third was Morgan Pinckney from Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
The 2017 SDYC Commodore, John Reiter, helps frame the race with a modern day comparison and shares some of the event’s history.
“We have another moniker for the Dutch Shoe, we call it the ‘Sabot Transpac’ because it happens in the same month as the iconic LA-to-Honolulu race, which starts by sailing upwind for a while and slowly works its way downwind to an exotic island destination (taking a couple hours vs 10 days)! The kids who whose names are on this trophy over the years are a who's who of competitive sailors from Southern California over the past several decades, including Olympic medal winners, college sailing All-Americans, and America's Cup racers.”
Reiter also explains the meaning behind the race name. “The Dutch Shoe is named after the logo on the mainsail of the 8' pram, designed in Long Beach and whose shape resembles a Dutch clog. Sabot means clog in Dutch.”
This iconic event is something that both locals and tourists alike won’t want to miss. The three to four hour race will begin at 12pm, and the recommended places to watch from shore are: Shelter Island, Seaport Village, and Glorietta Bay.