Tides Swings in Favor of SDYC’s 49th Dutch Shoe Marathon

The Dutch Shoe Marathon, summer’s iconic San Diego Yacht Club and Coronado Yacht Club tradition, calls locals and tourists to watch a day of Sabot sailing on July 20, 2018 and celebrate its 49th year. Over 150 of both junior and senior sailors from Southern California yacht clubs race from SDYC to Coronado Yacht Club, a distance longer than many juniors will sail throughout the summer.

Junior Sailing Head Coach Beka Schiff expresses her excitement on the regatta. “The Dutch Shoe is a race like no other. The vibe of the entire event is so positive and sailing the event, no matter what place you come in, is extremely rewarding. One of the coolest things I have seen is some of the best sailors in the world coming back to sail the event against some of the top current sabot sailors. The Dutch Shoe is 100% competitive for some, and others take the fun approach, sailing with their kids in their boats, or even against their kids!”

Beginning in La Playa Cove, all competitors will sail down the San Diego Bay and finish in Glorietta Bay. Junior sailors typically participate between ages 8 and 15 while adults are invited to sail in the senior division. After the race, an awards ceremony will be held at Coronado Yacht Club.

The Dutch Shoe Marathon has been a tradition at SDYC for almost a half of a century, with the first DSM in 1973. The name of the regatta comes from the mainsail of the 8’ pram, designed in Long Beach, whose shape resembles a Dutch clog. Sabot means clog in Dutch. Every year, sailors of all generations gather or return to the Club for this rite of passage sail.

The 2017 overall winner was Marleigh Henehan from MBYC. Jack Egan from SDYC finished second overall and third was Diego Escobar from MBYC.

Danny North, 2nd Dutch Shoe Marathon winner and 2018 Committee Chair of the event remembers his time racing in the Marathon. “I raced the very first Dutch Shoe Marathon along with my sister, Holly. I think it was David Kuhn who beat us the first year, but I won the second year in 1974. The DSM was a staple childhood memory for me. It was a great leap into the unknown, as for the first one, none of us had ever sailed that far before.”

The Dutch Shoe Marathon, beginning at 1200 and typically taking anywhere from three to four hours, is expecting ideal tides for the race. There is no current at the theoretical moment of high or low tide, slack water, as the current must change direction. The maximum current can be expected half way between the tidal extremes, with low tide slack water at 1000, two hours before the race. Maximum beneficial flooding current should occur around 1300, right when everyone is headed “down” the bay heading south towards Coronado. Check the tides via the NOAA tide prediction for SD Bay on July 20.

“When there is current, it flows fastest in deepest water. Savvy skippers will be trying to favor the deeper shipping channel while heading down the bay, avoiding the shallower edges. But they are not allowed in the shipping channel, so that will be a constant game between racers and safety boats. Positive current means that the whole race will be occurring on a conveyer belt, moving it down the bay more quickly. I’m not sure anyone actually knows the record course time, but it seems like we could challenge that in 2018,” reaffirms Junior Sailing Director John Fretwell.

The Dutch Shoe Regatta means a day off of SDYC’s award-winning, regularly scheduled Junior Summer Program as most program participants spend this Friday racing the Dutch Shoe. For junior sailors racing in the regatta for their first time, this is a major accomplishment.

“We are very excited to host the 49th Dutch Shoe Marathon as one of the only opportunities for kids and adults alike to sail a Sabot long distance, and it is only natural that the iconic Naple Sabot Class and SDYC have a long relationship going back over 60 years. I look forward to seeing almost 200 Sabots make their voyage. There is nothing that says ‘summer is here’ more than the Dutch Shoe,” stated SDYC Commodore Michael Dorgan.

If you would like to watch the race, it is recommended to do so from Shelter Island, Seaport Village and Glorietta Bay.