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The Dutch Shoe Marathon celebrates 50 Years!

by Casey Allocco 12 Jul 2023 20:48 BST July 21, 2023
Dutch Shoe Marathon © Simone Staff Photography

Cheers to 50 years! For five decades, San Diego Yacht Club and Coronado Yacht Club have co-hosted the summer's staple Sabot race, the Dutch Shoe Marathon.

This year, on Friday, July 21, over 150 junior and senior Sabot sailors will sail from La Playa (SDYC) to Glorietta Bay (CYC) in celebration of this special anniversary. If you haven't registered yet, now's the time. Don't miss out on history in the making.

It's not every day that any regatta turns 50, which just goes to say that there must be something extraordinary about this event. If you ask around some San Diego Yacht Club natives, you might hear the phrase "rite of passage." You might catch a story or two about generations sharing in the tradition, or about parents making on-the-water memories with their little ones. To honor the anniversary, the regatta is sporting a new theme this year - the 70s! Look out for tie-dye tees and groovy Dutch Shoe prizes.

SDYC Director Alli Bell has always been a huge fan of the Dutch Shoe Marathon, displaying endless enthusiasm for the race and junior program. "The Dutch Shoe is a rite of passage for new sailors—regardless of their age—and a reminder of the simpler things in life for those of us who are a little older. There's nothing quite like being part of the pilgrimage that is more than 100 8-foot boats sailing all the way down the Bay. Anyone near the water that day notices that it brings our Sabot community closer and is a good ambassador for the sport."

Most SDYC juniors describe the race as "long." And it is. For many, it's the longest race they've done yet and from one destination to another, instead of their normal buoy racing during program. A typical Dutch Shoe Marathon takes about two hours, depending on the breeze. In this two hours, sailors experience new San Diego Bay conditions, fishing boats, large Navy vessels, general traffic, and of course, the view from underneath the Coronado Bridge. Over the years, the course has stayed pretty much the same...a testament to the popularity and success of the event.

The regatta is again split into four divisions this year: A, B, and C fleets, and Seniors. Last year, Ronan Servais in C Fleet earned first place.

Servais gave essential advice for new Dutch Shoe sailors, "Don't look behind you. Look forward. And don't focus on other people," he said. He's right! There are a lot of distractions on the Dutch Shoe course, and its crucial to stay focused and sail your own race if you want to finish on the podium.

This year, similar to prior editions of the event, the Awards Ceremony and post-race social will be held at the Coronado Yacht Club, where sailors will be awarded the classic red Dutch shoes for the following categories: 1st-5th place of Senior, A and B fleets; 1st-10th place of C fleet; 1st Doublehanded; 1st to Finish; 1st to Weather Mark; 1st to Capsize; Predicted Log aka Juan Rodriguez Award; and the Secretary of the Navy award.

Special award this year is the Best Dressed 70s Sailor! The Best Dressed will be taking home a unique 70s edition of the Dutch Shoe. Sailors, family members, and spectators will enjoy a BBQ paired with a DJ playing the best hits from the 70s.

Spectators are encouraged to come out on the water for this one-of-a-kind event and cheer on the colorful fleet of sailors. The race is set to begin in La Playa Cove at 1200.

Julie Servais is thrilled to be co-chair of this special anniversary. "We invite all sailing enthusiasts, families, and spectators to join us in celebrating this extraordinary milestone of the 50th Dutch Shoe Marathon. The Dutch Shoe is not just a race. It's a cherished tradition, a rite of passage, and a unifying event for our sabot community. Come witness the determination, skill, and camaraderie of over 150 junior and senior Sabot sailors as they navigate the challenging course and make memories that will last a lifetime. Don't miss your chance to be a part of history in the making on Friday, July 21, starting at 1200 in La Playa Cove. See you there!"

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