Please select your home edition

Nearly 200 Jr. Sabot sailors parade San Diego Bay for Dutch Shoe Marathon

by Casey Allocco 19 Jul 19:33 PDT 19 July 2019
2019 Dutch Shoe Marathon © Carol McKnight

Nearly 200 sailors, both junior and senior, competed in the annual Dutch Shoe Marathon (DSM) on Friday. This iconic regatta begins at the San Diego Yacht Club and finishes at the Coronado Yacht Club, a trek that for most junior sailors is their longest distance race yet. This year marks the 47th annual running of this Southern California right-of-passage.

Mission Bay Yacht Club's Paige Tillson, 11, (C Fleet) came in first with a solid lead throughout the entirety of the race. Behind Tillson in second place was Siena Nichols (C Fleet) of Balboa Yacht Club, who pulled into the position in the second half of the race. Battling hand in hand with Nichols was Caleb Everett (C Fleet) of Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. The three were able to hold their position in the front of the fleet right from the start.

When asked how it felt to win the Dutch Shoe Marathon, Tillson answered, "It's exciting, but I'm also really tired."

"Starting in C Fleet definitely gave me an advantage," she continued. "My best moments in the race were my start, the first windward mark, and coming up around the point to Coronado. We've been practicing at Mission Bay Yacht Club so we could be better prepared for the long downwind legs."

The race kicked off at 12:00 PM from La Playa cove. A cluster of sabots lined up for a series of four starts - C Fleet, B Fleet, A Fleet, and Seniors - to begin their three-hour long race through the San Diego Bay. Sailors saw perfect conditions on the water with blue skies, sunshine and 9-12 knots of wind. However, as the fleet reached the middle of the race, the breeze came in puffs and the current fought against them, challenging these young sailors to stay patient and use their best techniques.

Sailing next to Paige Tillson was her older brother, Shane, 13, (A Fleet), who finished near the top of his fleet and was able to catch up fairly well to his sister who had a 6 minute head start with the C Fleeters. "I've sailed the Dutch Shoe Marathon four times. I just love this whole race. It's so different from everything else," started Shane Tillson.

"The hardest part is where the Navy ship is because there is a big wind shadow there. You have to be really patient because you can either pass a lot of boats or they can pass you," he finished.

An army of coach boats rode along side the racers, assuring their safety and advising 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. Most coaches have been DSM participants themselves for many years of their childhood.

SDYC's Head Coach, Molly Pleskus, commented on today's race. "The first few boats got pretty far ahead and there was a lot of overlap between fleets really quickly. Before we even got out of La Playa we had A-Fleeters catching up and passing everybody... A long day like this can be a little much for some of the small sailors who were already exhausted and the tide was against us, but they all did really well."

In addition to our first, second and third place finishers, there are many more DSM awards presented to the juniors and seniors after the races. One of the most iconic awards is First to Capsize, won this year by Conrad Cook from Newport Harbor Yacht Club, racing in the A Fleet.

"We only had one capsize that didn't keep sailing," started Pleskus. It shows great spirit and a good level of character from all of our junior sailors that for the most part, everyone picked their boats back up and kept on sailing."

Awards were announced at the Coronado Yacht Club around 4 pm along with a celebration commemorating a huge accomplishment for the sailors of the DSM. Sailors and their families enjoyed light bites and beverages, relaxing after a hard-days work.

Please visit for 2019 results or for more information.

Related Articles

2019 San Diego Olympic Classes Regatta preview
Nine fleets have been invited back to compete Nine fleets have been invited back to San Diego for the 2nd annual San Diego Olympic Classes Regatta (SDOCR) on September 7-8, 2019. Posted on 7 Aug
US Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship
C420 and 29er teams crowned at San Diego The two events competing at the 2019 U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship, hosted by San Diego Yacht Club, came down to an exciting finale on Wednesday afternoon. Posted on 25 Jul
U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Champs preview
An important addition made to the racing For the first time in event history, the Championship will feature two events - the Club 420 and 29er. In the past, this Championship has featured one event in the Club 420 to compete for the Ida Lewis Trophy. Posted on 19 Jul
World Avocado Cup at San Diego
Peru takes the prize at first-ever superfood event San Diego Bay was the setting of the first-ever World Avocado Cup Regatta, hosted by the World Avocado Organization (WAO) in partnership with the San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC). Posted on 16 Jul
2019 Dutch Shoe Marathon at San Diego preview
A tradition at SDYC for almost a half of a century The Dutch Shoe Marathon, summer's iconic San Diego Yacht Club and Coronado Yacht Club tradition, calls locals and tourists to watch or partake in a day of Sabot sailing on July 19, 2019. Posted on 3 Jul
Cameron Feves, Cabrillo Beach YC win Rose Cup
Three days of closely contested match racing Cameron Feves (Long Beach, Calif.) and his team representing the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club won the 2019 U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup. Feves and crew, including Lukas Kraak, Justin Zmina, and Taylor Milefchik earned the title Posted on 1 Jul
2019 World Avocado Cup at San Diego Yacht Club
The world-renowned superfood proves it is a trendsetting trailblazer Once again avocados, the world-renowned superfood, prove they are trendsetting trailblazers - this time in the world of competitive sailing. Posted on 29 Jun
U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship preview
Six skippers from 2018 return to compete for the Rose Cup A talented and accomplished collection of the best youth match racers in the country have touched down in sunny Southern California this week for the 2019 U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup, hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club. Posted on 27 Jun
2019 SoCal 300 and CA 500 Wrap Up
Many Southern California boats use the race as a Transpac Race qualifier The Santa Cruz 50/52 class has been a mainstay in the CA Offshore Race Week since the beginning. Dave MacEwen's Lucky Duck and Bill Helvestine's Deception have raced all four of the series since it began in 2016. Posted on 4 Jun
CA 500 race to welcome three MOD 70 trimarans
Drag race from San Francisco Bay to San Diego starts soon The addition of a 500 nm Race from San Francisco Bay to San Diego as part of the California Offshore Race Week was intended to provide some of the larger boats engaging in the Transpac. A chance to stretch their legs a little. Posted on 27 May
Mackay BoatsWindBot-COACH-660x82Melges IC37 2019 Footer