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Nearly 200 boats parade San Diego Bay for Dutch Shoe Marathon

by Casey Coffin 25 Jul 00:53 PDT July 23, 2021
Dutch Shoe Marathon © Bob Betancourt

There's nothing quite like the sight of the Dutch Shoe Marathon. Two hundred boats parading in sequence for 7.2 miles down the San Diego Bay sporting every color of the rainbow. Loud cheering and fists in the air as the Sabots pass under the iconic Coronado Bridge, embarking on their last leg of the longest trek all summer long.

That's what makes the Dutch Shoe Marathon so special: joy, pride, and a little bit of relief.

"Long," is the way most of the junior sailors describe the Dutch Shoe Marathon. Whether you're from one of the host clubs, San Diego Yacht Club or Coronado Yacht Club, or whether your from Mission Bay, Southwestern, or any of the other local Southern California clubs, it seems like all of the junior sailors could agree on the same thing - this race is long. (Oh, and bring snacks!)

This year's race wasn't any different. After a year off in 2020, it probably seemed even longer. Yet, juniors, seniors and child/adult teams, got out on the starting line, sailed what for some is the longest distance ever raced, and ended the day with a sense of accomplishment.

The 2021 Dutch Shoe Marathon kicked off at 1200 on Friday, July 23 out of La Playa Cove at San Diego Yacht Club and finished at Coronado Yacht Club. The regatta was split into four divisions: A, B, and C fleets, and Seniors.

C Fleet dominated the top of the scoresheet. Finishing first in the regatta was Clare Steinemann. Also in C Fleet was second place finisher Olympia Barelli and third place finisher Steven Ashton.

"The upwind from the Coronado Bridge to the finish line was the most challenging part of the day," explained Steinemann. "I really like the start of the race the best."

Olivia Barelli (C Fleet) made her way through the finish line in second place overall. "Big waves were coming through in the current. In the light wind it was hard to keep the sail steady. Finishing the race with all the cheers from everyone was great. We learn a lot of different skills that you can take with you throughout your life."

Fenton Wallace was B Fleet winner, finishing 10th overall. This was Fenton's first time sailing in the Dutch Shoe. "The most challenging part was sailing next to the aircraft carriers. The best part was finishing! The best part about sailing is going fast and having fun."

First place in the A Fleet, 33rd overall, was Kousei Hatter. This is Hatter's first time sailing in the regatta. "I did pretty well winning the A Fleet. The best part of the race is the last leg of the day when you pass under the Coronado Bridge. It's fun to go out and see all my friends," he said.

Sailing is all about being a good teammate. The winner of the Secretary of Navy Award was Connor Herron in the Senior fleet. "The Dutch Shoe is a right of passage for everybody. The last place finisher is most likely the most worried and confused person in the fleet. Because you're in last place, you watch the whole fleet finish in front of you. There's nobody else... that's why I went back to go find that person."

The Dutch Shoe Marathon is also open to the Senior Sabot fleet. The winner of the Senior Fleet was SDYC's Chuck Sinks who has won this division. "It was great, especially hanging out with the kids. The conditions might have made this the most difficult race I've sailed. Inside Glorietta Bay really got challenging," said Sinks. "It's so great that the youth invites the old people to join them," he joked.

A notable mention goes to the doublehanded sibling team of Indigo Craig (14) and River Craig (6) teamed up to conquer San Diego Bay completing the race in the C fleet, as did their brother Lyon, while their dad Damien navigates across the Pacific in the last 1/3 of the Transpac Race aboard the J/125 Nereid.

The 48th running of the Dutch Shoe Marathon saw another year of happy sailors accomplishing a huge milestone in their careers. Many of these sailors will return next year, joined by a whole new fleet of Dutch Shoe first-timers.

After the races, an awards ceremony and celebration commemorating a huge accomplishment was held at Coronado Yacht Club where sailors received their bright red "Dutch Shoe" trophies and raffle prizes awarded from the event's generous sponsors.

Full results available here.

Please visit for more information.

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