What do you get when you take nearly 150 kids, put them at the tillers of a fleet of 8ft Naples Sabot dinghies and send them out on a 7-mile course across San Diego Bay from Point Loma to Coronado? The annual Dutch Shoe Marathon, of course. That, and a heck of a good time.
Marking its 46th year, the marathon is hosted by the San Diego and Coronado yacht clubs and provides an opportunity for young sailors to push their comfort zones in a safe, but still challenging environment at a time when many of them are looking to take their sailing to the next level.
“Normally, they sail for half an hour and then go back to the dock and have a snack,” says regatta chairman Steve Harris. “But the Dutch Shoe is different. It’s a long race, and it’s out in the big bay. So you see these little kids that are 9 or 10-years-old, and they go out there all the way across. They go through powerboats and big ships, across big wakes, all in those little tiny boats. And those wakes are big.”
This year’s Dutch Shoe Marathon, which included four separate fleets, each with its own start, enjoyed ideal conditions—sunny skies and 12 to 14 knots of breeze. Completing the race in the shortest elapsed time was Kelly Holthus of the junior “C” fleet. However, in many ways, singling out a “winner” in an event like this is besides the point, since an experience of this kind makes everyone a winner. For more on the iconic West Coast regatta, visit sdyc.org/dutchshoe.