The Harbor Report: Junior sailors take over at yacht club

August 16, 2011|By Len Bose
  • Sabot Sailors: A group of young sailors in 8-foot Sabots, also known as "Naples Sabots" catch the wind as they participate in the Junior Sabot Nationals in Newport Harbor's Turn Basin, Tuesday. The sailors, many from southern California, maneuvered in light and variable winds and was hosted by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
Sabot Sailors: A group of young sailors in 8-foot Sabots,… (Don Leach, unknown )

I have to assume everyone noticed the 200-plus Naples sabots sailing in front of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club on Aug. 8 to 11. The event was the 2011 Jr. Sabot Nationals, and it could not have gone any better. What a fantastic way to wrap the junior sailing season.

The Jr. Sabot Nationals brings in kids from Marina del Rey to San Diego and blends them all together to come up with one champion for the 2011 season. Although, if you attend the event, there is so much more going on.

As a sailor, the road to gold is a difficult one that starts with the dreaded Flight Selection Series. This can be more traumatic to the kids than the Championship Series. Whether you qualify for the Gold, Silver, Bronze or Iron fleet is everything to the kids. I noticed one sailor who made Silver fleet, and the rest of the event was gravy.


For me, going to the event was like a class reunion and a new type of competition. What I am referring to is that the same people who slapped me around the race course when I was a kid are still doing it to me in another way. I find it more difficult now than when I was a kid.

Fortunately my son came up to me, before I got too bunched up, and told me what a great time he was having and that he wants to do the regatta next year.

"Perfect," I thought to myself, "Now let's go down to the dock and see if we can learn a thing our two from these kids."

This is when I first noticed Jack Martin sailing back to the dock to get some advice from his coach. He had a huge smile and was bantering back and forth with his friends on the dock. It was obvious that Jack "got it" and was having a great time on the water.

I came to find out after the event that Jack was the big winner and brought home the Jessica Unlack Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Junior Sportsman. Well done, Jack! That's quite the achievement! For what it's worth, I feel that's better than winning the championship.

It's now time to talk about who brought home the "pickle dishes" for our harbor this year.

In the Iron division it was Hunter Vandertoll in first place, and Jack Martin in second place.

In the Bronze division, Jake Marlo finished fourth and Evan Tingler got second.

In the Silver division, Scott Mais came home with a fourth-place finish and Sean Dahl placed third.

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