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.
In the Gold division, Jimmy Madigan received the third-place dish, and this year's Jr. Sabot national champion is Joseph Hou. This was a very touching moment at the awards ceremony because Joseph received the first Nina Nielsen Perpetual for winning the event.
There are a couple of other shoutouts that must be given.
Kate Madigan was the top female finisher. I've watched her sail over the last couple of years, and it would not surprise me if Kate wins this event in the future. Also, Reid Wiley won the Peggy Lenhart Perpetual for the most improved.
While watching the juniors sail, I am always looking for that sailor who has a passion for the sport that is contagious. This year, those sailors are Harrison Vandervort, Jimmy Madigan, Joseph Hou and Jeffrey Peterson. I would like to thank all of you for your enthusiasm. You make the sport that much more fun to be a part of.
I need to give one big thank you to Harbor Resources Manager Chris Miller for keeping the line of communication open with the dredging crew. The scows had to be taken through the race course each day, and it all went as planed. No problems, other than the one scow that went aground just off the end of Lido, which is kind of funny, if you think about it.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.