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Eichenlaub, Sabots, and Championship advice

Published on December 5th, 2013

While the Optimist is nearly the defacto junior trainer on planet earth, there is a 100 mile span in Southern California where the kids sail something else – the Naples Sabot. It’s a bit bigger than the Opti, its sail has three corners versus four, and is saddled with a leeboard that struggles to limit side slippage.

In the modern era of youth champions, the Naples Sabot continues to develop kids that can play the game well at the next level. As the legendary Carl Eichenlaub once remarked, who was an early builder of the boat, “If you can sail a Sabot well, you can sail anything well.”

15-year old Derek Pickell, who won the 2013 Junior Sabot Nationals, offers this advice for other young juniors out there who aspire to become Sabot Champions and more…

“Like most sports, sailing success comes through desire, perseverance, and practice. The younger sailors who want it the most and are committed will generally perform well over time. The great thing about our area is that there are limitless opportunities to practice and get better. At the same time, I think it’s also important to mix things up a bit and not risk getting burned out. I tried other boats, other venues, and kept up my interests in other sports and activities.”

With the passing of Carl Eichenlaub on November 29, a memorial is scheduled on 7:00 am Thursday, December 12 at the Red Sails Inn. Please RSVP at

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