Living in the Scuttlebutt World

Published on July 20th, 2023

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
What began as an anonymous letter to Scuttlebutt soon loudly clanged the bell for an international awakening. In a sport eager and active to provide opportunity for women, an incident at the Etchells World Championship reminded us how far we have yet to go.

While conduct that makes women feel uncomfortable or objectified in any way is not exclusive to the Etchells, the Class officers were quick to react, and while the newly released Code of Conduct won’t change the planet overnight, it gets us thinking which is never bad.

My beercan season has just a few more races left, and aside from the decent wind we’ve had all summer, I have taken a lot of pleasure in seeing kids on keelboats. There aren’t enough of them, but it is this kind of intergenerational sailing that helps all ages. This week I watched as one teenage helm luffed an adult competitor at the Race Committee boat to launch off the start line. Nicely done!

As I have frequently said, and did so again in the report Recognizing the path to extinction, if the goal is for a youth sailor to continue in the sport, they need to be exposed to the adult sailing options during their youth years. Don’t expect them to figure it out during or after their school years. Watching this occur in the beercan races is a massive step in that direction.

As the author of that report details, young sailors in the USA are in a system that hastens steps toward adult sailing. This is not a new topic, but since the author is a youth coach, it is not normally the dialogue we hear from someone mired in this problem. Attracting the next generation to continue in the sport requires push and pull from both sides.

I don’t know how many scholarship programs are similar to the EYC Foundation, but I was impressed by the mission to support students who in their pursuit of marine and maritime education, thus empowering them to make significant contributions to these industries. The awardees are pretty impressive.

The infamous Dutch Shoe Marathon, which has had some mention in Scuttlebutt over the years, will celebrate its 50th edition on July 21 in San Diego, CA. Nearly 200 entrants will tackle the point-to-point course which travels over 7 miles through sections of San Diego Bay rarely sailed in the Naples Sabot.

It was the 2014 race when we promoted a fundraiser for Jack Egan who had been diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma, a Non-Hodgkin’s form of lymphoma. His progress from that summer of treatment earned him the coveted 2023 College Sailor of the Year award while sailing for Yale University.

This race for kids and adults typically finds me in the fleet, but my wife Lisa will be returning to the boat her mom sailed, she sailed as a kid, and then our son sailed. The Senior fleet has 60-something entries, and she will be joined by a lot of her youth sailing friends for this golden anniversary. Nice!

The Naples Sabot may not be the greatest boat, but as I opined in 2019, its limited geographic footprint is a good thing, and the Dutch Shoe Marathon brings all ages together. And that, my friends, is a really good thing.

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