Concours D’ Elegance…what? The literal translation is “Competition of Elegance.” To really understand what it is you need to go back in time, all the way back to France in the 17th Century. At that time the aristocracy would parade around in the parks of Paris in extravagant carriages on summer weekends and holidays. A friendly competition was born to see who had the most extravagant carriages and who maintained them the best.
Over the centuries this then translated to the “horseless” carriages or cars, which would be judged on the appearance of their vehicles. The Concours D’Elegance then migrated from land to sea and vintage wooden boats joined the tradition. These events really gained traction as competitors and fans alike were eager to see these fine vessels judged in such a strict fashion.
Not the average “boat show”
First, the judges must be experts! It’s a must to know and understand each and every component on EVERY boat based upon year and model. Only those entries that are considered perfect in every way are even considered eligible for a trophy. Specifically, what do these judges look at? They often look at everything from upholstery, paint, plating, and mechanical restoration to see if they meet or exceed the standards of the boat when it was new. No after-market parts or even parts from a different year can be used to replace broken pieces on entries in this competition! This is truly the gold standard of boat competitions.
The Tahoe Tradition
In its 43rd year, the Lake Tahoe Concours D’ Elegance is the shining example of what this style show is about. This “Super Bowl,” of Wooden Boat week in Lake Tahoe comes with multiple social gatherings and judging events that determine which boat in its class fit these extremely tight standards. The boats that win are not just considered great, but actually world class. This amazing week of fun is also open to public and gives everyone the opportunity to judge for themselves. For an introduction to some of these boats check out this “guide for beginners.”
The two major days to check out the vintage boats are as follows:
Friday August 7th
Show – 10am – 4:30pm
Awards Ceremony- 6pm
Saturday August 8th
Show- 9am – 4:30pm
Local Freshies Tip: Don’t miss Woody-over-the-Bottom Race
On Monday August 10th, the famous Woody-over-the-Bottom-Race gives you an opportunity to see these cool boats in action not just up close and personal. This multi-step race consists of completing several tasks at predetermined speeds. For example, one year boats had to circle a buoy with Osama Bin Laden’s picture as many times as there are syllables in his name!
If you are in Tahoe this is definitely something to check out. All major events will be held here: