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Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance

4 Aug 2015
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A beautifully built, sleek, wooden boat with its bow gracefully raised as it cuts through the glassy blue waters of Lake Tahoe is a sight worth seeing!

The Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance Wooden Boat Show is a true spectacle! The Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation has hosted the boat show every year since 1994. Concours d’Elegance is not just to show off the regal boats and determine the best of the best, it is also a gathering for wooden boat lovers from all over to share their passion and knowledge.

This year’s Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance will be held on the west shore in Homewood located at Obexer’s Boat Company. The event starts Friday, August 7th with the show of boats from 10:30 am to 4 pm, Awards Ceremony at 6 pm, and continues the next day with the show at 9 am and the traditional Roar-Off at 4 pm. Click here to buy show tickets. Whether you are a boat connoisseur or just looking for something fun to do, this is the place to be!

A prominent name in the wooden boat industry since the nineteen-twenties, is the well-known Chris-Craft company. In 1927, Chris-Craft was “recognized as the largest builder of mahogany constructed recreational power boats.”[1]  Other names such as Century, Gar Wood, and Hacker Craft have also shaped the industry. Concours d’Elegance allows private owners of these antiques to showcase their boats, restored in all their glory, as well as custom built boats by smaller manufacturers who have a love for the craft.

The Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation’s Perpetual Trophies are awarded to the boats entered in the show and in specific categories.  A first, second, and third place winner are determined by the judges who score subjectively as well as using a point based system. The point based system is comprised of eight criteria: Operation, Exterior Construction, Hull Hardware, Deck Hardware, Windshield and Tops, Interior and Upholstery, Engine and Engine Compartment, and Engine Bay and Bilge. The public also gets to vote for the People’s Choice Trophy!

Each year the show has a Marque Class, this year it will feature vintage V-12 Engines.  A fun fact for everyone, “Tahoe boasts more vintage V-12 powered runabouts in regular use than anywhere else in the world!”[2]  Lake Tahoe is also home to the famous, one-of-a-kind Thunderbird.  The Thunderbird is a 55’ speedboat that was originally owned by George Whittell and equipped with twin V-12 engines. The Thunderbird’s first journey crossing Lake Tahoe was in 1940. It is now berthed at Whittell’s castle or now Thunderbird Lodge, in a 100’ long boathouse.[3]  Tours of the Thunderbird and Thunderbird Lodge Estate are highly recommended!  

The Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance from Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation on Vimeo.


[1] http://www.chriscraft.com/main/company/history/1927.aspx

[2] http://www.laketahoeconcours.com/Boat_Registration.html

[3] http://thunderbirdtahoe.org/yacht-history