It’s a new beginning for the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show, being held for the first time at Farnborough International, and there is certainly a buzz of excitement in the air. The exhibition hall is packed with visitors, with colour everywhere you look as dinghy associations show off their class of boat, attracting new members as the boating boom continues.
For the judging of the Concours d’Elegance Mark Jardine, Editor of YachtsandYachting.com, was joined this year by British Sailing Team ILCA 7 and WASZP sailor Sam Whaley, and they spent most of the morning admiring the incredible display of boats. The attention to detail shown by so many classes made finding a winner especially difficult, but Glen Truswell’s International Canoe took top honours, thanks to detailing which was simply breath-taking.
This makes Glen the first two-time winner of the trophy, after his International 14 ‘Scrumpet’ won in 2016.
Glen said, on winning the award: “I’m absolutely amazed, delighted and flattered that you feel the boat has reached that standard. Thanks to all my friends in the International Canoe class that helped guide me through the process of joining the class and figuring out how to build a quick boat with assistance and guidance.”
This year’s runners-up
Coming in a close second was the 1964 Merlin Rocket ‘Hullabaloo’. The varnish finish on this 60-year-old classic was beautiful, and the modern additions, such as carbon spars, were sympathetically added with minimal control lines compared to a modern Merlin.
In joint third place were two boats from opposite ends of the spectrum. Both Phil Hodgkins’ GP14 and Kyle Stoneham’s International Moth were stunningly presented, and even though the two designs were so different Sam and Mark were unable to separate them.
Of particular note this year are some of the paint jobs and boat graphics, which have again stepped up a gear, with a combination of techniques employed, including within the gelcoat, vinyl boat wraps, metallic paints, and cool stickers.
A good problem to have
Mark Jardine said after the award was presented: “What a show! Everyone was on tenterhooks with the move to the new venue as to what it would be like, and the sense of anticipation was palpable.
“To see so many people flood into the halls was fantastic, and for them to be able to see sailing in its best light, with some stunning dinghies on display, was a joy. The classes aren’t making our role as judges easy with the quality of boats, but that’s such a good problem to have!”
Sam Whaley added: “It took a bit longer than we first anticipated! It’s amazing when you take a look around at all the dinghies and you get lost in that world, chatting to every man and their dog, but it was great to see all the boats and we had some amazing candidates when we were deciding this year’s winner.”
The Concours d’Elegance has now been awarded for 14 years and has recognised a diverse range of boats, from classics with impeccable varnish finishes, to the latest in high tech sailing.