For the judging of the Concours d’Elegance, Mark Jardine, Editor of YachtsandYachting.com, was joined this year by British Sailing Team ILCA 7 sailor Micky Beckett. The huge crowds made getting a close look at all the boats harder than ever, and the presentation of the boats made deciding on a winner very difficult.
In the end the judges chose the Shearwater catamaran ‘Nebuchadnezzar’, with its stunning Matrix-inspired graphics, innovative fittings and great finish which won them the trophy.
The winner Pete Jary said: “Fantastic! We weren’t planning on even remotely having a chance to win a prestigious prize, but it’s great after all the hard work I’ve put in with my son making the boat; it’s wonderful that it’s come to this. It’s brilliant! Thank you.”
Pete’s son, Joshua, added, “It’s the fact that I didn’t expect it to win it! I knew we had a good chance, but it looked like there were loads of other nicer boats.”
Originality clinches the judges’ decision
Micky Beckett said on the winner: “I think it was the originality of the display of the boat, both the features on it, the graphics and the way it was presented to us by the guys on the stand; just awesome and really compelling!”
On his first time judging he added: “It’s a lot to take on board; you’re being impressed over and over again. Then you have to sit down and compare some wildly different things, and that’s tricky. But it’s an awesome challenge.”
Mark Jardine, who has judged every year since the award’s inception said: “I think this was the hardest winner to choose. With the range of dinghies being so diverse, it’s tricky to compare like for like, so the emotional reaction you have to a boat, and its presentation, plays a huge part. So many different aspects caught our eyes, including the graphics, features, and sheer enthusiasm of the sailors, young and old.”
The 2023 runners-up
Special mentions must also be made of the Merlin Rocket stand, with three stunning boats on display, and an incredible ropefest on Jon Turner’s ‘Ecstasy’ that even had self-bailers controllable from the windward rail, the H2 ‘Alice’ of Richard le Mare with a pearlescent purple hull and LED under-gunwale lighting, the stunning brand-new Scorpion, the innovative foiling Switch dinghy, a beautifully renovated 1955 Firefly, the Thames A Rater (with a borrowed RS21 mast as theirs wouldn’t fit in the hall) and the always-brilliant Challenger stand.
See for yourself
The Concours d’Elegance has now been awarded for 15 years and has recognised a diverse range of boats, from classics with impeccable varnish finishes, to the latest in high-tech sailing.
To come along and see the award-winning Shearwater catamaran ‘Nebuchadnezzar’, visit RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show to book your ticket. You can also buy tickets on the door, with the show running from 10:00 to 17:00 tomorrow [Sunday, 26 February].
2022 – International Canoe ‘Sleeping Tiger’ owned by Glen Truswell
2021 – Solo ‘Minz’, owned by Simon and Brenda Hoult
2020 – Scorpion ‘Tallulah’, owned by Jerry Hannibus
2019 – A Class Cat owned by Pete Jary
2018 – Graduate ‘Eclipse’ owned by John Clementson
2017 – Flying 10 owned by Dan Johnson & Tim Loftus
2016 – International 14 ‘Scrumpet’ owned by Glen Truswell
2015 – Nacra F20 FCS owned by Grant Piggott
2014 – International Moth owned by Mike Lennon
2013 – Hornet ‘Red Steamliner’ owned by John Shelton
2012 – Merlin Rocket owned by David Hayes and Jonny Radcliffe
2011 – Cherub ‘Eleanor’ owned by Dean Relph and Simon Jones
2010 – National Redwing ‘R249’ owned by Stephen Beresford
2009 – GP14 ‘Koru’ owned by Mandy Mitchell