The concours dates back to 1972 when
some Tahoe Yacht Club members and friends
gathered to share their passion for wooden
boats, and the event in its current form includes
some 70 to 80 vessels selected by experts as
outstanding examples. The Tahoe Yacht Club
Foundation has hosted the concours, one of the
country’s premier events for these preserved
and restored boats, since 1994. Each year, a specific marque (manufacturer) is honored, and the
show features boats in a variety of sizes, years
and classes. And while the cost to own and operate one of these crafts can vary, owners make a
financial and time commitment that is akin to
owning a big-name classic sports car, requiring fastidious preparation and maintenance to
keep them in perfect form. The concours also
features a robust program of social events and
things to do, including a wine village and a boat
rally as part of the weekend. If you have ever
wanted to see this type of boat in action, this
is the time and place. You can even try a ride
in one, thanks to the Tahoe Maritime Center–
Museum and Gardens.
Tahoe’s ultimate wooden boat — scheduled to be at this year’s concours — is the
Destinations / GO
WHEN I’M RELAXING on the deck at the Gar Woods bar, grill and pier in North Lake Tahoe, the sun, breeze and beautiful vistas make me pretty well cer- tain that it is the most fantastic place on the planet. Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the U. S., and it consistently makes “most beautiful” round- ups, rightly claiming the premier spot on vacation bucket lists. I’ve been
observing and professionally writing about things that move — on land, on water and in the air
— for a while, and when summer comes and Lake Tahoe becomes a boat and water sports mecca,
it is particularly special.
Not coincidentally, Gar Woods (the place) is named for the original Garfield Woods boats that
started arriving at the lake in the 1920s. If plied with a few of the place’s signature Wet Woody
cocktails, I will passionately argue that — other than Marin — Lake Tahoe is the best place on
the planet to become immersed in the beauty of boating and water sports culture. With a few
more Wet Woodys, the more elaborate and outrageous my pro-Tahoe arguments will become.
So it is that on those lazy afternoons, when one is watching the stand-up paddleboarders and
wooden powerboats glide past, friendly discussions of “How do I get out on the lake?” arise.
Plans for “looking into it” are made, followed by resolutions about sailing, stand-up paddleboard
(SUP) or kayak lessons — each resolution worthy of being made good on.
The Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance
Beautiful boats are so frequent in Tahoe they seem commonplace, but I am always particularly alert for wooden speedboats and gleaming chrome that gets paired with sublime exhaust
notes. Carnelian Bay has long been a center of wooden boat cruising and racing, and those early
Garfield Woods boats have been joined on the lake by other producers over the years, including Chris Craft and Riva. These soulful machines are nothing less than an art form, and a
curated selection of the “best of the best” will be on display at the annual Lake Tahoe Concours
d’Elegance on August 10 and 11 at Obexer’s Boat Company.