When motor boats were artistry in wood

You can turn back the clock this weekend for a look at luxury that doesn't seem to be around any more. Yes, there are fantastic yachts 200 or 300 feet long, the magic carpets of billionaires plying the Mediterranean, but there's something cold and remote in their fantasy designs and incredible luxuries.

But for a look at yachting as it used to be in the 1920s and '30s, take a spin to Carnelian Bay on Highway 29 about 20 miles past Incline Village. Won't take you a tank of gas and the rewards may send your imagination spinning. Drive along until you reach 5146 Lake Boulevard and see the Sierra Boat Co. the Lake Tahoe side. Parking may be tight but there are side roads that usually offer space for free. Walk across the highway and enter a world of feast amid famine - the "Roaring '20s" and the "Great Depression" of the '30s typified by motor boats of a bygone era, made of handcrafted mahogany and teak, oak and other rare woods. They'll look like the never made it out of the showroom in their hand-rubbed and conditioned beauty.

If you feel plush, you can do this today for the VIP special day at $100 per ticket, from 9 a.m., you'll be fed finger food and have an unhurried, almost private look at the magnificent 110 classic motor boats from such makers as Chris Craft, Gar Wood and Hacker.

But for most of us, Friday and Saturday are more reasonable it not as snooty. Tickets are $30 for one day, $35 for both days. What you get for the admission is the opportunity to wander the piers and moorings of the boat company, where the wood boats will be on display.

The 36th Concours d'Elegance is the name of the event, and it's part of a week-long celebration of woody boats.

This two-day part of the week is an in-the-water extravaganza focuses on wooden boats dating from the turn of the last century, related products and displays, and typically attracts over 110 of the finest, meticulously maintained water craft from around the world.

An internationally acclaimed event, the show draws more than 5,000 people to Tahoe's north shore area during the weekend.

The 2008 Concours, sponsored by the Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation, features boats from the '20s and '30s.

The 1920s represented the birth of the many new boat manufacturers, including the aforementioned Chris Craft, Gar Wood and Hacker.

Custom built boats gave way to production models built for an emerging middle class new to pleasure boating. These early production boats had simple lines and boxy shapes which were easier to manufacture in large numbers.

In addition to the two-day show, the Tahoe Yacht Club sponsors other events during its "Tahoe Wooden Boat Week." Additional information on these and other Yacht Club events can be found at the Yacht Club's Web site at www.laketahoeconcours.com.

So get out your yachting cap, apply sun oil and head for Carnelian Bay. Who knows? You may find the boat you've long dreamed of owning.

Boat show events:

Lake Tahoe will play host to a boat show this weekend that pays homage to the wooden boats of the 1920s.

The 36th annual Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance and Wooden Boat Week commences Thursday and concludes with shows on Friday and Saturday.

The show is in its 36th year, according to the Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation.

The Tahoe City, Calif.-based organization presenting a variety of events leading up to and continuing after the boat show.

Herewith, a list of events, provided by the Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation as part of the Concours d'Elegance and Wooden Boat Week.


Lake Tahoe "Concours d'Elegance VIP Preview Day"

12 p.m.-4 p.m.

Sierra Boat Company, Carnelian Bay

Boats in the show can be viewed, and there will be free wooden boat rides, hosted appetizers and drinks, and live music.

The event includes an opening ceremony with vintage aircraft flyover.

The day ends with an "opening night premier gala" at Ed Z'Berg Sugar Pine Point State park at the Ehrman Mansion.


The 36th Annual Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance commences at the Sierra Boat Company at Carnelian Bay. Events begin at 9 a.m.

More than 100 classic craft will be shown as well as vendor booths, food, beverages and live music.

Tickets are $30 for one day, and $35 for two-day event tickets. Children under 12 are free.


The show continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., which includes voting for the People's Choice" perpetual trophy.


At the Tahoe Maritime Museum in Homewood, the club is hosting the 2008 Marine Swap Meet. It's the place to buy, sell or trade boating items and memorabilia at the museum parking lot. The action is at 5205 W. Lake Blvd. For more information, call (775) 825-3269.


A 9 a.m. "Over the Bottom" Woodie Regatta precedes a noon lunch. The regatta includes a time-and-distance rally. Best boat decoration and dress will be rewarded, as wll as winner of the rally.

There is an entry fee of $100 per boat, which includes lunch, drinks and T-shirts for two.

The venue is Ed Z'Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park in Tahoma.


At the Montreux Golf and Country Club on Mount Rose Highway. Women are invited to assemble at the Montreux club for "a day of fun and indulgence" including transport to the golf course, a luncheon and tour of exclusive homes.

The motor coaches leave the Homewood Ski Resort at 10 a.m. and return at 4 p.m.


Wooden Boat Week concludes with a potluck at the Gatekeeper's Mansion at 6:30 p.m. in Tahoe City. Participants bring an appetizer, salad or dessert as well as meat, fish or poultry for the barbecue.

The week ends with a DVD show of the week. Reservations are required. $25.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment