Tahoe’s big wooden boat show begins Friday
CARNELIAN BAY, Calif. (AP) — Flashy, Italian-made Riva speedboats will be featured at the Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation’s 31st annual Concours d’Elegance this weekend.
About 125 carefully restored and meticulously maintained boats will be on display at Sierra Boat Co. on Tahoe’s north shore, including up to 30 Rivas — viewed by many boat enthusiasts as the “Ferraris of speedboats.”
Rivas date to the mid-1800s, but the first to arrive in the United States were brought over in the 1950s by Carlo Riva. They quickly became a status symbol for the wealthy and famous and were featured in movies including “Some Like It Hot.”
In addition to the Rivas, the event dedicated to preservation of boats that have plied Lake Tahoe since the 1920s will include Chris-Craft, GarWood, Hacker Craft and other “woodies.”
“We enjoy being able to share the beauty of the boats to the public, and it’s also our chance to pass on some of Tahoe’s nautical history,” said boat restorer Philip Ballantyne, Concours d’Elegance chairman.
Boats can range in value from $50,000 to $1 million. Many were priced at a few thousand dollars when new — and were in such bad shape when restorers eventually found them that they were sold for a few hundred dollars or even given away.
Local Riva owners include Steve Lapkin, long active in the annual Tahoe wooden boat event. Lapkin says many Riva owners started out with Chris-Crafts or other boats, but eventually were drawn to Rivas.
“It’s a natural progression, like aging or growing up,” he said, adding that the stylish Rivas have lines that were never matched by other boat builders.
The Concours d’Elegance is a competitive, judged show. Event sponsors say the boats on display represent some of the finest restorations in the country, and teams of judges and advisers read like a list of “who’s who” in the wooden boat industry.
Proceeds are donated to various local nonprofit groups committed in some way to nautical pursuits at Tahoe. Last year’s Concours d’Elegance attracted more than 10,000 people, a record, and over $35,000 was donated to area charities.
Concours d’Elegance is part of Wooden Boat Week events that will run through Aug. 14. The events includes parties, lakeside picnics, on-water wooden boat parades and rallies, and a fashion show luncheon. ——
On the Net:
Tahoe Yacht Club: http://www.tahoeyc.com/