John Clementson's Graduate dinghy, Eclipse has won the Concours d'Elegance Trophy at the RYA Dinghy Show 2018. Sarah Treseder, CEO of the RYA, and Mark Jardine, editor of YachtsandYachting.com judged every boat at the show and were united in their choice of winner.
Many of the exhibitors had battled their way through the snow to get to Alexandra Palace and it was heart-warming to see the support of the sailing community with a strong turnout at the show, despite the wintry conditions outside.
John, together with his crew Elliot Marks, is the reigning National Champion in the Graduate class, sails the boat week in and week out, and it was great to see a campaigned boat which is kept in Concours condition.
Winners on the water too
On winning the award John said: "It's amazing, absolutely amazing. I always like a boat that looks nice, but it's actually very quick as well, so we love sailing it. It's a real pleasure. We're going up to Nottingham for the Nationals at the end of May, and will have a good go at retaining our title. We'll train quite hard between now and then, and we'll do our best!
"Nigel at PaintCraft painted the boat and varnished it about ten years ago. We bring it out of the garage about April time, sail it pretty much every weekend until October/November, then put it back in the garage. It has lasted well. The new technology in the paints and varnishes protect the boats very well these days. People shouldn't be afraid of a wooden boat!"
Around the Show
There are many other superbly turned out boats at the show. Others which really caught the judges' eyes were on the GP14, Firefly and Merlin Rocket stands.
Several boats also drew Sarah and Mark in for closer inspection. The International Canoe's rope management systems are both beautiful and baffling at the same time, Robert Deaves' new super-bright new International OK Dinghy has been amusingly and aptly named 'The Beast from the East' and the Hornet class should be commended for finding a substitute boat after their show boat was snowed under in the West Country.
The Concours d'Elegance winner is the recipient of three months' worth of banner advertising on YachtsandYachting.com worth £750 and the prestigious Concours d'Elegance trophy.
See for yourself
To come along and see the award-winning Graduate dinghy, simply visit www.dinghyshow.org.uk/go/dstickets to book your ticket for the RYA Dinghy Show. You can also buy tickets on the door for £16 with the show running from 10:00-17:00 on Sunday 04 March.
Make planning your visit to show even easier by downloading the RYA Dinghy Show app, available on The App is available on all Android, Kindle and iOS devices. Simply search 'Dinghy Show'.
For all the latest show news and information visit www.dinghyshow.org.uk or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/ryadinghyshow or on twitter @dinghyshow.