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Graduate Eclipses the competition to win Concours d'Elegance at the RYA Dinghy Show

by Mark Jardine 3 Mar 17:44 GMT 3 March 2018
Mark Jardine (left) and Sarah Treseder (right) with Concours d'Elegance winner John Clementson and his Graduate dinghy 'Eclipse' © Paul Wyeth / RYA

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 snowy 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.

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!"

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 Concours d'Elegance trophy.

More photos of the winning boat to follow...

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