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Wind Strategy by David Houghton & Fiona Campbell
Wind Strategy by David Houghton & Fiona Campbell

Returning Tallulah gets her bottom wet to win the 2020 Concours d'Elegance

by Mark Jardine 29 Feb 18:05 GMT 29 February 2020
The Scorpion Tallulah wins the Concours d'Elegance at the RYA Dinghy Show 2020 © Paul Wyeth / RYA

The 2020 Concours d'Elegance at the RYA Dinghy Show has been awarded to the Scorpion Tallulah, owned by Jerry Hannibus. Present at the 2019 show, the boat was ineligible then due to not having sailed, but this year had competed regularly on the Scorpion circuit and at Jerry's home club of Pennine SC.

Every year the quality of boats on display at the show is higher. Sarah Treseder, Chief Executive of the RYA, and Mark Jardine, Managing Editor of YachtsandYachting.com and Sail-World.com, found judging harder than ever.

Tallulah has a stunning Paintcraft varnish finish, intricate rope systems and brilliant boat and sail graphics.

Jerry was understandably delighted to win the prestigious trophy: "It means a lot. The Scorpion is a pretty boat, and to win something with a wooden boat is great. We're trying to show that wooden boats are really good, so it means a great deal to us. To me and Steve, and to PaintCraft who put this together, it is a proud moment for us."

When asked about what is needed to keep Tallulah in pristine condition, Jerry said: "Well, we don't have to do anything special. She lives in a berth at the club; we make sure she has a boom-up cover so that keeps most of the damp off. She lives in the Pennines most of the summertime. In winter she's been under a lean-to. I think it shows how modern technology and modern varnishes can keep a wooden boat looking as good as this one does."

Runners-up where the second ever GP14 to be built and the Firefly Pogie.

Steve Parry who worked on the restoration of the GP14, which was built in 1950 and sported a 1951 cottom mainsail said: "We think it is the probably the oldest marine plywood dinghy in the world. The original owner donated it to the class association, and it was owned by his father, who had dry-stored it in a barn since the 1960s. Most cotton sails were left to get wet and have rotted, but this mainsail survived."

Jono Pank said of Pogie: "Originally built by Fairey Marine in 1957 and refurbished in the 80s, Pogie won championships in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, before getting rebuilt to the Mk 4 rules, and winning the championships in 2013. The rules now allow an extra layer of plywood in the floor, which can stiffen older boats and protect them long-term."

A special mention must be made of the Challenger class. Year-on-year they put on a vibrant and fun display. Richard Johnson, Chairman of the Challenger Class Association said: "This is our 40th anniversary - the first boat was delivered to Oxford SC in July 1980. We couldn't get the Ruby Regatta in July this year, so it will be in August. We want to see 40 boats there - you'll probably be able to walk from one side of the lake to the other on these trimarans! The class was originally designed for people with disabilities, but we have a growing number of more mature (able) sailors who are fed up with capsizing and hiking out."

There were some stunning new boats also on display including Merlin Rockets, International Canoes, Miracles and International 14s. The quality and workmanship that has gone into these dinghies is something to behold and is worth a close inspection by all RYA Dinghy Show visitors.

Mark Jardine said after the judging: "Walking around the show with Sarah to take in the plethora of dinghies on display is the highlight of my weekend. We both loved Tallulah last year, but the fact she didn't even have pintles fitted was a giveaway that she had never sailed, and we were delighted to see her return this year having sailed regularly, including at the Scorpion Nationals. A worthy winner indeed!"

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