The Boat

Built to take part in the toughest yacht race in the world

Challenge Wales was originally known as Challenge Business 47 and successfully took part in two round the world races (BT Global Challenge 2000/2001 and the Global Challenge 2004/5). Designed by Robert Humphreys and built by Devenport Yachts in 2000, she was one of 12 identical yachts that took part in the toughest yacht race in the world and covering some 29,000 nautical miles.

The yachts were built with a steel hull and stainless steel deck. The steel was laser cut giving a high standard of precision and a quality build.

In the Global Challenge 2000/2001 the yacht was racing under the name Olympic, having been sponsored by the Olympic Group. The skipper was Manley Hopkinson and the yacht finished in 9th place (out of 12) taking 183 days to complete.

Having 12 identical boats racing put everybody on the same level playing field meaning that it was teamwork, stamina, strategy and determination that could mean the difference between winning and losing.

In the Global Challenge 2004/5 she finished in joint seventh place (under the yacht name VAIO). Skippered by Amedeo Sorrentino she finished the race in 170 days 11 hours 31 minutes and 10 seconds.

By sailing around the world the yacht has experienced weather conditions from gentle airs to gusts of over 60 knots, and from the seas lapping against the side of the boat to 50 foot waves crashing onto the deck.

Amongst other activities she took part in after the Global Challenge races, was the Ward Evans Atlantic Rowing Challenge where she was a safety vessel.

Since 2009 Challenge Wales has been active in sail training and has been competitive in the few races she has sailed in. From youth activity days and youth weeks to adult day sails and longer voyages. Challenge Wales has also taken part in races including the famous Round the Island Race, Cowes in 2011(where she beat her sister yachts and half the Clipper fleet) and the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) Small Ships Race 2011 in the Solent, picking up her first trophy along the way.

In 2012 Challenge Wales was invited to be part of the Queen's Jubilee Thames Pageant in London as part of the Avenue of Sail floating exhibition in St Katharine's Dock. Challenge Wales' attendance was endorsed by the Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan and she represented the youth of Wales in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Young people from different parts of Wales sailed Challenge Wales up the Thames as part of a special Jubilee Sailing Voyage.

Following the Jubilee Pageant Challenge Wales raced from London to the Olympic sailing venue in Portland in the ASTO Small Ships Race where she took Line Honours and First in Class.

Click on the drawing to enlarge

Click on the drawing to enlarge

Challenge Wales specification:

Area Imperial Metric
Length overall 72 ft 22 m
Beam 18 ft 2 in 5.5 m
Height of mast above waterline 95 ft 29 m
Sail area windward 2825 sq ft 262.5 sq m
Sail area downwind 4020 sq ft 373 sq m
Ballast Keel weight 10.3 tonnes 10.4 tons
Fuel tank capacity 475 gallons 2150 litres
Water tank capacity 390 gallons 1775 litres

Challenge Wales has no autopilot or furling gear meaning everything that happens on the boat is manual. This was key in her past life in the Global Challenge races as there is less opportunity for key components of the yacht to break, and when you are sailing in the Southern Ocean this is critical.

Challenge Wales, registered charity no: 1111859
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