Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship successfully took part in two round the world races (Global Challenge 2000/2001 and the Global Challenge 2004/5). Designed by Welshman Robert Humphreys and built by Devenport Yachts in 2000, she was one of 12 identical steel hulled yachts that took part in the toughest yacht race in the world and covering some 29,000 nautical miles.
In the Global Challenge 2000/2001 she raced under the name Olympic and was skippered by Manley Hopkinson. 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 name VAIO). Skippered by Amedeo Sorrentino she finished the race in 170 days.
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.
Around the world and into Wales…
Challenge Wales has been operating for almost 14 years and has worked with almost 4,300 young people.
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.
- 2012 Challenge Wales was the official Welsh sailing vessel to be 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.
- 2013 Challenge Wales won the ITV People’s Millions Awards providing funding for the charity to work with visually impaired and blind young people.
- 2014 Challenge Wales was the lead boat for the last few miles, up the Clyde, as part of the Commonwealth Games Flotilla.
- 2015 Challenge Wales was Highly Commended by the Welsh Council of Voluntary Action (WCVA) in the Volunteering Wales awards.
- 2016 Challenge Wales was awarded Blue Flag Status, showing our commitment to the environment and oceans, and took part in her first Tall Ships Races. In 2016 Challenge Wales welcomed HRH Prince Edward onboard as part of the Diamond Anniversary celebrations of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
- 2017 Challenge Wales won “UK Sail Training Vessel of the Year”, won the ‘People Development’ category in the South Wales Business Growth Awards. The summer of 2017 saw Challenge Wales take part in her biggest adventure yet with young people sailing over 4,000 miles, visiting no fewer than 14 counties, welcomed 10 different nationalities onboard. Crewed by young people on each leg she was away for almost 80 days representing Wales and the UK at some of the biggest events in Europe!
- 2018 Challenge Wales won the Sail Training International Environment Award & Social Media Award. The charity was also Highly Commended in the South Wales Business Growth Awards in the People Development and Innovation Categories
- 2019 the charity has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Zokit Business Awards in Environmental Excellence, People Development and Business Evolution.
- 2020, the Challenge Wales Charity was finalists in the Welsh Government Youth Excellence Awards, in the Equality and Diversity category
- 2023, the Challenge Wales Charity won the UK Sail Training Association’s Environmental Excellence Award
In 2017 the Challenge Wales charity acquired Adventure Wales – A 60 foot ocean-going schooner. Adventure Wales
She sleeps 14 people and sails with up to 10 passengers and 4 Challenge Wales crew.
Accommodation onboard is split into one 4-berth cabin at the bow, four 2-berth cabins and one berth at the stern of the boat. Another berth is available but is currently not being used.