How badly damaged exactly is Challenge Business 45?

Brian talks through the damage to Challenge Business 45 and explains that most of the damage occurred in a localised area on the port side.  All of the frames took the main impact with very little damage transferred into the lower part of the hull. Fundamentally the box structure is fine.

Other than the mast, everything else on the vessel is intact and in full working order.

Brian and the Exeter Maritime Crew


Working with the original Challenge Business team

We are working with as many of the original Challenge build team as possible to ensure a good-as-new repair, this includes:

Original Design Engineer

Jim Moore, of Jim Moore Designs, was the original design engineer for the Challenge Fleet.  He took the Rob Humphreys hull shape, the Bureau Veritas approved structures, the Builders (Devonport Yachts) production ideas and translated them into computer files (CNC data) which allow the laser cutting of steel and so produce the complex building kit.

Jim has supplied us with the nested information from the original cutting files for us to cut the new steel parts on our water jet table. 

Original Challenge Fleet Rigger

Neil Gledhill was the original Challenge Fleet Rigger and is owner of Hemisphere Rigging Services based in Plymouth.  Neil was responsible for the standing and running rigging, deck gear and systems primarily on the challenge 72 class yacht. This included supporting the race in 2004 / 2005 - won by BG Spirit (Challenge Business 45).


We are collaborating with Mecal, the MCA notifying authority, who are overseeing the repair work and who have been involved with the Challenge yachts from build.  Their role is to ensure that once repaired Challenge Business 45 is restored to MCA Category 0. This coding will give her the ability to sail commercially worldwide with charter guests aboard - the toughest category available and demands rigorous attention to structure and safety.

Throughout her repair we’ve been amazed at the high quality of the original steel and paint; she has no rust and no degradation.  We’re sure that it was this quality of build that minimised the damage to her when she fell.

Happy New Year!

Brian and the Exeter Maritime Crew

Making the Decision to Save Challenge Business 45

Brian explains how inspection of the keel confirms damage is localised and Challenge Business 45 is repairable.

When she arrived in Exeter, Challenge Business 45 was lifted out of the water and brought into our workshop with a specially modified catamaran lifting platform to accommodate her huge keel.

Watch Brian describe how one of the first areas of particular interest to the MCA was the joint between the hull and the keel.

It was clear that there was no movement in the joint, and this confirmed to us that the damage was localised to the impact zone.  Being a steel vessel that makes her fully repairable; she’s not like a composite boat where fractures might splinter through her.  On a steel vessel you can very clearly see where the damage has been done.  We now knew what we had to do to repair her, and who we needed on board to help.  

Watch out for our next posts about who we are working with on the repair, and the full extent of her damage.

 Brian and the Exeter Maritime Crew

Who is repairing Challenge Business 45?

Brian Pogson, MD of Exeter Maritime Services, explains why repairing Challenge Business 45 is a viable proposition.

Exeter Maritime Services (EMS) is the current owner of Challenge Business 45.  But what are our credentials?

We're builders of aluminium ferries and workboats up to 38m in length and 8m beam and we offer a range of local maritime services.  We are also high quality steel fabricators. 

Watch this 40 sec video of Brian our MD talking about why repairing Challenge Business 45 is a viable proposition for us. 

Brian has boat building experience ranging from building survey vessels, wind farm support boats, pilot boats, boats with reinforced decks for mounted cranes, cargo boats, crew boats for the oil and gas industry, and ferries, right through to boats built to full Lloyds Register Classification.

Summary of what we do:

19m Aluminium ferry built for operation in Malta.

Boat building

We offer the full package from design through to build; compete globally and are recognized for the quality of our build.  We have recently built two 19m aluminium catamaran passenger ferries for Malta.   Our capability includes naval architects and designers, experienced LLOYDS coded welders, experienced shipwrights, outfitters, marine engineers and qualified trials skippers. 

Amphibious excavator

Maritime services

We offer local marine services including the hire of small commercial workboats, amphibious excavators, pontoons and gangways, and undertake piling and dredging.  

Installation of river clyst cycle bridge, devon

Installation of river clyst cycle bridge, devon



Steel Fabrication

We are accredited for CE marking structural steel and aluminium to EXC3 and are accredited as an ISO 9001 company.  We are recognised for our innovation and ingenuity in marine construction projects in Inland Waterways, Rivers, Estuaries, Harbours and Marinas.   We share premises with our sister company Exeter Fabrication Ltd, experts in structural steel.



What happened to Challenge Business 45?


With a glowing race record and a successful second life as an adventure sailing yacht, Challenge Business 45’s accident in 2011 sent shock waves through the sailing community. 

While out of the water on a pit-stop preparing for a trip across the Atlantic in September 2011 she fell over onto her port side, her mast snapping with the weight and momentum as she fell.  She narrowly missed falling off the dock into the water.  Fortunately no one was injured, though crew had been working on her not long before.

It was believed that the damage to her structure was too significant, her repair too expensive and she was sold for scrap in 2013.

We bought her.

After inspection by the MCA she was issued with a loadline exemption certificate for her passage back to our boatyard in Exeter.   The first task was to clean her: fuel, wine and food covered every surface.  Her fuel tank had been damaged in the fall, the bolts sheared off, and she’d been fully stocked with provisions ready for the planned trans-Atlantic crossing.

But, when she was motored back, under her own steam, from Plymouth to Exeter it was clear she was travelling perfectly straight and wasn’t twisted. The Skipper declared her the best yacht he’d ever been on and no one could believe she was to be scrapped.  

So we took a closer look when she arrived at our quayside on Exeter canal to make a fuller assessment of the damage but early indications by the way she felt in the water were good.

We craned her out of the water and brought her under cover into our workshop.  We have the facilities, skill, and knowledge of boats and steel to repair her but needed to further explore the damage before we made a commitment. 

We spoke to some of the original Challenge team who came and visited the yacht and the general consensus was that she could be repaired. MECAL undertook an initial inspection and also agreed she was fully repairable. 

At this point the extent of her damage was fully understood and we knew we could bring her back to life.

Brian and the crew at Exeter Maritime.

Charting the repair and recommission of Challenge Business 45

We’d love to share our experience of the repair and recommission of Challenge Business 45.  So every week we’ll share any news, updates, photos and videos as we navigate her back to MCA Category 0.

You can find out a bit more about us here. We are Exeter Maritime Services, boat builders and experts in steel fabrication.  Brian Pogson, our MD, is the one who fell for CB45 and knew he could bring her back from the brink. Via this blog he’ll also share his views on the true extent of CB45’s damage and what we’re doing to repair her. 

Brian and the crew at Exeter Maritime.