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.