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The Challenge 72 fleet is legendary. Built to race one design around the planet against prevailing winds and currents, following in the footsteps of the Challenge Business’s founder Sir Chay Blyth. This yacht – the Teddy Bear Boat – ex-SAVE THE CHILDREN has enjoyed a second life as a long distance cruising yacht and has been sailed far. The adventure is now complete and she is ready for new adventures. Capable of MCA Category 0 and all that this implies, new standing rigging has been ordered for her and she truly is a yacht for all oceans.
The Challenge 72' Class yachts were designed for The Challenge Business by an appointed design team, specifically to race around the world “the wrong way”. The design brief called for exceptionally strong, seaworthy, fast, attractive, modern, steel yachts that were able to sail to windward across the Southern Ocean in relative comfort.
Safety was paramount both in terms of structural strength safety for 18 crew. Because of the One Design nature of the race, the design was not influenced or distorted by any rating rule and a sensible displacement was specified. Other important design considerations include, ease of access to the structure, equipment, systems, wiring and fittings for maintenance and inspections both at sea and in harbour. Every piece of equipment had to be robust enough to survive a race around the world with minimum maintenance.
Many of the design principles were based on Sir Chay Blyth’s experience of sailing around the world single handed against the prevailing winds and currents and the Challenge 67 Class. Devonport Yachts (DML) were chosen to build the fleet to Bureau Veritas highest notation. The construction method allows relatively simple and cost effective alterations to the interior layout. For further information see below: History of Challenge 72 Yachts.
IRONBARQUE was sold to her current owners by the Challenge Business and has been sailed extensively privately. The vessel underwent refit to make her more easily sailed by a family crew and great attention was paid to maintaining and building upon her safety equipment.
IRONBARQUE was sailed privately with six aboard (two adults and four children). The use of crew might lift that number to eight. Three new Solas A six man life rafts were purchased in 2015 (per MCA this sets the maximum crew aboard to 12 for offshore voyaging); along with a new ship’s EPIRB and eight personal EPIRBS. Life jackets for eight, tested serviceable at the end of 2015, and tethers are aboard. A full suite of MOB recovery equipment is aboard (slings, nets, rescue triangle). New thermal suits for eight were purchased in 2015.
Furler reefing on both her jib stays and hayracks on the boom have made sail changes easier. IRONBARQUE carries sails to permit either a blade jib and full mainsail; or a full mainsail with staysail and yankee jibs. All equipment, including the massive spinnaker and dual carbon fiber spinnaker poles, are aboard for running downwind though short-handed crews will find poling out the blade jib wing to wing with the main is more manageable. For foul weather, a storm staysail and storm triangle main on a separate mast track are aboard. Powered winches have been added to support the halyards (centre line forward) and the blade jib sheets (port and starboard aft).
The main engine, a Perkins M130C was totally rebuilt in 2015 as was the gear box. The throttle/gear cable to the wheel control was replaced in 2016. The Northern lights generator received a new exhaust knee and injectors in 2015. Both diesels are in excellent condition. The engine room has been fitted with an inert gas fire suppression system. In 2020 the engine was re-painted, and both the engine and gearbox serviced.
A custom stainless steel stern arch was added in 2009.
The Stern Arch:
To make the boat more manoeuvrable in close quarters, a bow thruster was fitted in 2009. The unit is a Side Power SP 240 TCi. In 2020, the bow thruster master switch was replaced.
The Challenge Fleet carried little around tackle as they tended to race dock to dock. IRONBARQUE was modified to accept port and starboard bowers on an all chain rode. A bow platform to hold the anchors permits easier anchoring. The bow platform adds to the joy of sailing with sea mammals being an excellent observation platform. The bow platform was rebuilt with plate in 2020. Each weld was inspected for completeness and dye penetration.
The manual bilge pump system has been supplemented with a parallel set of five (5) automatic electrical bilge pumps. In addition to the fixed pumps, IRONBARQUE carries low and high volume mobile dewatering hoses that can reach any of the bilges along with a Honda four-stroke pump out engine that can be fuelled from the outboard fuel tanks. Her water tight doors were rebuilt in 2015. You would have to work very hard to actually sink, IRONBARQUE.
Gasoline tanks for the outboards (6hp and 30 hp) and the four 40lb LPG tanks are carried in a deck well that vents overboard. The LPG tanks are as originally fitted to the older UK standard. For US use, four (4) new 40lg LPG tanks with overfill protection and a common regulatory to the US Standard will need to be purchased by the new owner.
She has offered an incredible experience of blue water sailing to her current owners. After 25,000 miles and nine year, they are now ready to let her find her new owner.
Designer – Rob Humphreys
Rob Humphreys of Rob Humphreys Yacht Designs, is an innovative yacht designer with a very good track record for producing fast, attractive sailing boats of most sizes. Before selecting a designer we produced an outline design brief and asked fifteen of the UK’s best yacht designers to submit proposals. Rob’s proposal most closely grasped our vision of a yacht for the millennium and suitable for the “World’s Toughest Yacht Race”. He illustrated his keenness to incorporate the ideas of, and the lessons learned by The Challenge Business into his design.
Nick Pike is a young designer who works closely with Rob Humphreys and has interpreted many of our requirements. Nick was also involved in the design of the Challenge 67’ yachts used in the British Steel Challenge and the BT Global Challenge.
Structural Engineer - Roger Scammell
Roger Scammell of Key Designs, crunches the numbers and calculates how to provide the strength necessary for the most highly loaded areas of the yacht such as, the chain plates, rudder, skeg, keel and many other areas. As an example the lower rudder bearing is structured to accept an athwartships load of 20 tonnes.
Roger works closely with The Challenge Business team and had considerable input into the Challenge 67’ yachts and their fittings. He also designs many of the custom-made deck and rigging components. Roger has an ability to predict the breaking strain of components with unnerving accuracy.
Design Engineer - Jim Moore
Jim Moore of Jim Moore Designs, takes the Rob Humphreys hull shape, the Bureau Veritas approved structures, the Builders (Devonport Yachts) production ideas and translate them into computer files (CNC data) which will allow the laser cutting of steel and so produce the complex building kit.
Jim also creates the computer files to allow waterjet and laser cutting of the accommodation kits. The result is steel yachts built within tolerances and levels of accuracy that were previously considered unobtainable. Jim Moore pioneered the development of laser cut self-jigging kits to speed the construction and accuracy of yacht construction and internal fit out.
The Challenge Business International Ltd – Andrew Roberts, Project Director and Matthew Ratsey, BT Challenge 2000 Class Project Manager
The design input from The Challenge Business stems from Sir Chay Blyth’s unique experience and very positive approach to good seamanship and seaman like design.
Andrew has overall responsibility for the design, construction and maintenance of the Challenge fleet. He produces the design concepts and briefs, and oversees all aspects of the design process.
The Challenge fleet has sailed approximately 1.5 million miles including fifty circumnavigations. The results of careful collecting and collation of data during two Challenge Business round the world races has reinforced many ideas as well as generated new design ideas and features to improve safety, comfort and performance.
Matthew Ratsey, a young yacht designer, coordinates the output from the other members of the design team, develops ideas, and creates detailed drawings of the yacht and systems and constantly checks the accuracy of the drawings.
All the Challenge yachts have been built under Bureau Veritas supervision to their highest yacht notation. Subsequently, a rigid regime of regular inspections and surveys developed by
The Challenge Business has been conducted by independent Surveyors.
The yachts are designed and fitted out to comply the MCA requirements for unlimited operations (worldwide in high latitudes).
The yachts were designed to be exceptionally strongly built of steel in order that they could face all that the Southern Ocean might throw at them, with absolute confidence.
Outboard bracket in sail room – this is a fixed bracket to mount the 30 hp outboard securely whilst at sea. The 6hp engine is carried on a fixed bracket on the stern rail for ease of deployment for the smaller dinghy.
Anchor chain box of aluminium below anchor windlass, housing 100m chain with lashing points (2008).
Throughout the build process of the yachts a high level of technology has been incorporated, for example: the steel hull shell and frames were laser cut by BSD (the laser cutting division of British Steel in the UK). The welding incorporated use of single sided ceramic backed butt welding techniques. The interior wooden panelling was laser and water-jet cut to ensure absolute identical panels on each yacht.
The deck layout was designed to be safe, seaman like, efficient and provide as much protection for the crew as practically possible, even in extreme Southern Ocean conditions. The deck hatches are defended from wave action by plinths. Dorade vents keep the accommodation well ventilated even in extreme conditions. The aft cockpit is particularly comfortable and the bridge deck area ideal for corporate entertaining.
During her circumnavigation, Dee Caffari illustrated that the yachts can be sailed single handed fast, safely and efficiently. Dee had the benefit of an excellent support crew. The current owners have found that it requires a minimum of skipper and one crew to sail, anchor and/or dock the vessel. For extended journeys, a crew of skipper and three crew can comfortably make extended passages and maintain a continuous watch.
The deck equipment was selected for its efficiency, robustness and ease of maintenance. All the equipment used fully justified its selection and remains in good condition.
Two Glacier Bay DC Breeze 5.00 BTU/hr air conditioning units were fitted in 2009. Both units were tested and serviced in 2015. The aft unit was found to be in good working condition. New solenoids were fitted to the forward unit along with a replacement cooling water pump. Both units use sea water cooling to vent heat taking it from the main seawater manifold and pumping it out amidships via an above water through hull with a valved connection.
The Challenge Fleet were designed to be self-sufficient and have adequate stowage for a crew of 18 to enable them to stay at sea for up to 55 days in any part of any Ocean. The Challenge races have illustrated the yacht's ability to do this with a surprising degree of comfort, in absolute safety. A multitude of handrails & pillars allows safe movement below decks. The saloon is light, airy and dry with good ventilation, which enables food to be prepared in tropical or Southern Ocean conditions in the galley. The comfortable seating area has fabric upholstery.
IRONBARQUE offers at least 6’6” of head room throughout its length; though one does have to duck going through the water tight doors and open bulkheads.
The original eighteen (18) berths were situated in 3 cabins with pipe births. Examples of the fittings and birth cloths have been retained.
Water Tight Compartments:
The Challenge design is divided into six water tight compartments:
Accommodation from Aft to Forward:
The aft cabin has port and starboard fixed bunks with a storage shelf above each. In addition there are six large capacity in built storage boxes.
In the mid aft cabin, on the port side, there is one outboard fixed birth with a storage shelf above it. Under this birth is an Engel MT80 DC refrigerator/freezer and a storage space for bulky items. Aft of the birth are 12 storage boxes mounted in two vertical stacks.
Inboard the births that were midline have been replaced by a cushioned bench as a relaxation/reading spaced. Access to the engine bay/gearbox is under this bench.
In the aft mid cabin, on the starboard side, there is one outboard fixed birth with a storage shelf above it. Underneath this bunk is storage space for the spinnaker and other bulky items. Aft of the birth are 12 storage boxes mounted in two vertical stacks.
Inboard there are one fixed and one pipe birth in the midline. Access to the engine bay/gearbox is under the lower bunk. There are four access ports to the aft bilges on both the starboard and port sides. The storage space is cavernous. Under floor springers permit tie downs so that stored items are secure.
In addition to the aft hatch, there are three dogable ports facing inboard into the crew wells on both the port and starboard sides for ventilation. Fly screens can be fitted/are available for each of these. In addition, DC fans have been mounted to ensure air circulation. These can be operated to support air circulation or with either heating or air conditioning activated.
The main cabin/galley offer seating accommodation and a navigation seat that can double as a watch birth. Under the sole there is cavernous bilge storage. Painted wooden slats have been fitted to keep stored items from contact with the bilge floor – these are demountable for cleaning and to inspect the bilge hull plating.
There are massive amounts of above the sole storage in cupboards in the galley/main cabin.
Fids are fitted to all shelves. Under and behind the cushions of the main settee there is storage for spare parts and service kits for the engines, winches and deck hardware.
There are two cabins forward. The port cabin is fitted with two fixed births and a stack of four storage boxes. The starboard cabin is fitted with two wider storage shelves that can be used for sail storage or as bunks. Both cabins offer access ports to the outboard forward bilges. Access to the midline bilges is available under the sole.
All births are fitted with lee cloths and reading lights. All cabins have Dorade vents.
The sail room is situated aft of the collision bulkhead and the full inventory of sails can be stowed here together with all the warps, fenders, sheets and guys. The main & kedge anchors together with their associated chain and warps are also securely stowed in this compartment. A central passageway runs aft from the sail room to the deckhouse.
Head & Shower Compartments:
Head/shower compartments are situated on either side, each with Raritan PE Manual heads, washbasin and shower (new in 2016). The heads can be directed to a 40gallon black water holding tank or piped overboard.
The navigation & communication equipment is situated around the full size chart table, facing aft behind the main saloon.
With hanging/drying space for a full complement of foul weather gear, Mikuni Diesel hater (new 2009), watermaker (new 2016) and fuel day tank.
A gimbaled 5-burner domestic size Calor gas hob is mounted in a custom-made stainless steel housing. Substantial fiddles allow safe preparation of food at sea in virtually any conditions. A separate Calor gas oven is mounted at the forward end of the proper sea going galley. Five course Christmas meals complete with fresh baked bread and pudding have been prepared in this galley.
The galley sink is a single piece custom stainless steel unit (new 2015) with teak cutting boards to fit over the sinks. Two custom knife and gadget drawers have been fitted outboard.
IRONBARQUE is fitted with a Cleghorn electrical hot water heater (CWB64-HT3 64 litre Horizontal Water Storage Heater with a CW239 11" Immersion Heater). Pressurized hot water is available in the galley and both heads.
The current owners put in two Engel DC powered refrigerator freezers. The smaller MT17 unit (new in 2008 and a veteran of 25,000 sea miles) is lashed down in the seating position that is the midline/forward corner of the main saloon settee (the seat that no one wants to have). It provided cold drinks and preservation of opened perishable foods.
The MT80 unit is the largest portable unit that can be brought aboard IRONBARQUE (the aft hatch was modified to permit it to be brought aboard and removed if require). It can freeze sufficient prepared “meat” portions (meat sauce, chilli, apricot chicken etc) to support a month at sea for a family of six with space to claim the occasion catch of fresh fish. The decision to use portable units was made to avoid the long term service nightmares associated with in built freezer units. This decision can be easily reversed by a new owner using the under bunk spaces in the mid aft cabins.
All the mechanical systems are robust with good access to permit easy and efficient maintenance both at sea and in harbour. The equipment was chosen for reliability and long service life.
All the electrical wiring together with the switch panels and fittings are of high quality for reliability and safety. The major cable runs are easily accessible with no wiring below the cabin soles. The major systems are all 24 volts.
Navigation & Communication Equipment:
The Challenge 72' Class yachts have proven themselves to be outstanding yachts; they are probably the strongest and most seaworthy fleet ever to have raced around the world.
The yachts have an almost legendary reputation for their performance in difficult conditions, comfort at sea and confidence inspiring ability. Their strength and ability also makes them ideal for high latitudes and gives almost unique access to many places that are inaccessible by other means.
The design lends itself to a wide variety of uses as well as Ocean Racing. The deck layout and accommodation makes the yachts suitable for corporate entertaining, adventure sailing, sailing training up to RYA Yachtmaster Ocean level, Sustainability research voyages, classic and blue-water racing (e.g. Fastnet, Carribean 600, South China Sea and Sydney to Hobart races), chartering and private use. The accommodation layout could be economically and quickly changed by virtue of the fact that the bulkheads do not penetrate the cabin soles.
The Challenge 72' class yachts quality equipment and sound engineering ensures reliability and low maintenance costs. The frequent and stringent regime of surveys and inspections has illustrated that well built and maintained steel yachts can race around the world at least twice in the world’s toughest yacht race and still remain in Bureau Veritas highest notation. The current owner has consistently maintained IRONBARQUE to the original high standard of build. Improvements made have been to make the vessel easier to manage short-handed and more comfortable for family cruising.
This vessel will take you safely on any ocean and to any latitude up to light ice. She will maintain you in safety and comfort. There are smaller boats that will stay happily near the coast; IRONBARQUE wants to be at sea. Short tacking up an estuary is not what she is designed for. There are longer sailing ships and multi-hulled boats that require a crack crew to avoid disaster that are faster than IRONBARQUE. She can sit without strain at 11 knots and forgive your mistakes. There are bigger sailing ships, ships with vast cabins fit for entertaining lords and ladies. These cabins are so large that, with a knock down, you can fall twenty vertical feet and ensure a head injury. No doubt your professional crew will ensure that this never happens.
However, if you yourself want to sail a ship across open oceans, rather than sit in one at a fashionable dock, look to IRONBARQUE. IRONBARQUE completed a refit in 2016 and has been extensively well maintained since that time. She is in sail away condition and ready for your next great adventure.
2020/2021 – Summary of Work Undertaken
12 yachts were built for the 2000/01 BT Global Challenge and all of them successfully completed the 10 month westabout circumnavigation.
During the autumn of 2003 they underwent a series of detailed surveys and inspections. Whist the yachts and all their systems/equipment were found to be in exceptionally good condition, they underwent a major refit. The 12 yachts set off on their second circumnavigation in October 2004 and again all of them successfully completed the 10 month westabout circumnavigation.
The refit amounted to a virtual rebuild with all the systems and equipment being replaced. This included new plumbing, wiring, engine, generator, batteries, pumps, deck equipment, steering gear, mast, spars, rigging and sails. Exactly the same amount of equipment and components were supplied to the “original yachts” for their refit as for the new yacht build. Shot blasting and repainting further ensured that the yachts were returned to 'as new condition'. As a result it was virtually impossible to identify from which build period each yacht originated. The specification was identical to the newly built yachts, as was their structural and cosmetic condition.