DEVONPORT YACHTS Devonport Challenge 72 for sale

Exeter, United Kingdom

£195,000 GBP

General information
DEVONPORT YACHTS Devonport Challenge 72
Used sail boat for sale
£195,000 GBP
Name of boat
Length overall
21.94 metres
5.48 metres
Exeter, United Kingdom

About this DEVONPORT YACHTS Devonport Challenge 72



CHALLENGE BUSINESS 45 was famous as BG GROUP, and sailed around the world against prevailing winds and currents with her hull sisters when she was owned by Chay Blyth’s Challenge Business.  


The Challenge 72s are unbreakable having been built to MCA Category 0 with the brief to provide a safe and secure platform for 18 people from all walks of life to sail around the world aboard.   Probably the most iconic one design class to sail the world’s oceans, CHALLENGE BUSINESS 45 was sold out of the Challenge Fleet and then had a successful sailing career in the Mediterranean and Caribbean as a high end charter yacht.   



CHALLENGE BUSINESS 45 is part of an extraordinary fleet that was conceived and built to sail around the world against prevailing winds and currents – which they did with Chay Blyth’s Challenge Business. After the business stopped trading, she was sold together with her sisterships and has a very successful second life as an adventure sailing yacht and was well known as BIG SPIRIT.


Her career came to an abrupt end in 2011 when she was substantially damaged whilst ashore having a pit stop before a trip across the Atlantic. She fell, lost her rig and sustained substantial damage to her structure. In her current ownership she has been assessed by Mecal the MCA and the needed work to the structure has been overseen by them and this work is of a standard to enable CHALLENGE BUSINESS 45 to code to MCA Category 0 giving her the ability to sail commercially worldwide with charter guests onboard, provided that the rest of the refit is carried out to Mecal’s standards.


All structural steel repairs to the hull and deck have now been completed and signed off by MECAL and supported by radiography and MPI test reports.  All of these reports (listed below) are available upon request. The owners worked with design engineer Jim Moore who did the design engineering for the Challenge Fleet initially, and provided the owners with the nested plates from the original design drawing of CB 45. 


  • Mecal Big Spirit Rebuild report 14/04/2014.
  • Mecal Big Spirit Rebuild report 25/04/2014.
  • Mecal Big Spirit Rebuild report Photogrammetry report 29/04/2014.
  • Mecal Big Spirit Rebuild report Deck Plan Shape 03/2014.
  • Mecal Big Spirit Rebuild report 16/11/2015.
  • Mecal Big Spirit Rebuild report 02/12/2015.
  • Mecal Big Spirit Rebuild report 04/05/2016.
  • Big Spirit radiography report 03/05/2016.
  • Big Spirit Rebuild MPI report 07/05/16.


The yacht will require a new rig and sails and other items damaged or removed will need to be replaced i.e. soft furnishings, internal furniture and linings, water maker, cabin heater and electronics package. She will also need to be filled and faired in the repair area and repainted in white with grey deck.  The opportunity exists for a new owner to store the yacht at the owner’s yard either outside or in one of their build sheds in order to carry out these works.  Challenge 72’s do not come onto the market very often and they are simply the last work in safe, powerful and capable adventure sailing be it the Southern Ocean or high latitude.


 CHALLENGE BUSINESS 45 is being offered as is, where is with all surveys, equipment and documentation available to the current owners, passed onto her new owners. 


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 and crew safety. 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) was chosen to build the fleet to Bureau Veritas highest notation. The construction method allows relatively simple and cost effective alterations to the interior layout.

Designer and Design Team 1. Designer – Rob Humphreys:

Rob Humphreys of Rob Humphreys Yacht Design, 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 previous British Steel Challenge and the BT Global Challenge.

2. 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.

3. 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 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.

4. 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.

Safety Standards, Surveys & Regulatory Bodies:

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) Design approval Bureau Veritas Certifying Authority – MECAL for MCA
Safety Standards compliance - MCA Cat 0 & Royal Ocean Racing Club, ORC Cat 0 Challenge Business policy for safety at sea Challenge Business Quality Assurance Programme The Challenge Business maintains a full and detailed service history of this yacht.

Hull, Deck & Superstructure Construction

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.


  • Hull – 50A mild steel
  • Keel - Steel fin & lead bulb
  • Deck & Coamings - 316 stainless steel
  • Coachroof - GRP Balsa


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 paneling was laser and water-jet cut to ensure absolute identical panels on each yacht.


  • International Paints Ltd filler and primer & Awlgrip - topcoat (Berthon 2004)

Keel & Rudder

  • Steel rudder, skeg & keel fin fabrications- Hercules CSMD of Dartmouth
  • Lead bulb - Iron Brothers Ltd


Engine & Gearboxes:

  • 130 hp (96kW) Sabre Perkins M130C 6 cylinder naturally aspirated diesel.


Propulsion & Steering:

  • 3 bladed autoprop (Bruntons Propellers Ltd)

Electrical Systems


  • Northern Lights M673L 5.5Kw



  • Total capacity 2150ltr.

Fresh water:

  • Total capacity 1775ltr.


The Challenge Fleet was designed to be self-sufficient and have adequate stowage to enable them to stay at sea for up to 55 days in any part of any Ocean with 18 crew aboard. 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.

The navigation & communication equipment is situated around the full size chart table, facing aft behind the main saloon.

Drying/Oilskin Room With hanging/drying space for a full complement of foul weather gear, watermaker and fuel day tank.

Cabins 18 berths in 5 cabins. (13 sea berths and 18 including saloon)

Berths have very high leecloths for security at sea. A box stowage system enables dry and orderly stowage of clothing and personal belongings.

Saloon - The whole crew can be seated around the saloon table. Stowage areas and cupboards are arranged outboard and below the comfortable seating.

Galley - 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 along with a microwave.

A new owner will need to rebuild the interior of CHALLENGE BUSINESS 45 and to replace all domestic equipment. The attached photographs were taken prior to her accident. 

Deck Equipment

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.

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.

History of Challenge 72 Yachts

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. CHALLENGE BUSINESS 45 achieved first place in the race.

The refit amounted to a virtual rebuild with all the systems and equipment being replaced. This included new plumbing, wiring, generator, batteries, pumps, deck equipment, steering gear, mast, spars, rigging and sails. 


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, chartering and private use

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.

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Maximum speed
33 kph
Cruising speed
28 kph
Number of berths
Broker/Dealer Information

Berthon International

The Shipyard
SO41 3YL
United Kingdom
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