Challenge to Take On the Challenge
US 65 CHALLENGE will once again be racing against her international sisters at the #6mRWorldChampionship2017 and we welcome this Classic beauty to Vancouver! Read up on the really interesting history of Challenge in the below article.
Boat Name: Challenge
Sail: US 65
Year Built: 1934
History: This from a previous owner: “In 1934, Cornelius Shields and his brother Paul commissioned A.E. “Bill” Luders Jr. to build a 6 meter ( the “Challenge” ) to defend the Seawanhaka Cup against Norna V, a yacht owned by Prince Olav of Norway. Norna V was to be sailed by Magnus Kornow, who was an Olympic Gold Medalist. The “Challenge” won the last three out of five races in the match successfully defending the cup. That same year Shields sailed Challenge to defend the British-American Cup, the Bermuda Cup, and other match races in Europe and Scandinavia. In Shields’ own words “Challenge sails like a winged witch.” Challenge was then sold to the Fisher family (of General Motors) and moved to the Great Lakes where she continued to win various club races until the start of WWII. After that her history is lost, except that at some point someone attempted to remake her into a cruiser. They cut out a large portion of her deck and added a cabin, and another large portion of her deck was removed to enlarge the cockpit. A small gasoline engine was crudely wedged into her bilge. I am sure she was not sailed much after these modifications, because having been built without bulkheads , her strength came from her deck beams and they were now gone. We purchased Challenge from a man in Youngstown , New York on Lake Erie. He had owned her for 20 years. She had spent the entire time setting in a cradle in his yard . The trucker that delivered her to us from New York said she sure got a lot of stares on the interstate . Now that she is “home” restoration has begun. The first step was to remove the additions (cabin, motor, etc…) and to replace the deck beams, twenty of them, and start re-decking her. We removed a foot of dried muck from her bilge. Surprisingly, she is still very sound with only a few ribs and planks needing replaced . Most of the original rigging came with her, but in boxes. With 4 side shrouds, double forestays, running backstays, and three “jumpers”, all to be attached to a 46ft spruce mast. I think rigging might take more than one day. I recently spoke with the son of the original owner, Cornelius Shields Jr., he remembered the Challenge and told me more about his fathers racing career. Cornelius Sr. ( known as the Grey Fox of Long Island Sound ) eventually went on to own and skipper “Columbia” defending the America’s Cup in 1958.”
Challenge was moved from Des Moines, Iowa to Orcas Island, Washington in the Spring of 2005 by Michael Durland, who currently has her under cover at Deer Harbor Boatworks. Michael plans to return Challenge to racing trim and hopes to have her in the water for the late 2006 or 2007 season.
2007 Update (Owner: Michael Durland and Kat Fennell)
“Kat Fennell and I purchased her in 2005 and trailered her to Deer Harbor on Orcas Island Washington still in the cradle she has been in for now 25 years. Repairs began in 2006 at Deer Harbor Boatworks with help from Kat’s nephew Jake Fennell and neighbor Howard Barbour. Many frames had been sistered and double sistered so we removed all sistered frames and ended up replacing about 60 steam bent oak frames. Challenge had been refastened so most planks had three fastening holes and where the frames had been sistered six and nine fastening holes. We replaced 8 to 10 planks a side in the way of the chain plates along with the entire sheer plank and of course the odd plank here and there. The sheer clamp had water damage and had cracked where the genoa track had exerted the most pull so a new piece was scarfed in on each side. Five thru hull holes were plugged. At one point the stem had met a very hard object and had been repaired with a block of fir so the block was removed and repaired with a three foot laminated stem. Only two original deck beams remain aft. A new plywood deck and a single cockpit was installed rather than the original three hole cockpit to make it easier to sail short handed in the Islands. The mast and boom needed little repair and were varnished in keeping with the original finish. The original three spreader and jumper strut rig was installed along with minimum sailing hardware prior to launch in the fall of 2006. Challenge is now sailing until hauling out this winter at Deer Harbor Boatworks for final trim, paint, and sailing hardware to be ready for the 2007 sailing season.”
(Source & pictures: 6mrnorthamerica.com)
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