Virgin Atlantic Challenger II goes up for sale

Motorboat & Yachting: Powerboat lovers have been given a chance to own a piece of transatlantic history, as Virgin Atlantic Challenger II has been put up for sale.

 

A 72ft slice of boating history has come onto the used boat market, as Virgin Atlantic Challenger II has been put up for sale.

The 53-knot monohull shattered the transatlantic powerboat record in 1986 by crossing from New York to London in 80 hours 31 mins.

And now she has come up for sale with Irish broker Performance Marine, with an asking price of £725,000 – less than half of what Sir Richard Branson spent on the original build.

Current owner Dan Stevens came across Virgin Atlantic Challenger II in a Mallorca marina in 2011.

He then spent three months renovating this record-breaking vessel, at a cost of more than £100,000, with the help of broker Brian Thornton and Eckie Rastig, who worked on the engine during the record-breaking transatlantic passage.

And while Dan was keen to keep modifications to a minimum, one key upgrade has been made in the engine room.

The original F1-style bladder tanks, which nearly failed during the transatlantic voyage, have been removed and replaced with four new aluminium and epoxy resin-lined fuel tanks, giving Virgin Atlantic Challenger II a fuel capacity of 13-tonnes.

The original twin 2,000hp MTU V12 turbo-diesel engines have also been rebuilt. All the mechanical parts and primary systems are still in place, but have been stripped down and rebuilt, piece-by-piece.

And even though she is nearing her 28th birthday, Virgin Atlantic Challenger II still has fewer than 1,000 engine hours on the clock.

What’s more, she can still hit 45 knots, as Dan proved last summer with a day-trip to Fowey with Sir Richard and the original crew on board (see video below).

“It’s a phenomenal boat, and a phenomenal ride,” Dan told MBY. “There’s 132Db of noise in the engine room and you still have to wear ear defenders in the saloon.”

As you might expect from a transatlantic record breaker, the interior of Virgin Atlantic Challenger II is a little Spartan by today’s luxury cruiser standards.

There is a small day heads with washbasin and no galley, although Dan adds that there is enough room to fit a double berth under the console, should you want to.

The bucket seats have been refurbished in red leather, new carpet has been laid on the main deck, and there’s potential for a lot more.

“We’re willing to do any modifications required, there’s a vast amount of space, but I personally didn’t want to change too much,” Dan adds.

Despite only recent going on sale, Virgin Atlantic Challenger II has already attracted plenty of interest from Chinese businessmen and Arab Sheikhs alike, so where will she end up next?

“It would be a good boat for the Thames or the Med. She could do the London-Monte Carlo race quite comfortably,” Dan continues. “It’s a one-off craft that can still achieve what it did in 1986.”

Private viewings are available, but fender kickers need not apply. “We’re asking for a 10% deposit before we’ll even open the hatch,” Brian adds.

And if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to £725,000, then you might want to consider chartering Virgin Atlantic Challenger II, which is a relative snip at £2,500 per hour.

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