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.
Pratical Boat Owner: The new Portland Bill Lighthouse Visitor Centre has been completed and is now open to visitors.
Trinity House, the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and the Channel Islands, has taken on this project with the help of a grant from its Maritime Charity to highlight to the public the importance of the sea to Britain today and the history of its aids to navigation.
The newly-refurbished visitor attraction occupies the ground floor of the former lighthouse keepers’ cottages next to the lighthouse.
Since 1716 a number of lighthouses have exhibited a light from Portland to guide vessels through the hazardous race to Portland and Weymouth as well as along the English Channel; the present lighthouse dates from 1906 and was manned until 1996.
The new visitor centre seeks to showcase the history of the Portland Bill Lighthouses and also tell the story of the lives of the Trinity House lighthouse keepers.
The exhibition also encompasses the history and development of Trinity House, which celebrated its 500th anniversary last year, and its lighthouses in general and the future of satellite-based aids to navigation.
The exhibition includes artefacts from the Trinity House collection, plus graphic and interactive displays.
For an extra fee, a visit to the centre can be completed by ascending the Grade II Listed lighthouse to take in the panoramic views of the world famous Jurassic Coast.
Admission price for the visitor centre only is £3 for adults and £2 for children, with concessions and group offers available.
Trinity House’s Executive Chairman Captain Ian McNaught said: ‘It is great to add another element to the diverse range of platforms we use to engage with the public and inform them about the work that we at Trinity House do and of the importance of the sea to an island nation where over 95% of the goods imported or exported travel by sea.
‘To be able to do that at a location as beautiful as Portland Bill is a very welcome advantage.’
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Motorboat & Yachting: Former Sunseeker man Karl Gilding has re-joined Fairline Boats to head up the Oundle firm’s yacht sales division.
Fairline Boats is claiming a major coup after appointing former Sunseeker sales manager Karl Gilding, who has re-joined Fairline to head up the yacht sales division, after two years working for the firm’s Poole-based rivals.
Fairline added that Karl will help to build up the brand’s dealer network in North America, an area which is expected to show future growth. As the first UK importer of Sea Ray boats, Karl has plenty of experience in yacht sales, and his first stint at Fairline lasted 17 years.
Colin Sykes, CEO of Fairline Boats, said: “We are very pleased to be welcoming Karl back to our global sales team. “He brings extensive knowledge of both Fairline’s heritage and the global leisure boating sector as a whole to the role.”
Colin took this opportunity to stress the strength of Fairline’s order book, which is at its highest level for two years, excluding advance orders for the recently announced Targa 53GT and Squadron 53.
Yachting World: A mini maritime rescue has appeared near the London Eye to raise awareness of the RNLI’s lifesaving work and the upcoming Alternative Boat Race.
Street artist Slinkachu has recreated a lifesaving RNLI rescue that happened on the Thames last year to highlight the amazing work the charity does and raise awareness of the upcoming Alternative Boat Race.
The artist, who is famed for his ‘little people’ miniature model set-ups, has crafted a scene depicting a genuine rescue from September last year, where RNLI volunteers went above and beyond rescuing a man trapped on a mooring cable beneath the London Eye.
After arriving on scene, two RNLI crew rescued the man who was stood on the mooring cable of a boom after jumping from their lifeboat in choppy conditions to help him.
Helen Church was one of the volunteers who aided the man in his precarious situation, getting him to the safety of the lifeboat.
Once onboard, he was taken to Tower lifeboat station where he was handed into the care of paramedics from the London Ambulance Service.
The RNLI relies on the generosity of the public to fund its lifesaving work and Slinkachu’s composition supports the Alternative Boat Race fundraising event on 10th April, taking place the day before the BNY Mellon Boat Race.
Members of the public can sponsor one of 250 floating miniature lifeboats to be in with the chance of winning the right to name one of the charity’s new D class lifeboats.
The race will kick off at 5.30pm, running between Barnes Bridge and the finish line at the University Stone, just before Chiswick Bridge.
Slinkachu, who waived his fee for the RNLI to create the set-up, said: “I’m a proud Londoner and wanted to help highlight the vital job the RNLI does on the Thames to keep us all safe.
“The crew members have to be ready to launch at a moment’s notice day or night to ensure they reach those in difficulty on the water as quickly as possible. It’s really important that the RNLI has the support of residents of London.
“I hope people are inspired by my work to come out and support the charity at this fun event, which has a serious message at its heart.”
Helen Church, who balances volunteering for the RNLI with her day job as a civil servant said: “I love being a volunteer for the RNLI and being a part of a team save lives is what it’s all about.
“Considering the amount of people that use the Thames each day and how treacherous the waters can be, it’s surprising how many people aren’t aware of the RNLI’s work in London.
“I am incredibly proud and honoured to be immortalised as part of Slinkachu’s work.”
Motorboat & Yachting: The inaugural Northern Boat Show will feature motorboats from Bavaria and Bayliner, organisers have confirmed.
A new boat show is hoping to take Liverpool by storm this summer, with Bavaria and Bayliner models due to go on display at the inaugural event.
Running over the weekend of June 5-7, the Northern Boat Show is a brand new event for boating enthusiasts and newcomers alike.
Organiser Carnah Events aims to capitalise on the popularity of the International Mersey River Festival, which attracted 25,000 visitors last year.
And now the first names on the exhibitor list have been confirmed, including Maiden Marine, Windermere Aquatics, Clipper Marine and Preston Marina.
They will be exhibiting a range of power and sailboats in Albert Dock, including a new Bavaria Sport 400 (pictured above) and a Bayliner 175.
Other Northern Boat Show exhibitors include Pantaenius, Marine Teak, the Cruising Association, Liverpool Marina and Conwy Quays Marina.
Richard Milbourn, Director of the Northern Boat Show, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from companies involved in every aspect of the leisure marine industry and we are signing up new exhibitors every day.”
Richard argues that the demand is there for a boat show in the North West, as half of all UK boat owners live north of Birmingham and only 5% of the visitors to the London and Southampton Boat Shows travel down from the North of England.
“We’re looking forward to capturing this untapped market,” he adds.
General access to the show is free, but tickets to the pontoon exhibit cost £5. A £2.50 discount is available on early bird tickets bought online before May 1.
Motorboat & Yachting: Brighton Marina is to benefit from more than £1m of investment from its owner Premier Marinas, including a new dredger and refurbished pontoons.
The marina chain announced that it has bought a new £800,000 dredger for the 1,550-berth facility, which will be delivered in November.
The new dredger will set to work in the 2015/16 winter season and will be able to access restricted areas below and between bridgeheads, pontoons and fingers. What’s more, the pontoons at Brighton Marina will also be refurbished this year, in a programme which will cost Premier Marinas around £250,000.
Finally, a review of the security facilities at Brighton Marina is underway and plans are in place to install 13 new CCTV cameras.
The new works follow last year’s £675,000 investment to add finger pontoons, a lock pontoon and new electrical installations. Meanwhile, Premier Marinas confirmed that the expansion of its Gosport dry stack facility is due to be completed in time for Easter.
Motorboat & Yachting: The largest model in the Custom Line range will be launched next summer, in the form of the new Navetta 37.
Teased at last month’s Miami Boat Show, the Navetta 37 is described as a ‘maxi yacht’ and certainly has the dimensions to reflect that: 121ft long by 26ft wide.
Boasting a brand new hull with a bulbous bow, the new arrival will have a maximum draft of 7ft, which should keep fuel efficiency in check.
Four engine configurations will be offered, the largest of which is a twin MTU 12V set-up generating a punchy 1,948hp.
Ferretti Group’s designers explain that they wanted to create an imposing look for this go-anywhere superyacht, with the bow rising up to the first superstructure level.
Much like the upcoming Custom Line 108, the Navetta 37 will have Ferretti’s clever dual-mode transom, which allows for an 18ft tender to be launched from the garage and then doubles up as a huge bathing platform.
Accommodation comes in the form of a foredeck master suite, situated above three double cabins and the crew quarters on the lower level.
The upper deck features a panoramic cockpit and the choice of a second tender/jet ski garage or a second Jacuzzi.
Finally, the sun deck comes with freestanding furniture and a Jacuzzi, as well as plenty of lounging space beneath the hard-top bimini shade.
It all sounds highly appealing, but we’ll have to wait until summer 2016 to see the finished Navetta 37 hit the water.
Pratical Boat Owner: Registration has now opened for the PBO Ask the Experts Live attraction at Beaulieu Boatjumble 2015.
Visit Beaulieu Boatjumble on Sunday 26 April and you’ll not only be able to enjoy boating bargains at hundreds of stands, but also PBO’s new Ask the Experts Live attraction.
For decades, PBO has offered a free advice service through our magazine pages, and now we’re bringing it to life for the first time.
We’re teaming up with the RYA Active Marina team and dozens of marine industry experts to offer Boatjumble visitors a marquee area with non-stop practical presentations, demonstrations and the chance to quiz the
professionals on a range of topics.
The talks schedule (below) has been and you can now register online to secure your place at the free event – the first 30 to register will receive a free pack of PBO ‘Free Anchorage’ playing cards. You can also just turn up on the day!
Motorboat & Yachting: Premier Marinas has announced plans for a grand re-opening of Swanwick Marina after a £5.8m redevelopment programme.
To celebrate the completion of 18 months of works, the Swanwick Marina Grand Opening will include traditional hornpipe music from Warsash Sea Cadets, silk dancing from Zu, and the crowd-pleasing sounds of Fat Cats Soul Band.
Those looking for a technical tune-up can also speak to Landau UK, who will be exhibiting Garmin, Raymarine and Navico equipment.
Food and drink will be available on the day, including a freshly prepared hog roast from the Boat House Café. Tickets cost £2.50 and all proceeds will go to Premier Marinas’ chosen charity, The Rainbow Centre.
Situated in the upper reaches of the River Hamble, Swanwick Marina is part of the Premier Marinas chain. Its 260 berths can accommodate yachts measuring up to 30 metres (98ft) in length.
The marina has been gradually revamped since October 2013 at a cost of £5.8million, adding 16 new workshops and offices, a dry stack, extra car parking, a high-speed fuel pontoon and a self-storage facility.
Motorboat & Yachting: Nautibuoy is set to unveil its inflatable yacht pontoon at the upcoming London Yacht, Jet and Prestige Car Show.
Designed by Nina Anderson and Clay Builder, two former superyacht crew members, the Nautibuoy can be used as a detachable swim platform or a jetski dock.
It’s not just fun and games though, as the inflatable yacht pontoon can also be used as a base for carrying out cleaning and maintenance.
Clay is keen to stress the Nautibuoy’s practicality, as even the largest 4.5m model can be inflated in less than four minutes. “The platform addresses the issue of misjudged jet-ski collisions, a considerable issue for superyachts, as the cost of damage is enormous,” he adds.
Built from Hypalon, the pontoons are available in a range of configurations, including L-shaped and T-shaped. Nautibuoy will be exhibiting on Stand Q02 at next month’s London Yacht, Jet and Prestige Car Show, which runs at Old Billingsgate Market and St Katharine Docks from 8-10 April.