A bid to buy Challenge Business is struggling as yachts continue to be sold off one by one


A bid to buy Sir Chay Blyth’s defunct Challenge Business as a going concern is struggling, administrators Grant Thornton have admitted. Two interested groups have so far been unable to raise the finance needed, rumoured to be somewhere in the region of £4-5 million.

“We are still talking to two groups; one more than the other,” says Nigel Morrison of Grant Thornton, “and we have an offer that is acceptable to us, but they still need to prove that they can do it, and they are clearly struggling to put various parts of the jigsaw together.”

Morrison admits that he is not confident it will happen, saying: “We have been in discussions with these people for three months and time has moved on, so while it will be a success if we do sell it, I’m not that hopeful, to be honest. But they are working hard on it, and we have no particular issue with price.”

Former BT Global Challenge skipper Manley Hopkinson is involved with this bid, but would not comment on the other key players. He confirms, however, that the aim would be to repeat the wrong-way flagship round the world race.

In the meantime as part of Grant Thornton’s “two-track approach”, sales of the Challenge yachts – 13 72-footers and five 67-footers – is ongoing. Brokers Berthon have already sold one 67 and two 72s, including the converted yacht Dee Caffari sailed solo round the world last year to a private individual for high latitudes sailing and mountaineering expeditions. The boat has been renamed Polar Bear.