The boat that broke the record for the fastest Atlantic sea-crossing in 1986 takes to the seas again

The Virgin Atlantic Challenger II sailed into British waters for the first time in 16 years – and straight into Plymouth.

Originally backed by Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson, the iconic record-breaking boat has been restored by Plymouth boatyard owner Dan Stevens and his team after being found languishing in a Majorcan boatyard.

It took two months to restore including work fettling its two 2,000HP engines, new paintwork and hydraulics, crucial for controlling the boat at its top speed of 45 knots, also requiring repair.

Mr Stevens, spotted the 72ft (22m) vessel for sale in Majorca for approximately £250,000 last year.

Speaking to BBC News, Mr Stevens said: “Now it’s as good as new. She has a nice feeling about her and she’s more than capable of 45 knots.”

He declined to say how much the restoration cost, but he believes the boat is good for more record breaking.

Mr Stevens plans to race her in the Cowes to Torquay race at the end of September and the round-Britain race in 2014.