- Boat Name: Challenge
- Sail: US 65
- Year Built: 1934
- Designer: Luders
- Builder: Luders
- Owner: Michael Durland and Kat Fennell
- 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 sucsessfully
defending the cup. That same year Shields sailed Challenge to
defendthe British-American Cup, the Bermuda Cup, and other match
races in Europe and Scandanavia. 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 alot 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 deckbeams, twenty of them, and start re-decking
her. We removed a foot of dried muck from her bilge. Surprisingly,
she is still very sound withonly 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
- 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 chainplates 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.