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Hi All,

I've been shopping boats for a little over six months and I've recently been turned on to the Challenger 40 for the following main reason:

1) Good headroom (I'm 6'4").
2) Appears to be a well built thick hand laid 1970's era fiberglass boat.
3) Significant bang for the buck.

I've looked at more modern boats in the 34-36 foot category that have all the bells and whistles. My thought is that If I do my homework and buy an older solid boat, i can ad bells and whistles (electronics to my liking, cushion covers, dodger, etc) as I go. On the other hand, buy the 34-36 foot boat, love it for 5 years or so, and end up wanting a bigger boat with more off shore capability, higher tankage capacity, heavier displacement etc.

Going to view a cahllenger 40 this weekend (Sloop) and likely flying somewhere in the next few weeks to view another one (ketch).

My intent is to use the boat for PNW cruising over the next few years as the boat and my schedule are upgraded to accomodate extended cruising. I currently own a 1989 Macregor 26D and a Nacra 5.2 Cat.... I sail both frequently. Have had experience sailing a 40' plus boat with similar dispacement to challenger 40 in the San Juans / Sound area.

I have turned over practically every stone I can on the web trying to find info not only on Challenger Yachts, but specifically the 40. Anyone have any knowledge to bestow on me? Any suggestions for other boats that I may want to throw in the mix? (budget not to exceed 45k....30k would be nice). How about someone to talk me out of all this craziness?

What say you??
 

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I absolutely love my Challenger 40', Elizabeth, which I've had for almost a year. They are really well built boats and I'm extremely happy with how she sails (I've had her moving over 10 knots flying the #3, Main, and Mizzen). Mine is a ketch rig, which I really like, although I'd be interested to check out the sloop. I had little experience with ketch rigs before I started looking at her and read a lot about ketches and yawls in the run up to buying her. I learned that there is a lot of hatred for the rig out there, I'm glad I didn't listen to the haters; I like it for the following reasons:

It's easy to reduce sail - over 30 knots of breeze I can fly my mizzen and headsail only and still move along just fine - and I'd argue with more control than a reefed main.

Splitting the sail plan makes the boat more trimmable for women or those small of stature.

Three sails looks cooler than two.

Mizzen tricks - you can use the mizzen for a lot of fun tricks your sloop friends don't know about.

That's my ketches are great bit, as to the Challenger, I think she has a lot to offer. A few things to watch out for -

The original mainmast step on some of these boats was a welded bridge that spans the bottom of the hull where the mast passes through the cabin sole. I saw photos of someones Challenger down in Central America that had badly corroded - this is in the foreward head so figure it might have had to do with use of the shower. Mine is stepped into a large (approx 12"x12") block that is glassed in to the hull - prefferential I think, don't know of it is original, I suspect it was done when the boat's standing rigging was redone. That would be something to look at if it is accessible.

A few other beefs I have - The wiring harness on mine left some things to be desired - it would have been nice if they'd followed colour-coding convention when they ran wires - also they were quite a few splices below the cabin sole - less than desirable.

The keel is really deep, under the engine, and is almost impossible to clear of standing water - let alone clean. I think they made Challengers in a full keel model as well that might be better for this (mine is a fin keel and has a six and a half foot draft).

Mine had some issues with secondary bonding - some tabbing had from the hull at the connections to the bulkheads. Not sure why - I fixed all that with epoxy after I bought the boat. Something to look at.

And the good:

Roomy, as you noted, nice headroom, solid layup (I think the hull is an inch think!), mine has a Perkins 4-107, which is a great little engine, generally well thought out systems, nice interior woodwork, etc.

I did what you're doing when I bought mine and got some nice testimonials from folks on here - one bloke said he'd take his anywhere - now that I've had mine for a year I'd agree with that too.

Cheers,
hugh
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey Hugh! Thanks for the info! I actually have read your posts about your challenger and had composed a PM to you prior to starting this thread but wasn't allowed to send due to my low post count!!!
I appreciate the feedback (especially the issues to watch for). Both boats I'm looking into are full keel. As for the sloop vs. ketch conversation, I think I'd be okay with either one and will choose the boat that is in the best overall condition. I am tempted to get into the sloop vs. ketch game, but at the end of the day, I think it would be alot of stress over nothing and there are more important items to evaluate.

I look forward to comparing notes with you in the futrure.....especially if I end up as an owner.

-Tyler
 

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Swift, SFChallenger has given you lots of specifics, but just to chime in-- we sold our Challenger 40 ketch a year ago. She was a solidly built boat with lots of light in the interior, and a TON of storage space. She sailed very well. An excellent boat with a little-known name.
 

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Thanks Suzy! I just walked away from a full keeled ketch in Californina last week..... had too many things going on. I was sold on that set up and am now only able to locate a sloop rigged fin keel challenger 40. Was your ketch full or fin keeled?
 

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hi there, just to echo some things already said; she's a great sailing boat with a nice gentle motion, the head room is a huge plus (i'm just over 6ft), the engine access is great, the interior build quality is very well thought out, and the galley is highly livable. i have some original documentation including the owners' manual if you'd like to to see it. we've owned ours (family of 4) for about a year and love her more every time we take her out. she handles the sf bay like a pro and can keep up with much younger boats with no problem. she's a sloop rigged fin keeled craft that is capable of 35deg off weather when properly trimmed and can make 7-9 kts comfortably. i wouldn't hesitate to make a passage in her at all.
 

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Hey Captaindad,

I'd be interested in having a look at your documents, I have a Challenger 40' ketch rig. I'm in the sf bay too, so perhaps we could meet somewhere and I could photocopy if you don't have them in electronic format. Ping me here or e-mail me at hfield at matpelbuilders dot com if that could work.

Cheers,
h
 

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SV Alethiea, Challenger 4
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So, I am coming to the party late. But, I am the "new" owner of the Challenger 40 Ketch Susy sold in 2009. After more than 3 years of owning and living aboard her I would agree with the comments above. A very solid cruising boat that I would hesitate to take off shore.

We have installed a number of upgrades so far and we have a few more to go before we leave but almost all of the work has been updating older systems and not fixing broken stuff.

Have a great sail!

Tim and Tina
SV Alethiea
 

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So, I am coming to the party late. But, I am the "new" owner of the Challenger 40 Ketch Susy sold in 2009. After more than 3 years of owning and living aboard her I would agree with the comments above. A very solid cruising boat that I would hesitate to take off shore.

We have installed a number of upgrades so far and we have a few more to go before we leave but almost all of the work has been updating older systems and not fixing broken stuff.

Have a great sail! Tim and Tina SV Alethiea
Can we assume the highlight is a typo and you meant wouldn't? Makes a big difference. :)
 

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SV Alethiea, Challenger 4
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My Bad... and yes it was a type-O and we will be headed off shore full time in a couple years. Hoping for a couple years in the med, then the caribean sea then the pacific run.

Thanks
 

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It's been over a year, any updates! Another Challenger has come to the market that has spiked my interest.

Anybody still here?
 

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Totally late to this conversation but we have purchased a Challenger 40 a few months ago and have finally started working on her. She needed some help but she will be well worth it.

We just purchased a Challenger 40 a couple months ago and have just started to fix her up. Wasn't used for over 6 years and had a few problems but nothing that cant be handled. Structurally she is sound and no blisters and engine in good shape and what not.

But I would love to have any documentation you all have as ours is a Sloop as well. Its a 1972, and I am gutting all the wood out of vberth and rebuilding it as it had termites in that area, have to change flooring too, about 45% of the floor I will be redoing. Have gone through the whole boat to check for any other wood damage and that seems to be the stent of those little bugs. Over all it is wood work and standing rig along with restepping the mast. I would love to see how your mast is stepped, this one is all corroded and I will be glassing it in once done. I am also redoing most if not all the electrical wires, and will be leaving some extras up in the mast when I do it as well for future upgrades. Thanks for any info you may have.

Cheers...
 

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al brazzi
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Totally late to this conversation but we have purchased a Challenger 40 a few months ago and have finally started working on her. She needed some help but she will be well worth it.

We just purchased a Challenger 40 a couple months ago and have just started to fix her up. Wasn't used for over 6 years and had a few problems but nothing that cant be handled. Structurally she is sound and no blisters and engine in good shape and what not.

But I would love to have any documentation you all have as ours is a Sloop as well. Its a 1972, and I am gutting all the wood out of vberth and rebuilding it as it had termites in that area, have to change flooring too, about 45% of the floor I will be redoing. Have gone through the whole boat to check for any other wood damage and that seems to be the stent of those little bugs. Over all it is wood work and standing rig along with restepping the mast. I would love to see how your mast is stepped, this one is all corroded and I will be glassing it in once done. I am also redoing most if not all the electrical wires, and will be leaving some extras up in the mast when I do it as well for future upgrades. Thanks for any info you may have.

Cheers...
Polyestermites?
 

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Hello!
Anyone still there?
My husband and I bought a 1972 Challenger 38 about two and a half years ago now. I'm glad to have found this forum and hope there are still some folks out there still taking these old boats on adventures.

My husband and I are first-time boat owners...actually neither of us had ever been on a boat in our lives. We bought this one because cosmetically she's beautiful inside, had the head room for my 6+ ft. husband, and is known for its solid core.

While under sail about 13 miles off the southern CA coast, the mast step sheared on us, dropping the mast to the keel. Thankfully no damage to the deck, mast, or hull. I highly encourage anyone who hasn't gotten eyes on their mast step to do so before your next sail.

As someone mentioned above, we are also in the process of completely re-wiring everything. We have lots of rotten wood (v berth) and under all the port lights that we will be attempting to tackle this summer. S

Mostly she needs some upgrades, like new LED mast fixtures, a (mostly) cosmetic shower overhaul (the head platform is rotting), constant varnishing (I'll pay that price for our gorgeous boat!), and a saloon upholstery overhaul. Our main concern right now are squishy decks. Were they made with plywood cores?

We have a Perkins 4-108 and in the past year, we rebuilt the transmission and the engine back to the rear main seal. The rear main seal was leaking oil into our incredibly deep bilge, causing us to soooo many bilge pump woes. Seems like we have an undersized prop; at 2000 RPM's we can't get over 4.3 knots.

I'd love to hear about everyone's Challengers, successes, woes, specs, etc. to help us with our projects and to know what's normal! I heard there's a manual floating around and I'd love to it. The only thing I can find online is the sketch from sailboat data.

Please reach out at ekhenderson14 at Gmail dot com. For those who posted their contact info, I'll be reaching out to you to see if you can share any materials. Take care!
 
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