Sir Chay Blyth's company goes into administration

The company behind the Global Challenge round-the-world yacht race has gone into administration, it was announced yesterday. Only last month, it announced that it had had to postpone the next edition of the Global Challenge, which was scheduled for 2008-09, because it had failed to find a “title holder” sponsor.

Now administrators from Grant Thornton have been called in to the firm, which also operates corporate events and other yachting races such as the Round Britain and Ireland Challenge and the Transat Challenge. Nigel Morrison, one of two joint administrators, said: “The business model for the company required that Global Challenge series attracted heavyweight ‘title holder’ sponsorship, which proved impossible for the last race in 2004/05.

“The company has worked hard to find a sponsor for the next race in 2008/09, but with no success it was forced to announce the postponement of the next Global Challenge race. Cashflow became difficult to manage as the company entered the autumn with very few events scheduled until next spring.”

Mr Morrison added: “Our intention is to establish shortly whether there is a possibility for a going concern sale of the business or whether it will be necessary to realise the assets of the company separately.”

Sir Chay Blyth, who was born in Hawick in the Borders, worked his way into the record books in 1971 when he became the first person to sail non-stop around the world against the winds and currents. He set up the business 18 years later to give ordinary people the chance to attempt the same feat in “the challenge of a lifetime, the adventure of your life”.

Challenge Business, which is based in Southampton and has technical support facilities in Plymouth, now employs around 15 staff. It also owns 18 yachts, including the 72ft yacht which was sailed by Dee Caffari earlier this year when she became the first woman to sail non-stop the wrong way round the world.

Full article: Carolyn Churchill in the Scottish Herald