Challenger 13

Plywood Lapstrake Sailing Dinghy

Challenger 13 plywood lapstrake dinghy
Cover courtesy of SA Yachting Magazine


An attractive and versatile dinghy of traditional styling, the Challenger 13 offers lots of fun for the whole family.

Multi-purpose, she can be rowed, motored or sailed.

Traditional lapstrake construction, but built with modern plywood and epoxy materials.

More challenging to build than stitch & glue boats, so use her to expand your boatbuilding skills.

She can be a great quality time project for Dad with Junior's help or a practical winter project, to fight off cabin fever.

Built-in flotation compartments and a simple sail plan make her great for learning to sail, whatever your age.

More photos ~ Flickr Album



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Challenger13 plywood lapstrake sailing dinghy

The Challenger was conceived as a smaller sister to the Explorer, a GRP production boat built by Sentinel Boat in Cape Town, South Africa. From the outset she was to be a plywood lapstrake boat, built to order. Enough boats were ordered to warrant changing over to GRP and, at the same time,she was lengthened to 14ft. Sentinel Boats have also graciously waived the sole rights clause on the design, allowing me to sell plans for her to be built from plywood outside of South Africa.

She has more emphasis on performance, with a flat planing underbody to give good speed in stronger conditions.Yet, she maintains the strong family resemblance, with pronounced sheer and lapstrake topsides.

Challenger 13 Plywood lapstrake sailing dinghy

Challenger 13 Plywood lapstrake sailing dinghy

The rig is balanced lug, with a jib. This allows short spars which can be stored inside the hull. It also gives a fairly low centre of effort, allowing more sail area to be carried in safety. Her mainsail can also be reefed in stronger conditions.

The construction detailing is simple, to keep costs down and to allow those of us who are not master boatbuilders to produce a reasonable boat. Yet she is more complicated to build than stitch and glue boats so she can be used as a step along the way, broadening the building skills en-route to larger and more complicated projects.

She has built-in buoyancy compartments in her thwarts for safety. Continuous side seating all round gives comfort for sailing or just messing about with the family. The daggerboard and pivotting rudder give access to shallow water, to get you into those private nooks where the bigger boats cannot go.

If the construction method of the Challenger seems a bit daunting to you, look at the Dixi Dinghy, Argie 10 and Argie 15 stitch and glue dinghies.


LOA 4.00m (13'1")

Beam 1.60m (5'3")

Draft 0.15/0.8m (6"/2'8")

Sail Area 8.79sq.m (95sq.ft)

Weight 100kg (220lb)

Rig Height 5.35m (17'6")

Max power 6kW (8hp)


Plan Price

US$55.00 + shipping Order now

Plans for this design are not available to builders in South Africa.

The GRP version can be bought from Sentinel Boats.

Please note that our plan prices include for adding imperial measurements to our metric designs if needed by the buyer.


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This page was updated 29 July 2018

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