Challenger 13 by Dudley Dix

Plywood Lapstrake Sailing Dinghy

Length overall13'4 m
Beam5' 3"1.6 m
Draft2' 7"0.8 m
Draft (cb up)6"0.15 m
Weight220 lbs100 kg
Sail area95 sq. ft.8.79 m2
Engine powerup to 8
Hull construction Plywood
Gallery 4 photos
See also Dixi DinghyArgie 10Argie 15



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. 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.

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.

Challenger 13

Deck plan
Deck plan

Photo gallery


Challenger 13 with sails
Challenger 13 with sails

View from transom
View from transom

On the trailer
On the trailer

See also

Design Length Beam Sail area Engine power Compare
Dixi Dinghy by Dudley Dix
3:1 plywood dinghie
8' 2"
2.5 m
4' 2"
1.28 m
46 sq. ft.
4.23 m2
Argie 10 Argie 10 by Dudley Dix
3:1 plywood dinghie
10' 2"
3.1 m
4' 5"
1.35 m
57 sq. ft.
5.25 m2
Argie 15 Argie 15 by Dudley Dix
Plywood Sailing Dinghy
15' 5"
4.7 m
1.83 m
105 sq. ft.
9.80 m2
up to 10

Boats about same size as Challenger 13

Golden Bay   Golden Bay
Sporting sailor with a lot of performance for the money

LOA: 12' 10"/3.9 m   compare
Corsair 13   Corsair 13
[CR13] Ideal for two or three people but easily handled by a solo sailor

LOA: 12' 10"/3.91 m   compare
Houdini   Houdini
Serious, a sailing dinghy with space to sleep two or daysail four

LOA: 13' 5"/4.1 m   compare
  Paper Jet
Plywood stitch & glue sailing skiff

LOA: 13' 5"/4.1 m   compare

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