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Challenger Owner Checking In!

Jul 8, 2016
22
Hello all,

Last fall I purchased FRIDOLF, Alden Challenger 949Q, which was docked south of San Francisco in Santa Cruz, CA, and has now been transported to Michigan. I've renamed the old boat IOLAIRE, based on the gaelic word for "eagle", and am now in the process of refitting her with an eye toward having the most pressing tasks finished sometime next season... As we know, an old boat is never truly finished!

I've accumulated a little information on the history of 949Q which I can share. The boat was originally named CHALLENGER when purchased new in 1960 by a Californian named Jerome Robinson. Perhaps not the most original name for an Alden Challenger, you may say. However, it might make a bit more sense if you knew Mr. Robinson was apparently an Alden dealer who aimed to race his new boat, rake in the hardware, and collect more orders for Challengers.

Among those who worked for him, and raced CHALLENGER, was a young Bill Lee, who later went on to become a famous West Coast racing yacht designer. His work includes designing and building the legendary MERLIN which set a TransPac Race record for monohull sailboats in 1977 that stood until 1997 -- when it was broken by another Bill Lee designed and built racer.
Incidentally, Mr. Lee also now works as a yacht broker and handled the sale of FRIDOLF when I purchased the boat.

After a few years of ownership, CHALLENGER was sold in 1965 to a pilot named Clinton Stanfield. He renamed the boat FRIDOLF after a gentleman he apparently admired by the name of Fridolf Gustaffson (I'm not sure on the exact spelling). Her tender was inevitably named GUS.

Mr. Stanfield continued to race her and further transitioned into the cruising scene. Poking around the internet (See http://thebajanet.com/bajahist.htm) reveals that he was one of the founding members of the Baja Net of ham radio yachtsmen in the latter half of the 1960s. He is also comes up as having been a member of the Cruising Club of America. After retiring from flying 747s for Pan Am, he logged countless miles under FRIDOLF's keel.

His brief obituary on the Pan Am retiree's website concludes with mentioning:
"His retirement allowed him to sail the blue waters of the Pacific single handed to Hawaii, and explore the coastal waters of Mexico, North America including Alaska on his beloved 38' yawl “Fridolf” with his loving family and friends."
http://clipperpioneers.com/obits-2012/

He finally sold FRIDOLF in 1987 to the owners from whom I purchased the boat last year, and who likewise have enjoyed cruising the old girl along the Pacific coast.

As I continue to plan projects, I've recently received copies of some of the Challenger plans from the museum collection at MIT.
I'm excited about joining your group and look forward to the chance to talk to other owners of similar Aldens to learn more about these boats and how to keep them going in the 21st Century!

Below are a couple of pictures of the boat, one of "Io" in the water during the survey trip and another enjoying the indoors last month.

Best Regards,

Adam
 

Attachments

CaravelaofExe

Alden Forum Moderator
Jan 24, 2006
221
Alden Caravelle 42 / Northern European waters
Many thanks for such a detailed Fridolf/ Iolaire story. I've updated her entry in the "Listing". Fair winds!