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New Challenge Steaming Ahead

Powered by an innovative new boiler from Byworth, the historically famous steam tugboat ‘Challenge’ is going better than ever and drawing plenty of admiration on its travels over UK waters.

Having first found fame as an important participant in the 1940 Dunkirk rescue missions, the tug had needed a new boiler following the severe corrosion of its original coal-fired ‘Scotch’ type, due to sea water ingress.

As part of a £1million heritage lottery fund restoration project, Byworth designed a bespoke replacement, state-of-the-art triple pass boiler, producing a maximum continuous rating of 6,800 kg/h and operating up to 13.8 bar/g.

It incorporates twin furnaces and digitally controlled pressure jet dual fuel burners, which utilise both low sulphur gas oil and low sulphur intermediate fuel, for optimum performance.

Despite being smaller in size than the previous boiler, the new system achieves impressive standards of efficiency, heat transfer and turbulence – reducing costs and preventing deposits, making cleaning a less frequent requirement.

Byworth’s Phil Carr highlighted the reason for the company’s selection to contribute to such an exciting and prestigious project:

‘Space in the boiler house of Challenge was extremely confined, so our challenge was to produce a boiler to fit this restricted space that would also be arranged in such a manner that tubes could be replaced by withdrawing through the very narrow passageway from engine to boiler room.’

‘Working on the new boiler was an extremely interesting and diverse project, demanding the expertise and skill of experienced engineers from both boiler and combustion design disciplines, fortunately areas in which we boast considerable experience.’

Following the completion of the renovation, Challenge has returned to fully operational service as an educational resource and public reminder of the thousands of similar vessels that were once seen throughout the ports and harbour of Britain.

It has already welcomed on board many interested visitors of all ages, including some parties to keen to learn more about the creators of the boiler that helped the Challenge set sail once more.

For further details on the restoration of the steam tug, please visit