The forty-four foot sailboat NIKE II (named after the Greek goddess of victory NIKE long before I laid my eyes on a pair of sneakers of the same name) was originally designed for OSTAR 1980 - a solo transatlantic race. She was build in Poland in 1979 - using that time's high technology (including Airex and Kevlar).
After winning fourth place in OSTAR 1980, she was extensively rebuild in preparation for the first BOC Challenge 1982/83. She became a different boat with a different name - NIKE III.
She finished third in the BOC Challenge 1982/83, winning two legs. Despite her short waterline and heavy displacement, she was the first small monohull ever to exceed 200 miles per day over a period of one week. She made several world records (on one day run, one week run, two weeks' run, 2,000 miles, and 4,000 mile run during a circumnavigation). She is the only boat to run in both of the first two BOC Challenge Races.
After finishing the first BOC Challenge, she was rebuilt again and renamed Declaration of Independence to honor the most important document in American history, and to express her skipper's, Richard Konkolski's, "Independence" after defecting from Czechoslovakia in 1982 for the start in the first BOC.
During the Second BOC Challenge 1986/87 she was the smallest boat on the waterline and second heaviest in whole fleet, including the big sixty footer class. She was the only boat to take the most difficult route for any sailing ship, around all of the five southernmost capes: Cape Horn, Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuvin, South East Cape, South West Cape.
She completed the BOC Challenge 1986/87 in 172 days, 6 hours, 41 minutes, and 3 seconds with average speed of 7.2 knots. Remarkable speed for boat with only 36 foot long waterline.
She achieved much better average speed during the whole circumnavigation, than Sir Francis Chichester made on his 13 feet longer Gypsy Moth V during his attempt to break the 4,000 miles distance record in 1970.
Sir Chichester was able to choose the most suitable route and the best time of the year for his attempt. He planed to average 200 miles a day, but by the end he ended with 171.46 miles a day. On the other hand, the Declaration of Independence achieved an average speed of 204.72 miles a day over distance of 4,000 miles during a solo round the world race.
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