Brig Match Race 2004 – Prince William -v- Stavros S Niarchos

Prince William and Stavros S Niarchos moored in Portsmouth

Prince William (nearest vessel) and Stavros S Niarchos moored in Plymouth before the Brig Match races in 2004

In 2004 I took part in a race between two tall ships – the Prince William and Stavros S Niarchos. It was this race that set my dream in motion – to take part in The Tall Ships Races, racing against many other sailing vessels. 

As life takes over, sometimes our dreams get pushed aside. Although I have yearned for the opportunity, life has moved on – day by day, year by year.  Sometimes though you have to make a grab for your dream and make it happen, no matter what, and this is what we have done. This summer I embark on the adventure of a lifetime with my husband on board Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Lord Nelson.  It is hard to believe that this adventure innocently started out 11 years ago by taking part in the Brig Match Race in Portsmouth.  For a start where have those 11 years gone and secondly I never imagined my dream would come true especially with my husband crewing alongside me.  After all he hated sailing boats up to about 6 years ago!

The year I took part in the Brig Match Race, Prince William won the challenge cup. To be a part of a team of strangers who come together to do something such as tall ship racing is something very special indeed and I feel blessed that I am getting the opportunity to have another go and on a much larger scale.

Here is a write up about the race in 2004 taken from


Isle of Wight, England: The Tall Ship Prince William claimed the Tall Ships Challenge Cup in the second ever Brig Match Race on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 November. Prince William won with a combined lead time of just 50 secs over 2 very close races off Sandown Bay off the Isle of Wight.

The ships are evenly matched so the racing was all down to team work and the crew. Manoeuvring a tall ship quickly requires a lot of people to do the right things at the right time and both crews managed it. Stavros managed two fantastic starts and led for most of the races. But Prince William just managed to get their bow sprit over the line first by gaining on them in the home straits.

Both brigs pulled off some great manoeuvres that were contenders for the Tall Ships Tactical Award. Round the marks, Stavros’ crew slickly and efficiently braced the yards, definitely having the edge on PW. However, some interesting manoeuvres on the start line – such as trying not to cross the line early by throwing the engines full in to reverse, whilst under full sail, nearly taking out the committee boat, whilst also trying to scupper the oppositions start to windward – created some interesting moments for Stavros.

The races consisted of two 2-hour races covering a course of about 12 miles. The weather conditions were great, F3-4 SE and E winds, a bit cloudy but no rain.

Brig match race - photo of Stavros S Niarchos from Prince William

…and the race is on – Stavros S Niarchos taken from Prince William


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