Stavros S Niarchos won day one of racing in the world's only Tall Ships Match Race, yesterday in Portsmouth

Stavros S Niarchos won day one of racing in the world’s only Tall Ships Match Race, yesterday in Portsmouth. The event organized by the Tall Ships Youth Trust is a national charity dedicated to helping young people, aged 16-25, develop life skills through sailing Tall Ships

Yesterday, under the skilled leadership of Captain Bob Stephenson, Stavros S Niarchos took the lead over race favourite Prince William at the first mark. Her sistership was unable to recover the distance, and finished four and a half minutes behind, over a three hour long course. The ships sailed from Bembridge Ledge off the eastern coast of the Isle of Wight, to the Nab Tower just south of Portsmouth.

Captain Stephenson said: “Despite going in as the underdog, we have tremendous spirit onboard. Monday’s training went well and today everyone has worked really hard as a team to bring us out in front of Prince William early in the day and stay there.”

Captain Keating, onboard Prince William, sportingly commented: “Stavros gave us a brilliant race and I’m looking forward to beating her in the next race. Our crew did really well and I’m very proud of their efforts. It’s no mean feat trying to race these magnificent tall ships!”

Racing conditions were ideal with a south-westerly Force 4. Both ships utilised 14 of their square sails, and Stavros reached a top sailing speed of 8 knots. The winner of the Tall Ships Challenge Cup and the Harbour Entrance Award will be determined today, Wednesday, 2 November 2005, when racing continues.