The Nile Challenge brought together historians, wargamers, Nelson Society and 1805 Club members and a direct descendant of  one of Nelson's captains for a unique public event.

Sailing and fighting a ship of the line was a complex matter, but it was essential to allow the captains to concentrate on the conduct of their ships and not worry about detailed mechanics of the system's rules.

Taking the role of Captain Foley in the lead ship Goliath, Nelson historian  Colin White checks his sources.

Luckily, a captain of Nelson's day did not run his ship unaided. Members of the Inshore Squadron acted as first lieutenants, taking the general orders (increase/reduce sail, turn to port/starboard, fire cannons, drop/weigh anchor etc) issued by each captain and then quickly transferring them into the computer system.

Squadron members also took the part of the French gunners, firing on the ships of Nelson's fleet as it approached. Two linked computers were used, one for each side, and the movements were shown to the public on computer screens and with overhead projections.

Click on the boxes below to download the briefing packs issued to each captain before the refight

The Squadron's Malcolm Smalley (l) and Tony Gray (r)  manoeuvre the British ships round the head of the line.