Today, William and Catherine had a day planned in Portsmouth for the America’s Cup, but bad weather cancelled the race, for which they were to hand out the winning medals.
Six international sailing teams, including one from the U.K., were due compete in two races for the cup. Japan, Sweden, the USA, Britain, France and New Zealand teams were assembled at the Solent, and some of the teams and skippers got to chat with the Royal couple.
Known as the ‘Auld Mug’, the America’s Cup was first a prize given by Queen Victoria in 1851; she volunteered to present it to the winner of a sailing race around the Isle of Wight. It was renamed the America’s Cup after an American boat took the Garrard-made trophy. This year was the first time the race was planned for in British waters since the inaugural race of 1851.
Catherine, who spent time crewing around the world before studying at university, has a keen interest in sailing. She is Patron of the 1851 Trust, which aims to inspire and engage the next generation through sailing and the marine industry. It also hopes to bring the America’s cup back home.
— Emily Nash (@emynash) July 26, 2015
Sir Ben Ainslie and Ben Ainslie Racing works closely with the Trust, and has attended numerous engagements with the Duchess in the past.
The Duke and Duchess both enjoy sailing, and have raced publicly on their visits to America and New Zealand, William winning first time around, then Catherine beating him in Auckland.
The parents of George, 2, and Charlotte, 2 months, got to look around and see the performance analysis tools used by sailors. Kate had a go on the sailing simulator with Sir Ben Ainslie, and was then presented with Land Rover BAR tops for her children, similar to those that she and William wore – their names on the back.
The couple chatted with friends and family of the sailors, and one youngster, Freddie Wilson, aged two, stepped forward towards the Duchess and said “Hello Princess, my name is Freddie Wilson.” Catherine asked him how old he was and he replied he was three – when in fact he’s only two!
Mum Wendy Maxwell said: “She asked him how old he was and he said ‘I’m three’. When I said he is only two, she said, ‘George says that. He thinks that he’s older”. So Prince George thinks he’s older than he is!
The Duke and Duchess watched nervously as the BAR boat was retrieved from the water with a crane in the windy weather of Portsmouth.
The British team, Land Rover BAR won the first leg of the four-day event, and so have won overall, with the Kiwi team coming in second. William and Catherine, having changed into less athletic attire, eventually gave out the medals for the race alternately, with the Duchess handing Ben Ainslie and his team their gold medals and award.
Photos: Live Feed Land Rover BAR