Princess Anne to fly into Hayling to see future sailing stars

Princess Anne is to visit Hayling
Princess Anne is to visit Hayling
Picture: Isle of Wight Radio/PA Wire

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PRINCESS Anne will visit Hayling Island tomorrow to watch the country’s young sailing stars battle for glory.

The Princess Royal will arrive by helicopter in Mengham Park just before 3pm before being driven to Hayling Island Sailing Club at Sandy Point.

She is then set to venture out on the water to watch the fast-paced action of the 2011 Royal Yachting Association Youth Nationals, a competition that started yesterday.

More than 300 of the country’s finest young sailors are battling it out on four courses in Hayling Bay for a chance to be selected for the world championships.

During the visit Princess Anne, who is RYA president, will meet dignitaries, including the Mayor of Havant, Yvonne Weeks.

The Princess last visited the island in 2003 to open the stylish new clubhouse at Sandy Point.

Sailing Club Commodore Mark Wood said: ‘It’s a great honour. She knows the club from when it was all new.

‘Hopefully she will see it a bit bedded-in now.

‘She’s a keen follower of the sailing.

‘I think it’s great. It’s not often that the Royal Family comes down to the south coast.

‘To get to Hayling Island is great.

‘We are all very excited. It’s quite nice for us because it’s our 90th anniversary this year.’

The event, which comes to Hayling every four years and concludes on Friday, sees more than 240 vessels on the water.

There are 50 rescue boats and more than 150 volunteers are needed to run the event.

Commodore Wood added: ‘It’s quite a spectacle.

‘It’s a nice thing to see from Hayling seafront.’

It is not believed Princess Anne will be greeting the general public on her visit, but people may be able to catch a glimpse of her.

Paul Fisher, chairman of Hayling Island Residents’ Association, said: ‘She has been to the island a number of times in the past.

‘Prince Andrew also used to visit the island before his married years.

‘We would like to welcome Princess Anne to the island and we hope she enjoys her stay.’