THE Duchess of Cambridge arrived Portsmouth today to learn more about how a charity affiliated with Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team is making a difference.
She arrived wearing a nautical-themed outfit before being greeted by guests including Sir Ben and Portsmouth America’s Cup event director Sir Keith Mills.
Children from Portsmouth Sailing Project waited excitedly to welcome the Duchess.
Kate, a patron of the 1851 Trust, affiliated with Sir Ben’s cup team, is visiting to learn more about the organisations work with youngsters and toured the base’s new Tech Deck, containing simulators and information about the science and technology that goes into the race team’s boat, before she sat in on a digital classroom with students learning more about sailing and engineering.
The Duchess then unveiled a stunning painting of Sir Ben’s boat in Portsmouth Harbour which she helped to paint that had previously formed part of hoardings outside Land Rover BAR when it was being built.
Students from St Edmund’s Catholic School were the first to try out the new educational hubs at the base.
Mame Anta, 12, said: ‘It felt amazing to see her. I had never met her before. She was very friendly and very pretty.’
Ainhoa Lentils, 12, said: ‘It was amazing. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The education centre will help lots of people learn more about science.’
The Duchess was on familiar ground as it will be the third occasion in just more than a year that she has been in the city.
She visited twice last year, once to Sir Ben Ainslie’s race base at Old Portsmouth in February and then returned to watch the America’s Cup World Series in July.
Kate will launch the 1851 Trust’s two flagship sailing projects for 2016, in partnership with UKSA and the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, aimed at getting young people from diverse backgrounds into the sport.
She will also meet people involved in the project, and see the boats that will be used for the sailing activity, before officially opening the new ‘Tech Deck’ education Centre at the heart of Sir Ben’s base.
The Tech Deck will allow visitors to experience the design, construction and on-going operation of the team’s America’s Cup boats first-hand.
Kate will also see the various exhibits including the team’s T2 boat and meet the designers, and join some year seven students from a local school who are taking part in a digital workshop activity.