THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have revealed how fond they are of Portsmouth after they paid a visit to the city.
William and Kate joined thousands of spectators to cheer on Sir Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team as they won the America’s Cup World Series yesterday.
The royal couple began the day by visiting the home crew’s base in Old Portsmouth, where they were shown the team’s state-of-the-art testing boats.
They were met by a group of youngsters who had been out with the team ahead of the racing through the 1851 Trust, the Land Rover BAR-affiliated charity of which Kate is the royal patron.
The Duke and Duchess were then given a tour of the boat shed in the headquarter,s where they saw the team’s test boats before boarding a small boat to go out to watch the six teams taking part in the second and final day of the racing.
Sir Ben was not present for the tour as he was on the water preparing for the day’s racing.
The Olympic legend’s team won races two and three on Saturday, having started day one of the competition in fifth place leaving them in joint first place with Groupama Team France.
The teams are competing for points to take forward to the finals being held in Bermuda 2017 and Sir Ben is hoping to be the first British squad to win the prestigious event in its 165-year history.
Oracle Team USA are the defending champions.
William and Kate perched on the front of a high-speed twin engine catamaran travelling at speeds in excess of 40 knots as they watched Sir Ben’s team race to victory.
William and Kate both said that they loved Portsmouth and that it was a pleasure to be hereDavid Fuller, Portsmouth Lord Mayor
The couple, wearing Land Rover BAR shirts, chased after the racing catamarans during the three races of the afternoon.
At the end of the final race, the couple’s boat, bearing the royal standard, sailed alongside Sir Ben’s catamaran as the team and their support vessel cheered and began their celebrations.
William congratulated the squad by applauding them as they sailed past.
Later, the couple were given a tour of the packed out Race Village in front of hundreds of cheering fans.
The royal duo, led by Sir Ben, spoke to representatives of all the six teams to have taken part in the sporting contest and congratulated them all for their efforts.
Crowds erupted with applause when Kate and William met the crew of Land Rover BAR and all their support team.
Tim Carter, 24, of Land Rover BAR, spoke to both Kate and William and was delighted by their support of his team.
He said: ‘To have their support is just massive. It’s helping us to get the whole country behind us.
‘That’s exactly what we need to bring the cup home. Today has been the pinnacle of the competition.
‘This has been a real high for us. It’s been an amazing weekend.
‘There’s only one thing left for us to do now – bring the cup home.’
Glenn Ashby, skipper of the fourth-placed Emirates Team New Zealand, was thrilled to speak to the Duke and Duchess.
He added that sailing fan Kate had been explaining all the racing terms to her husband.
‘She really knew what she was talking about,’ said Glenn.
He added: ‘It was great to meet them and have their support and it’s just been an awesome weekend of racing.’
Portsmouth Lord Mayor David Fuller had the honour of meeting the Duke and Duchess as they arrived at Land Rover BAR.
He said the royal couple were ‘extraordinary’ and ‘down to earth’.
‘It was absolutely brilliant,’ he added.
‘William’s first words to me were: “How is it going?”. I really didn’t expect him to say that.
‘He was just so relaxed and down to earth.
‘William and Kate both said that they loved Portsmouth and that it was a pleasure to be here.
‘They both said to me how great the city was.
‘They were just happy that the weather was better this year.’
The nation’s future king admitted to the mayor that he had wanted to join in the racing yesterday and was disappointed not to be involved.
Cllr Fuller said the whole weekend had been a massive boost for the city, with ‘hotels booked up from Portsmouth to Guildford’.
He added: ‘Having the royals here has been absolutely fantastic.
‘They were very, very relaxed and genuinely wanted to be in Portsmouth.
‘For me it was a great honour to meet them both and it is something I won’t ever forget.’
On Friday the city was visited by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip was given a tour of Land Rover BAR’s HQ before watching practice racing on a boat in the Solent.