YOUNG sailors have told of their delight at meeting the Princess Royal at a club’s centenary celebrations.
Emsworth Sailing Club welcomed Princess Anne, herself a keen sailor and patron of the Royal Yachting Association.
The club received the royal seal of approval with the royal commending them on having ‘so many accomplished sailors’.
Princess Anne said: ‘I am pleased to have the opportunity to visit Emsworth Sailing Club as part of their centenary celebrations.
‘This is an extremely popular area for sailing and it was wonderful to see so many young people out on the water.’
She took to the water to observe the club’s local youngsters showcase their repertoire of sailing skills.
Wilbur Palmer Ward, eight, has been learning to sail at Emsworth for the last year.
He said: ‘It was really exciting to meet Princess Anne.
‘She asked me if I like to capsize. I told her it’s fun in the summer as it cools you down but otherwise it can be really cold.’
Fellow member, Thia Williams, 10, said: ‘Princess Anne asked if I enjoy sailing and we joked about how squelchy the mud can be around your feet when you fall into shallow water.’
Joining the children on the water was 24-year-old British Olympic Sailing team member Jess Lavery.
Jess said: ‘I am from Emsworth and learnt to sail at the club. I was first taken on the water at the age of three.
‘My love of sailing stems from my time as part of the club – I’m still a member now. It’s a big part of the local community and welcomes people of all ages.
‘My grandfather is a member and I hope to one day bring children of my own to the club.’
Over the club’s 100 year history it has coached members to more than 30 national or world tiles including former commodore, Lord Louis Mountbatten, great uncle of the princess.
Henry Langford, 13, said: ‘I have been sailing boats as part of the club since I was really young – they have taught me all my sailing skills. I would like to follow in Jess’s footsteps and become a professional sailor.’
The club was established by Viscount Bury and Major Whitaker, on June 19, 1919.
They devised the idea while fighting in the trenches during the First World War. The visit of Princess Anne is just one of a number of events taking place to celebrate the birth of the club.
Chris Clode, chair of the centenary committee, said: ‘It was a great honour to welcome the princess who knew of her great uncle’s involvement and was keen to come. We have a host of events taking place including a regatta, water carnival and vintage tea party.’