Thousands of people turned out in Auckland today to catch a glimpse of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the fifth day of their royal tour. The couple first visited the Royal New Zealand Air Force base in Whenupai, and later competed against each other in a series of yacht races.
In the morning, The Duke and Duchess heard firsthand about the developments and details of the search operation looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after meeting a member of the crew involved. The Duchess was particularly interested about the search operation according to Flight Lieutenant Andrew Fisher. “She was interested in how we found it. It was intense flying; we flew around 110 hours in three weeks,” he said.
They spent around half an hour with the families of around 100 Air Force personnel before heading to Auckland’s Viaduct Basin to go sailing. The Duchess, in a blue striped t-shirt, blue jeans and a blazer, looked ready and in a competitive spirit for the race planned on the harbour.
At the harbourside, there were thousands of people trying to get a glimpse of the royals in Auckland. Some were proudly wearing Union Jack coloured clothing and William and Kate masks.
One of the members of the public who got to talk to The Duchess was Aimee Trist. She had been waiting on the harbour to see them since 6:30am. She shook hands with Catherine, and said it was certainly worth the wait. Ms Trist joked, “I am going home now to watch the Royal Wedding”.
Ms Trist wasn’t the earliest person to arrive at the harbour however. Some people arrived as early as 3am to make sure they got the best view of the action.
After meeting the crowds, the couple got on board separate yachts ready to race each other in the harbour. The Duchess follows race sailing keenly, and is a huge admirer of New Zealand’s sailing achievements. Both her and William are extremely competitive, and did not want to finish last.
Catherine raced with Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker and Prince William competed with team manager Grant Dalton. Both Royals spent most of their time at the helm, but Catherine’s yacht came out on top, winning the race two nil.
Back on dry land, The Duchess patted her husband’s back saying “I am sorry”, showing she is a gracious winner.
Finally, the royals headed up to West Park Marina on the amphibious Sealegs craft. As the name suggests, the New Zealand invention ‘Sealegs’ is a boat that can travel from land straight into water.
Again, Catherine took the helm for a lot of the journey. They then disembarked and shook hands with people at the marina who had been waiting for them.
Photo Credit: Government House, New Zealand