The Duchess of Cambridge had a day in Portsmouth on Thursday as she paid a visit to Ben Ainslie Racing and the 1851 Trust. The Duchess has just returned from a two week family holiday on the Caribbean island of Mustique.
The purpose of Kate’s visit to Portsmouth was to help Sir Ben Ainslie promote his attempts to get more young people in to the sailing and marine industry. Ben Ainslie Racing is hoping to win the Americas Cup for Britain for the first time and the 1851 Trust is there to inspire under 25’s to take to the sea and eventually compete for trophy’s such as the Americas Cup.
Part of Kate’s visit on Thursday saw her attend a reception at the port’s Spinnaker Tower, where she got the chance to meet people involved with Ben Ainslie Racing as well as view exhibits that are destined for a new visitor centre being built by the Trust. The visitor centre is expected to open in July.
The highlight of the day for The Duchess of Cambridge must have been the invitation to contribute to a mural painted by local people at the headquarters of Sir Ben Ainslie. It was an invitation that The Duchess didn’t decline and quickly got to work on her contribution to the mural, which depicts the water and skyline from Portsmouth to Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Kate painted in five crew members on a picture of a racing yacht though when asked to sign the mural, she politely declined.
Art teacher, James Waterfield, from Havant stood alongside Kate as she created her own piece of artwork, “I was so worried about getting paint on her fantastic white coat. She told me she was painting yesterday with baby George and she should have brought him down because he loves doing all of this.”
Aside from the painting, The Duchess of Cambridge also found time to have a chat with some of the construction workers who are working on Sir Ben’s new visitor centre. The workers were allowed to down tools for a while and even presented Kate with some gifts, high visibility vests for her saying The Boss and even one for Prince George saying The Future Boss.
Sir Ben Ainslie is the most successful sailor in Olympic history winning medals at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1996 to 2012. The last four of those games, Sir Ben has won gold and with himself at the helm of a British team, he hopes to end the longest losing streak in sport. Sir Ben commented on Kate’s visit to Portsmouth, “She’s very interested in everything. She was really interested in how we are designing the boats and in the most secretive parts of that. There are a lot of very smart people working very hard on that.”
The Duchess rounded off her visit with an impromptu walkabout where she spoke to many well-wishers including Rosemarie Thomas and her pet Beagle Beagy. Rosemarie had only positive things to say about her quick chat with Kate, “She said how lovely my dog was and asked her name. She’s clearly a dog lover. Its fantastic, very exciting,”
Ben Ainslie Racing was formed in December 2013 for the purpose of enabling British team to compete in the next America’s Cup.
The Duchess of Cambridge is Royal Patron of the 1851 Trust and last year Kate launched the America’s Cup Challenge at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.