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William and Kate visit Portsmouth as America’s Cup World Series is abandoned

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Portsmouth on Sunday to watch the second day of racing at the America’s Cup World Series, though were left disappointed after the event was abandoned due to extreme weather. Plans for William and Kate were hastily changed and the royal couple eventually made the most of their day on the South Coast.

An official statement from the organisers of the event in Portsmouth was released, “After discussions with the America’s Cup organising committee, due to extreme weather we had to take the difficult decision to cancel today’s racing and Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event programme, and the site has been closed for the day. We had hoped to go ahead with early racing, but with winds gusting in excess of 30mph we could not risk the safety of the crews and public, and their welfare is paramount.”

William and Kate were hoping to watch Olympic champion, Sir Ben Ainslie, in his bid to be the first British challenger to win the trophy, their hopes were ultimately dashed. Also on the agenda was a planned tour of the site of the event though because of the waterlogged ground, this too was cancelled.

Prince William and Catherine were also in Portsmouth in support of the 1851 Trust, of which The Duchess of Cambridge is Patron. The 1851 Trust aims to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and also through the marine industry, providing youngsters with the education, skills and training to become stewards of the marine environment.

Sir Ben Ainslie spoke after the event was abandoned, “The English summer, you just cant count on it. Yesterday was the most amazing day of my sailing career. There was so many people out, everyone had a fantastic time. Today was a shame, but we will get that sorted out and book the weather in for next year.”

It wasn’t a complete washout for William and Kate however as after plans were hastily changed, their day took a turn for the better. The royal couple took a tour of the Ben Ainslie Racing base where they viewed the operations room, the state of the art gym and the sailing simulator, which the Duchess was quite eager to try out and did, with the help of Sir Ben Ainslie himself.

In the main hall of the centre, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with BAR staff members and their families who presented the couple with official BAR tops for Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The first America’s Cup took place off the Isle of Wight in 1851 though a British team has never won the prestigious trophy. The four day series of events kicked off on Thursday with a sailing parade.

Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Donna Jones, spoke of the disappointing day for the Duke and Duchess, “While this has been a tough difficult announcement for the organisers, who don’t want to let anyone down, it was the right choice given the circumstances.”

Prior to their departure from BAR, William and Kate were presented with wooden models of the aircraft carriers HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth, which due to come in to service.

Due to the abandonment of Sunday’s event, Sir Ben Ainslie and his Land Rover BAR racing team secured the overall victory across the weekend.

Photo Credit: Stephen Harper

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