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Kate and William's sea racing hopes are blown off course

By PA Reporters

Published 27/07/2015

Ahoy there: the Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the Royal Navy Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth, yesterday
Ahoy there: the Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the Royal Navy Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth, yesterday
The Duchess of Cambridge with Sir Ben Ainslie on a simulator while visiting the home of Ben Aninslie Racing at the British team headquarters in Portsmouth

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's hopes of watching Sir Ben Ainslie's crew clinch another America's Cup World Series race win have been dashed by the weather.

Dangerously high winds and torrential rain meant two yacht races between six international teams in the Solent, Hants, had to be cancelled.

But Kate made up for the disappointment by donning a pair of virtual reality simulator goggles when she toured the base of Sir Ben's team BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) in Portsmouth.

The simulator did not move but gave Kate the sensation she was on the heaving deck of a boat in a race, and after the experience she said it felt "weird".

The royal couple had planned a day watching the yachts race, from land and at sea, and touring a festival staged for the four-day competition, but they had to scrap part of their itinerary and reschedule or scale down other events.

The Duchess, who spent part of her gap year in 2001 as a crew member on the Round the World Challenge boats in the Solent, joined Sir Ben last June when he formally launched Britain's bid to win the America's Cup for the first time.

Sir Ben, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, hoped to skipper his team on the second day of the opening leg of the World Series but after marking preparations he had to give up when the racing was called off. He said: "The English summer, you just can't count on it."

The America's Cup is international sport's oldest trophy, first staged in 1851 off the Isle of Wight, but it has not returned to British waters following that inaugural defeat.

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