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Plain sailing for Kate as she 'bosses it' at the wheel of tall ship

Published 02/10/2016

The Duchess of Cambridge steers the tall ship, Pacific Grace, at Victoria Inner Harbour
The Duchess of Cambridge steers the tall ship, Pacific Grace, at Victoria Inner Harbour

The Duchess of Cambridge showed off her sailing credentials when she took the wheel of a tall ship and helped steer her in to harbour.

Kate looked at ease when she took charge of Pacific Grace, a wooden-hulled gaff-rigged schooner, operated by a Canadian charity that uses the experience of sailing to help develop life skills in young people.

She had offered the wheel to William but when he said "ladies first" the Duchess took control and "bossed it", the captain said.

The Duchess' sailing credentials are well known, not only has she crewed on a Round the World Challenge boat during her gap year but has publicly been supporting the nation's America's Cup bid led by Sir Ben Ainslie.

She is also Royal Patron of the 1851 Trust, a charity dedicated to inspiring a new generation to enter sailing and the marine industry.

The royal couple boarded the ship, run by Sail and Life Training Society (Salts), in Victoria harbour and the pair helped out with hauling the rigging joining a group of young people.

They all chanted to keep time pulling together, and a massive cheer went up when the sails were fully hoisted.

The young people were from - a national network of youths who are working to end stigma around mental health for their generation.

At one point William and Kate, who wore a khaki Troy jacket, joked about the bushy beard of bosun Steve Atkinson.

The facial grown left the Duke laughing and he said: "That is the most amazing specimen I have ever seen.

"Seriously that is incredible, it must have taken you ages but you must be very proud. I'm very jealous."

His brother Prince Harry has a beard and during his time in the Royal Navy the Prince of Wales also grew a beard.

Moments earlier Kate had met Steve and said: "Wow, whiskers."

After they had docked in Victoria, capital of British Columbia, Tony Anderson, 52, from Victoria, captain of the Pacific Grace said: "She said early on her gap year she enjoyed sailing on a UK boat. We talked about the similarities between that programme and the Salts programme.

"We asked her to take the wheel as we came into harbour. She told William to take it but he said 'ladies first'.

"We said she could hand over to William but she didn't want to hand it over. She was bossing it."

"They were right in there hoisting everything, hauling the sails. We'd heard they were both good sailors. They were both awesome. They loved Steve's beard. Maybe Will will grow one too."

Mr Atkinson, 25, from Victoria said: "The Duke said my beard was the most magnificent specimen he'd ever seen."

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