Duchess Of Cambridge In Portsmouth Visit

12 February 2015, 08:07

The Duchess of Cambridge is visiting Portsmouth today.

Kate will arrive at lunchtime and visit the new sailing hub being built on The Camber in Old Portsmouth by Sir Ben Ainslie, for his British team's bid to win the America's Cup.

As Royal Patron of the 1851 Trust, a charity dedicated to inspiring a new generation to enter sailing and the marine industry, Kate will meet the four-time Olympic gold medallist and see how work on the new centre is progressing.

She will view an art project at the construction site created by local street artists James Waterfield and My Dog Sighs along with six local schools. The mural depicts the skyline from Portsmouth to Ryde, Isle of Wight, with the Solent waters filled with images from maritime history.

Kate is expected to add her own artistic touch to the display.

The headquarters of Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), which was granted £7.5 million of Government funding, will initially employ 90 people and act as a focal point for the design, construction and development of the team's boats for the America's Cup as well as provide a visitor centre showcasing the sport.

It is hoped that Sir Ben will develop a team and boat capable of winning the prestigious trophy, something Britain has so far never achieved.

Portsmouth is also to be the home for two preparation events for the 35th America's Cup yacht race with the world series events taking place in the Solent in July this year and next which are expected to bring up to #60 million to the local economy.

The base will also act as a visitor centre for the 1851 Trust which works with young people under 25 years old, from diverse backgrounds. Its name derives from the year when the first America's Cup race - known then as the One Hundred Pound Cup - took place around the Isle of Wight, witnessed by Queen Victoria.

Kate, accompanied by Sir Ben, will then visit the nearby 170-metre high Spinnaker Tower, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. She will meet community leaders and students and teachers from Southampton City College, who are building two specialist docking rib boats which will be used to hellp the America's Cup boats to dock in Portsmouth.

She will also see a display of activities and exhibits in the tower's viewing platform, destined for display in the 1851 Trust Visitor Centre. These include a demonstration of advanced technology underpinning the BAR bid, including sailing simulators, power grinders used for training and 3D printing technology.

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