Captain Kate rules the waves: Duchess of Cambridge is crowned queen of the ocean after beating William in yacht race
The Duchess of Cambridge ruled the waves today after she thrashed her husband in a yacht race around Auckland Harbour.
Standing at the wheel of an 80ft America’s Cup sailing vessel, Kate even gave William a cheeky victory salute as she sailed past him back to harbour.
The couple were in Auckland to visit the home of New Zealand’s America’s Cup team.
Once they reached open water, the Duke and Duchess were invited to take the helm of their two yachts, and race around a series of buoys.
The Duchess, wearing a white Breton-style striped top by Me and Em, skinny navy jeans, deck shoes and a baseball cap, with her hair in a ponytail, was out for revenge after the Duke beat her in a dragon boat race the last time they competed on the water, in Canada in 2011.
Earlier the couple had laughed and joked as they boarded another luxury boat, Imagine, where they changed out of their civvies into sailing gear.
As they set off on their respective yachts the Duchess patted William on the back and said: 'Take care!'
'Yeah, see you later,' he replied.
Grant Dalton, the managing director of Emirates Team New Zealand, had already predicted the couple would give each other 'no quarter'.
And Dean Barker, the skipper of Team New Zealand who was on the team when his country successfully defended the Americas Cup in 2000, had previously met the Duke when he took him sailing in Auckland in 2010.
'At the time Prince William said Kate would be very envious of the fact that he had been sailing, because she was a very keen sailor in her early days,' he said.
'He was really into it, really quite focused on things. He did not mind lending a hand getting the sails up. He was not afraid to get his hands dirty.'
He said that outings such as this seemed to provide the Duke with a welcome break from the other engagements on a royal tour.
'It seems like it was an opportunity to catch his breath, ' he said.
'With all the formal parts of the tour, the functions and the different appearances, it must be nice to do a few of the fun things like going for a sail. It's good to see that they are human and like to do all the things that we all like to do.'
Grant Dalton said the request to go sailing came from the Palace. 'As far as my understanding goes, they wanted to do it.
'There are no friends on the water, though. No quarter given. I'm sure that Prince William would not want to be beaten by his wife.'
The Duke was in NZL 41, which previously raced under the Japanese flag in the Louis Vuitton series.
The Duchess was in NZL 68, a former training boat for Team New Zealand.
The couple arrived in Auckland amid squally showers, with a crowd of thousands lining the road to the harbour.
During a walkabout Hayley Heartbreak, 30, an illustrator, presented the couple with a poster she had made showing the Duke and Duchess with George on a beach.
She said: "Kate said, 'Oh little George - you've got his likeness!' And William asked for a copy - they were really happy with it.
'I thought it would be nice to give them this, because it is a typical Kiwi thing - a day on the beach, making sandcastles, enjoying the sunshine. Unlike today.'
After returning to land, the Duke and Duchess boarded another type of boat entirely - this time a Sealegs amphibious craft.
As the name suggests, the Sealegs is a boat that can be driven seamlessly from dry land into the water that is now being marketed around the world.
It took the royal party to Westpark Marina, where they were transported back to their jet and home to Prince George.
It was dress down Friday for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they arrived in Auckland for a day of engagements Friday morning.
The couple began by visiting families at the largest RNZAF base in New Zealand at Whenuapai, home to more than a thousand serving airmen and women.
The meeting was a chance for the couple to greet staff and their families and thank them for their service. Many have recently served on operations overseas.
Prince William joked today how he and wife Kate were regularly being offered potential partners for little Prince George.
New parents who met him at an air force base introduced him to their daughter Emily, who was born on July 31 - just nine days after George.
'We mentioned how well-paired she and George would be in the future,' says mum Karen, 40.
William replied, "There have been a few babies touted to us!" Karen adds, 'He could see the funny side.'
She and husband, aircraft technician Jason, 41, were among 200 RNZAF servicemen and women and families meeting the royal couple in a hanger at an air base just outside Auckland on Friday. "We were talking about their similar ages of the babies and he said how much fun they were,' Karen, a paramedic adds. "He was very personable."
Emily spat out her dummy just as William approached and he gallantly stooped to pick it up. 'He said he was well-practiced at baby duties,' Karen adds.
And William reassured another young couple with a five month old baby that things get easier with the passing months. Beej (corr) Williams, a sgt aircraft technician was with his wife Leanne Williams, 36, who cradled five month old daughter Haley Beej says, 'William mentioned that at around five months George started sleeping mostly through the night and it was easier from that point. He was saying you have good times ahead.'
Kate, in Me & Em breton-style top and navy Zara jacket and navy skinny jeans, worked one side of an aircraft hanger, while William worked the other.
The couple arrived from Wellington on the same RNZAF Boeing 757 that they'd been flown into the country on Monday.
Kate asked some of the young parents how it was being a mother and whether they had taken maternity leave. She was given was lollipop sweets which she shook playfully in front of one baby and sympathised over the parent-baby life balance.
Melissa Tilbury, 28, who held baby five month old Madeleine said, 'She said when George was much younger William was away a lot in the beginning -- but that you get by.'
Madeleine had been getting sleepy and Kate had some flowers to entertain her. 'She was really good with Madeleine,' Melissa -- who's married to the base's accountant Jono Tilbuy, 30. 'She spoke to us about the balance, about having the time as a couple and with the baby.'
Flight lieutenant Andy Armstrong praised the couple for coming to the base. William only left the RAF, where he was a search and rescue helicopter pilot, last year. 'It's an honour to have them here and for them to meet our vets yesterday. It's poignant for all of us New Zealanders.'
On Saturday William will visit Pacific Aerospace, while Kate will visit Rainbow Place Children’s Hospice.
The Royal couple will fittingly open the Cambridge velodrome in Hamilton and visit Cambridge War Memorial.