Duchess of Cambridge becomes sailing charity patron

The Duchess of Cambridge racing yachts in New Zealand Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Duchess of Cambridge raced yachts on a tour of New Zealand

The Duchess of Cambridge has become the royal patron of a new sailing charity connected to Britain's bid to win the sport's America's Cup in 2017.

The 1851 Trust will work with under-25s to encourage them to get involved in sailing and maritime industries.

The duchess, who is pregnant with her second child, said sailing was a "great way" for young people to develop their skills and confidence.

She is a keen sailor and helped launch Britain's America's Cup bid in June.

The duchess said: "I am delighted to be Royal Patron of The 1851 Trust. I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed sailing from a young age and I know it is a great way of providing young people with the opportunity to develop skills and confidence.

"It is a hugely exciting time for sailing as the British challenger bids to bring the America's Cup back to Britain. I am looking forward to being part of this journey and I hope that through the 1851 Trust we can engage and inspire a new generation into sailing along the way."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Duchess of Cambridge launched Britain's America's Cup bid with Sir Ben Ainslie

Kensington Palace said the patronage reflected the duchess's personal interests in sailing and in supporting children and young people to build their skills, confidence and aspirations.

Catherine launched Britain's America's Cup bid with Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie, who will captain the team for the 35th America's Cup. Sir Ben won the race with Oracle Team USA last year.

America's Cup

  • The oldest trophy in sport
  • First staged in 1851, off the Isle of Wight, and won by US yacht America
  • No British team has won it
  • Racing is boat-on-boat, called match-racing
  • Takes place every three to five years
  • The winner decides the rules and venue of the next event
  • Qualifiers take place to decide which team will take on the champions

The 1851 Trust is the charitable arm of the British challenger's bid to bring the America's Cup back to Britain.

The historic race first took place off the Isle of Wight in England in 1851 but a British team has never won it.

The duchess, who is suffering from acute morning sickness, has not been seen in public since news of her pregnancy was announced in early September.

She had hoped to be in Portsmouth for the launch of the 1851 Trust with Sir Ben but was unable to attend due to her condition.

Catherine pulled out of her first solo official overseas tour last month with Prince William taking her place in Malta instead.

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