Duchess earns respect of crew in Auckland

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Duchess earns respect of crew in Auckland

The Duchess of Cambridge may have been delightful to her crew, but she showed no mercy to her husband on the water when things got serious.


Given the chance to race America’s Cup yachts with a Team New Zealand crew, Kate used her considerable sailing experience to win her match race series 2-0 over William and earn her title as the queen of Waitemata Harbour.

Both had some serious America’s Cup experience in their crew, but Kate was firmly in command, crew member Francine McCabe says.

“She helmed the boat the whole time,” Ms McCabe told AAP.

“Dean Barker just talked in her ear, and she did what he asked her to do, but she was really in control, it was amazing.”

Ms McCabe, who was helping out with crew work, said the duchess made sure she spoke to all her crew before the race, but it was all business once they were on the water.

Kate could not hide her delight and was seen punching the air on both occasions her sleek yacht finished first.

Back on dry land, the duke joked “we were sabotaged” and when someone said the duchess was looking pleased he replied: “I bet she is. Selfless husband. I wanted a quiet night.”

The couple are said to have a competitive streak and the victories were revenge for the duchess, who lost to the duke in a dragon boat race in Canada in 2011.

Eric Haagh, 36, the skipper of the duke’s boat, conceded the duchess sailed well to win both the races, but said their yacht had developed problems with their sails.

“When we wiped out because of the problem with the sail, we were near to some rocks and William said, ‘That’ll be a good photo’.”

About 25 spectator craft were out on the water, kept at a safe distance by police boats.

Thousands gathered on the Viaduct Harbour to see the boats off, but most left soon after the race started.