UK & World News

  • 10 June 2014, 17:08

America's Cup: Kate Helps Sir Ben Launch UK Bid

The Duchess of Cambridge has joined Sir Ben Ainslie as he launched Britain's bid to win the America's Cup.

Kate could not conceal her passion for sailing as she eyed the trophy admiringly during the launch this lunchtime.

Sir Ben, a four-time Olympic gold medal winner, will skipper the team that aims to win the historic trophy - something a British team has never done.

Kate, who wore a Jaeger dress, has been a keen sailor since childhood and even raced and comprehensively beat Prince William in Auckland earlier this year.

Their yachts were used by New Zealand in the America's Cup.

The Duchess's support for the team will be a long-term commitment and will see her "getting out there" to back the challenge, said a Kensington Palace spokeswoman.

Sir Ben was famously employed as a tactician during the last America's Cup race, helping the US Oracle team overturn an 8-1 deficit to beat New Zealand.

The sportsman†said he had a burning desire since he was a child to be part of a British America's Cup bid.

He told Sky News: "The budget for the team is around†£80m and that's what we need to have a chance to be successful - to get the right talent, the right designers and to build the boats.

"A proportion of that is through private investors, about 40%, and the other 60% we need to raise commercially.

"We are just starting to go out into the market after launching a team and our initial conversations are really encouraging and we expect to get there."

The Olympic sailor added: "We want to bring it home, it would be an amazing thing for this country."

He will skipper the team that aims to triumph in the 35th America's Cup being staged in 2017, with the entry made through the Royal Yacht Squadron.

The club hosted the first race which took place off the Isle of Wight in the mid-19th century.