The royal mom is back in Portsmouth for sailing fun

By Simon Perry
May 20, 2016 07:30 AM
Mark Cuthbert/Getty

Princess Kate is setting sail once again.

The royal mom returned to Portsmouth on the southern coast of England Friday in support of the 1851 Trust, a charity that uses sailing and the marine industry to inspire young people in sports, education and technology.

Kate is launching the Trust’s two flagship sailing projects for 2016 and officially open the new “Tech Deck” Education Center to showcase the sport. She is also joining local students who are taking part in a digital workshop.

Her outfit kept with the nautical theme of the event; the mother-of-two wore an Alexander McQueen cream blouse with naval uniform-style detailing and a dark navy blue skirt.

She later changed into a waterproof suit to join Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie for a sail on a test yacht in the blustery Solent waterway. The keen royal sailor was all smiles as she put on her protective helmet before they set off.

“She’s certainly keen to get [Prince George and Princess Charlotte] sailing at some time in the future,” Ainslie told PEOPLE. “It would be great to see them sailing. It’s always encouraging to see the next generation to come through.”

Princess Kate in Portsmouth, England
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As for Kate’s skills on the water, Ainslie said, “We were all really impressed, she’s clearly done a fair amount of sailing before. She had a feel for the boat. It’s a really high-powered racing machine and to be able to steer one of those at close to 40 mph for even a skilled sailor is a real challenge and she did a great job. We had a wonderful sail.”

Kate also met schoolchildren who are set to try out sailing this summer with Go Sail, a program run by the U.K. Sailing Academy.

Ashlyn Collins, 15, told PEOPLE, “She asked us if we had ever been sailing, whether we were going to be sailing, she asked us if we enjoy sport and are we looking forward to it.

Princess Kate
Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

“It was so amazing. You see her on TV, you kind of don t think of her as a real person and then to meet her was amazing.

“She said she enjoyed sailing and we should definitely have a go.”

Chris Frisby, head of operations at U.K. Sailing Academy, said of Kate, “The kids definitely look up to her. She would rather speak to the kids than the adults. It’s great for them to meet her and hear about her sailing and she’s done and where she’s sailed before.”

After the birth of Princess Charlotte, Portsmouth was Kate’s first public outing last July, when she visited with Prince William in support of the America’s Cup British yacht team.

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Kate is a keen sailor, and she and William used to enjoy the sport in Anglesey, north Wales, when they lived there in the first three years of their married life.

She showed off her skills when she beat William in sailing races on the water in Auckland, New Zealand, during their tour of the country in April 2014.

The famously competitive pair also competed during a dragon boat race across a lake in Canada during their first royal tour during the summer of 2011.

The Portsmouth visit follows Monday’s launch of Heads Together, the new mental-health initiative spearheaded by Kate, Prince William and Prince Harry.

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