William and Kate in Auckland to duke it out

07:53, Apr 11 2014
Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrives at Whenuapai Airbase to meet families.
Royal tour
Prince William meets with RNZAF staff and their families this morning.
Royal tour
Auckland mayor Len Brown waits for his chance to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they arrive at Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland.
Royal tour in Auckland
The crowd was building at Auckland's Viaduct this morning as people sought to get a look at Wills and Kate.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William talks with a girl about her broken arm as he meets family of RNZAF staff.
Royal tour in Auckland
The Duchess of Cambridge meets RNZAF families at Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland.
Royal tour in Auckland
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave Whenuapai Air Base on a mission - a yacht race on the Hauraki Gulf.
Prince Charles
Meanwhile, back in Britain, Wills' father Prince Charles was today hosting the Royal Society for Commonwealth High Commisioners at St James's Palace.
Royal tour in Auckland
A crowd of royal fans gathered at the exit of Whenuapai Air Base to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Royal tour in Auckland
People stake their claim kerbside outside Whenuapai Air Base.
Royal tour in Auckland
The royal couple head for Auckland's Viaduct Basin where they were due to race Team New Zealand yachts.
Royal tour in Auckland
Royal fans fly the flag outside Whenuapai Air Base.
Royal tour in Auckland
The royal motorcade leaves Whenuapai Air Base headed for central Auckland.
Royal tour of Auckland
Rain continued to fall on the royal tour this morning as the Duke and Duchess met with their Team New Zealand sailing crews.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William and wife Kate walk to a hangar at Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland after meeting mayor Len Brown and his wife Shan Inglis.
Royal tour in Auckland
There were Union Jacks galore in central Auckland as royal fans turned out to meet Wills and Kate.
Royal tour in Auckland
Crowds packed into Auckland's Wynyard Quarter to cheer on Wills and Kate as they arrived in a motorcade.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William accepts a gift from six-year-old Maia Hunt at Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland.
Royal tour in Auckland
The Imagine was a luxurious staging point for the royal race.
Royal tour in Auckland
Fans flocked to the waterfront to cheer on the royals.
Royal tour in Auckland
Not everyone's happy with the royal tour. This one protestor took to the skies to express his view.
Royal tour in Auckland
Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker and boss Grant Dalton meet William and Kate on the luxury yacht Imagine.
Royal tour in Auckland
Earlier in the day the Duchess of Cambridge was greeted at Auckland's Viaduct Basin by cheering fans.
Royal tour of Auckland
Dean Barker offers the Duchess of Cambridge some sailing tips.
Royal tour in Auckland
Royal fans take a breather from the mayhem on Auckland's waterfront as Prince William and Kate arrive.
Royal tour in Auckland
Kate's crew appeared relaxed before the royal race in Auckland.
Royal tour in Auckland
With a race to win it was all hands on deck aboard Kate's yacht.
Royal tour in Auckland
The Duchess of Cambridge kept her cool at the helm.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William was eager to win.
Royal tour in Auckland
The race was on.
Royal tour in Auckland
Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker gets that winning feeling as Kate steers his yacht to a win over husband Prince William.
Royal tour in Auckland
There was plenty of post-race banter between the boat crews with Dean Barker chuffed with the win and Kate hardly believing her luck.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William steers through some Waitemata Harbour chop.
Royal tour in Auckland
Kate celebrates her win over husband Prince William in their Team New Zealand yacht race on the Waitemata Harbour.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William reportedly claimed "sabotage" after losing 2-0 to Kate in the yacht race.
Royal tour in Auckland
After the race, Kate made an impromptu stop at Hobsonville Marina to meet some fans.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William also enjoyed meeting with royal fans at Hobsonville Marina.
Royal tour in Auckland
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received a mini-Sealegs amphibious craft as a gift for their son George.
Royal tour in Auckland
They then climbed aboard a full size one for a trip up to Auckland's West Harbour.

The Duchess of Cambridge has left her prince in her wake - taking the helm and whitewashing the duke on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour.

The royals were generous with those who waited for them in pouring rain at the Viaduct Basin before they set out, but they gave each other no quarter on the water this afternoon.

It was the duchess who came out on top in both races.

Catherine raced with Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker and Prince William with team manager Grant Dalton.

Upon their return to the Viaduct a clearly delighted Kate, who the was victor, only reluctantly left her boat after a long conversation with Barker.

In fact, her husband had to arrive to get her. He walked around to her boat, met her there, and they briefly held hands in celebration.


Unexpectedly, the couple only raced twice and then took a cruise past the Maritime Museum, startling the people who were there.

Earlier on the water, it was a spectacular demonstration of tacking and cornering with a good wind as they battled each other on rival America's Cup boats.

The rain stopped and the sun came out over the harbour for the racing.

A large contingent of boats followed, but police boats surrounded the yachts for protection.

William and Catherine were both in the thick of it, taking turns at the wheel.

Earlier, when Catherine heard she would be sailing with Barker, she grinned and gave a double-fist pump.


After the race, the couple boarded a Sealegs, an amphibious boat, for a trip up to Westpark Marina in Hobsonville.

Driving out of the water, they where greeted by hundreds of admirers.

Among them was a mother and her four adult daughters who had travelled to London to see Kate and William's wedding in 2011.

They said meeting him today was a dream come true.

"It was wonderful. He was very casual and relaxed and he spoke to us longer than I thought he would," said Lynley Knight.

"I got a handshake, I went in for a kiss but he didn't see," said Kath Legg.

They had prepared a banner that read "WE CAME TO YOUR WEDDING" and William was drawn to the sign.

After making a New Year resolution to go to the Royal Wedding, the four women had slept in a two person pop up tent in St James Park in London to secure a good vantage point.

"He remembered us, he remembered our faces," joked Bronwyn Burrowes.

Mother of the three women, Daphne Rabbitts, is a committed royalist and admirers the selfless way the royal family carry out their duties.

"They fulfil their role with dignity and respect. They never asked to be Royals. They lift us from our everyday life," she said.

For one young pupil of Hobsonville Primary School it was his second important meeting today.

"I got to see the prime minister (this morning). In my class he got to talk to me about my learning," said Blake Crossley, 7.

"(Now) I'm here to see the Royals, I want to see the prince and the princess," he said.

It had been a pretty cool day, Blake said.

Another royalist, Margret Harris, 86, had last see the royal family in 1983 when the Queen mother visited New Zealand.

"I think they are really good. I am very happy with the royal family. If I didn't come I'd regret it," she said.

Before the couple left they were presented with a miniature version of the Sealegs amphibious craft as a gift to Prince George from the company.

And then they were into their car and off to the Whenuapai airport heading back to Wellington, waving to the adoring crowds as they drove away.


Most excited to meet the royals in Auckland's Viaduct Basin was a small child, Lili Reynolds, aged eight, who had won a meeting with the duke and duchess through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Lili told reporters she said to the royal couple: "Pleased to meet Your Royal Highnesses", as she handed over a posy of flowers.

The duchess asked how her treatment was going, to which Lili replied, "good".

The royals did not let pouring rain stop them meeting and greeting Kiwis who lined the Viaduct Basin to see them race.

They arrived to massive cheers from the crowd and proceeded to shake hands with as many people as they could. Children holding Union Jacks and flowers were among the crowd, lined up six deep in places.

After a brief walkabout outside the Team New Zealand base, William and Catherine spoke to Barker and crew before making their way down the gangway towards the yachts as rain bucketed down.

The royals posed for photos with Barker and Dalton on the stern of luxury yacht Imagine, before going inside to prepare for their contest.

Meanwhile, a small aircraft flew across the sky, towing a banner saying, "Time for a Kiwi head of state" – an aerial advert organised by New Zealand Republic. It went unnoticed by most of the thousands of people there.

Conditions, between 8-10 knots, were perfect for the two or three match races, Emirates Team NZ chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge said.

Both yachts would have crews of young sailors on board, though experienced sailors Dalton and Barker would be in charge.

"We've got to be pretty safety conscious," Shoebridge said.

He said there would be no jockeying around at the pre-start as for a proper America's cup race, just a fleet start.

The duke and duchess are sports mad, and extremely competitive.

Kate has more sailing experience than her husband.

Still, some yachting premises held true.

"The start's always important, but they'll be sailing under shifty conditions with tide movement," Shoebridge said.

The difficulty for crowds at the basin trying to see the race is that the yachts look so much the same, that from the shore it will be unclear which of the royals is in front, or ultimately victorious.