Royals join sailing teams out on water

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 11/04/2014
Eliza Wilkinson
Jess Etheridge
ROYAL REGATTA: Eliza Wilkinson will sail with the royals on board in an America’s Cup-style race across Waitemata Harbour.

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Yachting enthusiast Eliza Wilkinson has been on the water since she was nine but sailing with royalty this afternoon will be a new experience.

The 17-year-old will sail across Waitemata Harbour aboard the same yacht as either the Duke or Duchess of Cambridge in a highly-anticipated battle of the sexes today.

They will later jet across the harbour on a Sealegs vessel.

It is unknown what role the duchess will play during the race but Eliza says all on board will be "actively involved".

"It just fascinates me, the royal world," she says.

Wilkinson hopes to say hello and get a photo with Wills and Kate.

"I'm really privileged to be able to experience this, I'll remember it for a very long time."

The forecast is for 10 to 15 knots of wind which will make perfect sailing conditions, she says.

Five other young sailors will take part in the royal regatta.

Wilkinson loves competing and represented New Zealand during the 2013 420-class world championships in Valencia.

She sails the 420 class with racing partner Kate Stewart and both hope to compete in the 420 worlds champs regatta in Germany in July.

The royal couple began their eight-day New Zealand tour in Wellington on Monday, and will take in Blenheim, Hamilton, Cambridge, Dunedin, Queenstown, Christchurch and Auckland while here.

William and Kate leave NZ for Australia on April 16.

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- East And Bays Courier

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