The Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand became a royal battleground today (11.04.14) when the Duke of Cambridge took on the Duchess in a duel onboard two former America’s Cup boats.
In front of thousands of cheering spectators, the Duchess was ably assisted by Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker onboard NZL64 to race against the Duke and Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton on NZL41.
America’s Cup boats
The opportunity to take the helm of these mono-hulled America’s Cup boats is one of Auckland’s most popular attractions. Explore NZ operates this ‘Formula One on water’ experience along with other boating activities including dolphin and whale watching and yacht cruises for those who want something more sedate.
It was Team Duchess that won 2-nil amid a din of horns and cheers from the spectators lining the water’s edge or bobbing about in their own boats for a closer look.
Boating is a way of life in Auckland. It is said that there is one boat for every four people - and there are 1.3 million people in New Zealand’s largest city.
City of Sails
Spreading across three harbours and countless beaches and bays, it just takes a few minutes for visitors to go from shopping in the heart of the 'City of Sails' to being afloat on the Waitemata Harbour for an island escape, a dolphin encounter or fishing trip in the Hauraki Gulf.
Following the short match race, the royal couple were treated to a ride of a different kind, down the harbour to Hobson Point, this time via a Sealegs amphibious craft.
This patented New Zealand invention enables boaties to drive their RIB craft directly into the water without the need of a trailer. With a land speed of 10kph, they are not designed for public road use, but take the hassle out of launching and are especially popular for seafront residents and life guards who simply drive into the sea.
Auckland: Waterborne in the City of Sails