Isle of Wight gets double royal treatment

  • Thu, 11 Aug 2011

Princess and her daughter take opposite tacks

HRH The Princess Royal opens Bembridge Lifeboat Station

The last 24 hours have seen both HRH The Princess Royal and her daughter Zara Phillips hard at work on the Isle of Wight - but their activities could not have been more different.

While Princess Anne watched the youngsters of the RYA OnBoard sailing scheme compete, and presented their Cowes Week prizes, her newlywed daughter Zara climbed aboard an IMOCA 60 skippered by Dee Caffari for some hard racing in the pro-celebrity Artemis Challenge, which raises money for charity.

In big seas the four IMOCAs raced in 30-knot winds, with conditions such that Dee's spinnaker ripped and the boat finished last - while Zara's fellow guest, actor Ewan McGregor, caught a face-full of wave on third-placed Hugo Boss. The race was won by French skipper Vincent Riou on PRB.

Away from the competition hub, Princess Anne fulfilled another royal duty when she officially opened Bembridge's new RNLI Lifeboat Station and named its new Tamar class lifeboat, Alfred Albert Williams. Both station and boat have been operational for several months, in the case of the former replacing a building which had served since 1922. The lifeboat was largely funded by a single £1.8million donation and named after a friend of the anonymous donor couple - the families of both were present.

Back at Cowes today the princess completed her island sojourn by starting the X One Design Centenary Race, which went ahead despite the worsened conditions which saw today's Extreme Sailing Series race cancelled. The winds have left a trail of broken masts and battered hulls amongst competitors across the board.

Photo: HRH The Princess Royal opens Bembridge Lifeboat Station, by RNLI/John Ambler

Cowes Week day 5 Video footage