Sunday, 2 August 2015

About 'That' Sporting Uniform, Kate Qualifies as an Advanced Diver & More

Last Sunday the Cambridges supported the America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth and one topic dominated the discussion on the day. No, I'm not talking about the cancellation of the races - instead Kate's sartorial selections on the day.


The Duchess opted to wear her 'sporting uniform' - a look consisting of the following pieces:

  • Skinny jeans.
  • Breton stripe top.
  • Navy Blazer or official gear of the sporting team.
  • Wedges or boat shoes.

The look has become synonymous with the Duchess. When the engagement in Portsmouth was announced I doubt I was the only one who instantly thought some of these items were precisely what Kate would choose for the day. Was the choice appropriate for the nature of the engagement? Absolutely. It was a comfortable, casual look, perfectly suited to a day spent watching sailing.


The Cambridges even sported personalised team pullovers by Henri Lloyd, however, it was strongly felt by some fashion writers, fans of the Duchess and many readers the look has become "tired", is worn with too much frequency, and it's time for a change.


I recall during the royal tour of Canada in 2011, when we first saw Kate sporting the look with variation. Below we see Kate wearing her navy Smythe blazer, J Brand 811 skinny jeans, a cream ruffled blouse by Lauren by Ralph Lauren and her Imperia wedges during a visit to Slave lake. As the couple prepared to travel to Blachford lake, Kate sported a chic Burberry shirt with her jeans and Sebago Bala boat shoes. Both looks were effortlessly chic, polished and stylish. 


During London 2012 we saw Kate teaming the look with official jackets and footwear. We've seen this trend continue for visits with the scouts and of course last Sunday's Portsmouth visit. It's a very visual way of lending supporting to the team, and given the enormous focus on Kate's style, it potentially offers a significant upshot in purchases of team clothing.


In the last couple of years, Kate has selected her trademark look several times for sporting related engagements.


Why does Her Royal Highness choose the exact same look time and time again? There's a multitude of possibilities for this beginning with the most obvious: it's clearly a look she feels comfortable in. So comfortable in fact, Kate looked completely relaxed playing volleyball in her Stuart Weitzman Corkswoon wedges for her first solo engagement after Prince George was born.


The look, no matter how many times it is seen, is appropriate for sporting related engagements. It also detracts attention significantly from Kate's sartorial choices, and I have noticed less media coverage of her clothing during these engagements. Indeed, it also requires very little planning, serving as a 'go-to' outfit.


There's a plethora of reading material available online detailing experiences from successful women who have chosen to wear the same thing for work over and over (with thanks to the reader who shared the tip). One art director shared her story with Harper's Bazaar:

'To state the obvious, a work uniform is not an original idea. There's a group of people that have embraced this way of dressing for years—they call it a suit. For men, it's a very common approach, even mandatory in most professions.
 Nevertheless, I received a lot of mixed reactions for usurping this idea for myself. Immediately, people started asking for a motive behind my new look: "Why do you do this? Is it a bet?" When I get those questions I can't help but retort, "Have you ever set up a bill for online auto-pay? Did it feel good to have one less thing to deal with every month?'

An interesting LinkedIN article shares several reason why successful women can wear the same thing every day:

'1.   They don’t worry about pleasing others: They know who they are and have no desire to live their lives based on the desires of others. They are comfortable in their own skin.
 2.   They know their self-worth is not based on the latest fashion trends: They know there is so much more to who they are than the clothes they wear.
3.   They don’t sweat the small stuff: They know and understand that in life, there are bigger and better things to focus on rather than what they are wearing!
 4.   They don’t try to keep up with the Joneses: They are not trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing. They are not living their lives based on what everyone is wearing, thinks is fashionable or even, what other people define a successful woman to be. They do their own thing!
5.   They are ok with being different: They have no desire to fit in. Instead, they want to stand out! They are true to who they are.
 6.   They enjoy simplicity in life: They know that life brings a variety of obstacles and challenges and quite frankly, clothes and fashion is not something they want to stress about. Simplicity = less stress.'

It's also a 'go-to' look for Kate in her private life. The Duchess was seen arriving in Mustique with Prince George in 2014 wearing the ensemble and several months before grocery shopping in Anglesey.

Hello! Magazine

Most noticeably, we've seen the Duchess choose the outfit for polo over the last couple of years. The look is in stark contrast to the feminine dresses we saw Kate wearing in previous years. Of course, motherhood is the most likely reason for this. With a boisterous toddler to run after it's a much more practical look.


I have particularly liked the look when Kate switched it up a little. By simply changing one piece it completely transformed the whole look and injected more of her own fashion personality into the look. The coral jeans (far left) were a fabulous, on-trend choice. Switching up the colour of the blazer or choosing a sweater instead, such as the Jonathan Saunders garment worn on tour last year, totally freshened up the look for me.

Splash News/ PA/ London 2012

Kate wearing a chic sleeveless blue blouse and a GAP gingham shirt with her blazer and jeans offered a new take on the look, too.


Of course, a 'go-to' look is something each and every one of us has in our wardrobes and for the summer season a stripe top will be an indispensable piece for many. Breton stripes are quite simply everywhere at the moment, and I was amazed at the sheer number available on the high street over the summer. Joules, a British brand which would be perfect for Kate, have some fabulous stripe tops with their individual stamp on offer - all of which would look splendid on the Duchess.

Joules

Are stripe tops and skinny jeans a staple in your wardrobe? They certainly are in mine, particularly for the summer and autumn when our weather can be, shall we say, a tad unpredictable at times. Switching to white jeans instantly updates the wardrobe for the season offering endless stylish possibilities too. Kate looks fantastic in white jeans, and she wore them quite a bit during her pre-engagement days. I'm away at present and when travelling one wants to pack everything... I've found myself styling white jeans with various other pieces for casual outings and a recent pleasure cruise.

She Finds 

My stripe tops of choice are by Petit Bateau (a brand Prince George has worn). The heavy jersey tops feature a detachable velvet belt with a bow and a fitted waist. The brand collaborated with Christian Lacroix to create the piece and others as part of a collaboration with the National Opera of Paris. At £23 they are a steal. Teamed with a scarf by Joules and a pair of S Perry Boat Shoes it was the perfect choice for the outing. Another way I styled the jeans was with a simple cardigan by Darling Clothes and one of their matching bags (a feminine brand full of timeless pieces I cannot recommend highly enough).


How do you style your 'go-to' look? What seasonal changes do you make to keep it updated? Do you emulate Kate's casual style? Are you a fan of Kate's 'sporting uniform'?

From a sartorial perspective, I would love to see her implement new pieces, however, I do think it's absolutely fine for her to re-wear it as is. As a keen sportswoman, more engagements calling for a casual look are likely to be the rule rather than the exception. What would you like to see Kate wear? One of the most popular suggestions has been pants instead of jeans. Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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In other news, we have a few updates of interest to share. The Telegraph reports the Duchess has qualified as an advanced diver. 

'Kensington Palace confirmed to the Telegraph that the Duchess has passed a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Advanced Open Water Diver qualification, meaning she can dive to a depth of 30 metres (98ft).
 It is the most advanced qualification taken by most recreational divers, as going any deeper involves inherent risks such as nitrogen narcosis, a sensation similar to drunkenness. The qualification has enabled the Duchess to join her husband on deep dives to look for sharks during holidays in the Middleton family’s regular haunt of Mustique.'

Kelly Fisher Katz, who met William and Kate on holiday in Mustique spoke about their diving abilities.

'We went diving and they went very deep, more than 90ft. Our instructor said Martin and I weren’t qualified to go on the shark dives that they went on. They’re quite the sportsmen.
 To pass the PADI advanced qualification divers must complete a total of five dives, including a deep dive and an underwater navigation dive, during which they are taught how to cope with the physiological effects of deeper scuba diving.'

The Palace said, "Diving is something the Duchess very much enjoys, and the Duke of Cambridge, who is of course President of the BSAC, has said in the past that he is hopeful his children will become interested in the sport."


Congratulations to Kate. Perhaps we'll see diving implemented on a future tour itinerary? Now, wouldn't that be fun :)

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Finally, as you have probably seen, photos of Carole Middleton and her grandson Prince George playing on the beach with family pet Lupo and building sandcastles emerged last week. The photos were reportedly taken on the day of his second birthday, on 22 July. Kate was reportedly out running last-minute errands for the party and Carole took the opportunity to spend some quality time with the little Prince. You can view the entire set of photos of at Pop Sugar.

Pop Sugar Twitter Feed

Susan over at What Kate's Kids Wore wrote a stellar write up of the pieces worn and played with by George. The Prince wore the ever-so-cute Joules Baby Milford Quilted Jacket with his Converse All Stars. His backpack featured a Gaurds is by Cath Kidston and to make sandcastles George used the Melissa & Doug Happy Giddy Pail.



George and Charlotte certainly have very loving grandparents! Prince Charles has turned Highgrove gardens into a dream playground by refurbishing William and Harry's old den.

Mail Online

More from the Mail Online's story:

'The little prince, who is third in line to the throne, is said to be particularly taken with the spectacular treehouse his grandfather had built for William and Harry.
Hidden away in an area of the garden known as The Stumpery (so-called because there are layers upon layers of old tree stumps and logs) it was designed by William Bertram for the then five and three-year-old princes. 
 Mr Bertram asked to interview the boys about what they wanted and William told him: ‘I want it to be as high as possible so I can get away from everyone and I want a rope ladder which I can pull up so no-one can get at me.’
The treehouse – named Hollyrood House after the Queen’s palace in Scotland, but also because it was originally built in a holly bush – was finally installed just in time for William’s seventh birthday in 1989.'

According to media reports, Prince Charles enjoys picnics with George and has even bought him a tea set, complete with plastic cups to enjoy. Aside from refurbishing the treehouse, it is understood Charles has had a £20,000 hut installed with a bed, woodburner and French oak wooden floors for his grandchildren.

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For those asking, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we heard an engagement announcement during the week. August is traditionally very quiet for the royals, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility of an engagement during the month.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sunday of Sailing Cancelled as the Cambridges Visit Portsmouth

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge supported the America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth today.


The Duchess attended in her capacity as patron of the 1851 Trust, supported by Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor in history. The Trust aims to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry, providing young people with the education, skills and training to become future innovators and stewards of the marine environment.


Keen sailor Kate crewed a Round the World Challenge Boat during her gap year and worked as a deckhand. When Kate took on the role of patron last October she said, "I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed sailing from a young age and I know it is a great way of providing young people with the opportunity to develop skills and confidence".


We saw Kate's love of sailing in action during a competitive race against William in Auckland during the couple's tour of New Zealand and Australia last year. Prince William also appears to enjoy sailing, perhaps one of the reasons he decided to accompany his wife today.


The Palace said the Duchess would take "the opportunity to learn more about how the charity is using this exciting time for the sport in the UK to inspire a new generation".

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

Their Royal Highnesses enjoyed a tour of international team areas at Portsmouth Naval Base before meeting team skippers and their crews.


William and Kate chatting with a group from New Zealand Team HQ.


The couple asked plenty of questions and heard first-hand experiences from crews.


After the tour, William and Kate were expected to enjoy two races and give prizes afterwards. Rumours were persistent throughout the morning the races may not go ahead and unfortunately due to extreme weather conditions the difficult decision to cancel the races was taken. Below the full statement from the America's Cup World Series:

'OFFICIAL STATEMENT
 After discussions with the America's Cup organising committee due to extreme weather we have had to take the difficult decision to cancel today's racing and Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event programme, and the site has been closed for the day, Sunday July 26.
We had hoped to go ahead with early racing, but with winds gusting in excess of 30mph we could not risk the safety of the crews and public, and their welfare is paramount. Due to high winds the Waterfront Festival Arena and Fanzone Arena is now closed, and we ask public to leave the event site.'

A look at the dismal conditions.

Yachts and Yachting Twitter Feed

William and Kate had hoped to see Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing), led by Sir Ben today - the first British team to contest an official America's Cup event on home waters since the competition began in 1851.

Land Rover BAR

Others teams participating came from USA, France, Japan, New Zealand and Sweden.

Land Rover BAR

As to the significance of this weekend's racing? More from The Guardian:

'This weekend Ainslie’s crew will race against five others during the first leg of a series in which points are earned for a final qualification event, before the two-team America’s Cup final itself. There are further events scheduled in Gothenburg and Bermuda this year, before a number of others in 2016.'

Sir Ben Ainslie wrote a piece for the Telegraph ahead of the event.

'The teams are all incredibly even and the tight racing at these speeds has already led to some big wipe outs as teams are pushing their boats to the limit. In the end it will come down to the sailing side; the boat handling, who makes the right calls on the day. 
And believe me, it will be competitive. Although these World Series races are of limited import as far as the 35th America's Cup itself is concerned, they do count towards qualification. And there will be professional pride at stake as well.'

It's obviously incredibly disappointing news for all involved.

Oliver Ing Twitter Feed

However, there is still much to celebrate for Land Rover BAR, who are the overall winners of the event.

ACWS Portsmouth Twitter Feed

Kate and Rebecca Deacon chatting between events.


William and Kate continued with the rest of the itinerary for the visit. They toured the new Ben Ainslie Racing team base to view their state-of-the-art facilities and learned more about the work being done there.


The couple appeared to thoroughly enjoy the visit.


Kate reacts as she watches the Land Rover BAR team boat being lifted out of the water from a window


Kate participated in a sailing simulation.


Gifts for Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Royal Navy Twitter Feed

Speaking of Prince George, Kate revealed the tot who recently turned two thinks he is older. More from The Mirror:

'After appearing to blow air at the Duchess as she shook hands with families of staff, the son of the team’s Head Coach Rob Wilson stepped forward to say “Hello Princess, my name is Freddie Wilson. Mum Wendy Maxwell said: “She asked him how old he was and he said ‘I’m three’.
“When I said he is only two, she said, ‘George says that. He thinks that he’s older”.
Kate also stopped to chat to two-year-old George Mills and his 13-week-old brother Harry, who had fallen asleep. Mum Rebecca said: “She asked George if he likes Peppa Pig and said she hoped Charlotte would be doing a lot of sleeping too.”

Kate met a little girl who was crying and tried to cheer her up.


As always, mother of two Kate was a natural with the children she met.


William and Kate met children who had recently enjoyed their first sailing experience thanks to the 1851 Trust.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

Finally, the Duke and Duchess presented medals to the Land Rover BAR Team.


William and Kate congratulated Sir Ben.


You can view a video here.


A rather nice photo of two handsome fellows, wouldn't you agree ladies :)


Both William and Kate sported Ben Ainslie Racing pullovers by sailing outfitter Henri Lloyd showing their support for the team. The piece is available to purchase online for £70. (with thanks to Kate & Pippa Style).

Henri Lloyd


The women's Land Rover BAR  Aura Half Zip fleece is described this way:

'Micro stretch fleece for lightweight insulation. The ergonomic shape and high stretch properties of this garment guarantee incredible comfort and ease of movement. The extended half zip can be opened for extra venting. BAR logo to left chest Henri Lloyd logo to right shoulder Official America’s Cup Challenger logo to left sleeve 11th Hour logo to right sleeve Union Jack woven label to lower right hem.' 

William and Kate's pullovers were personalised.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

The piece is not available internationally due to distribution rights, however the folks at Henri Lloyd have asked those who cannot purchase directly from their website to contact them via email.

Henri Lloyd Twitter Feed

Otherwise, Kate chose what has become known as her sporting uniform. The staple of this look is a Breton stripe top - the Duchess owns several and we regularly see her wearing them for official events, and most recently for the polo. Several people noted the top is most likely one of Kate's Me + Em tops.

Me + Em

Kate's navy skinny jeans are by Zara.


Kate's incredibly popular Sebago Bala boat shoes were a stylish choice complementing the rest of the casual look.

Sebago

Our favourite photographer James Whatling snapped a close up shot of Kate's pair.


Kate wore her hair in a ponytail and accessorised with her Annoushka pearl drops and Kiki McDonough diamond hoops.


The Duchess made a quick change for the prize-giving ceremony - opting for her navy ZARA blazer.

ZARA

And her trusty Stuart Weitman Corkswoon Wedges. The $398 blue suede wedges are available at NordstromZappos and Stuart Weitzman.


Stuart Weitzman

You can watch a brief arrival video here. There's an interesting moment where Rebecca Deacon gives the press pack a friendly wave. There's also a longer video available on You Tube.


Thank you for reading. I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend :)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

New Photo Released to Mark Prince George's 2nd Birthday!

As you all know, a very special little boy is celebrating his second birthday tomorrow :)

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed / Mario Testino

To mark the occasion Kensington Palace released a new photo of the prince via their Twitter Feed. The photo was taken at Princess Charlotte's christening earlier this month, and shows the prince in his father's arms, smiling and leaning towards the camera.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed / Mario Testino

The Palace shared a teaser tweet this morning, revealing they would be sharing a photo of Prince George. It had been expected we wouldn't see the release of another photograph as we've seen quite a lot of George in recent months, but much to the delight of royal fans this was not the case. Once again, we're seeing the Palace using social media to release images of the Cambridge children - a trend we expect to see continue and grow in the future.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

The post on the British Monarchy's Facebook Page read "It captures a very happy moment on what was a very special day for the Duke and Duchess and their family".

The British Monarchy Facebook Page

Prince George's first birthday portraits were taken at the Natural History Museum. As you can see, he's grown quite a bit since then.

Clarence House Twitter Feed

How will Prince George be celebrating the day? It is believed Kate has planned a low-key family affair at the family's home Anmer Hall in Norfolk. Unlike last year's bash at Kensington Palace, when the Irish Guards played "Happy Birthday" it will be a more modest affair.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed / Mario Testino

More from the Telegraph:

'His grandparents Michael and Carole Middleton will be visiting, as will Auntie Pippa, friends and godparents. But the other set of grandparents - Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall - will not be attending as they are on an official visit to the West Country.
 They plan to spend some quality time with George and Charlotte, who is almost three months old, at Sandringham at the end of the week.
Prince William has just started working as an East Anglian Air Ambulance helicopter pilot, so he may not be able to make the party due to work commitments.'

There's been some interesting and rather fun articles written to mark the future monarch's birthday. including the Telegraph's 'Prince George at 2: What our future king has learned so far'.

'Being a toddler is the best practice ever for ruling a country. Most mothers of children in this age group spend a lot of time persuading their offspring that not everything is “mine” (which may be harder when your son is the heir to the throne).Two-year-olds are control freaks – “me do it!” – with no fine motor skills. They see no difference between giving you a sweet snuggle and smacking you in the face with a toy hammer.
Toddlers have no bodily fears or concept of gravity. They never stop moving and never want to sleep. They’re clingy and whiny and shouty, and so, so heavy (my goodness, they’re heavy). But all it takes is one spontaneous little kiss and you’d forgive them (almost) everything.'

The Mirror has captioned an adorable set of photos of George in their piece, Prince George birthday: What is the royal toddler really thinking?

The Mirror

We've seen Prince George much more than anticipated over the past year - from official appearances to outings with Kate - and it's been wonderful to see him continue to grow into such a happy, delightful child. In his most recent interview Prince William described his son as "a little monkey".

Clarence House Twitter Feed

The boisterous toddler is said to be incredibly active and much like his parents adores the outdoors. From what we've seen he loves nothing more than a day out at the local pet farm or an afternoon of playing with his cousins at the polo.


Richard Kay wrote a piece for the Mail Online noting how similar Prince George is to his father.

'Like many a toddler — and to the exasperation of his parents — George has a habit of opening and slamming doors. Anything of value has to be placed out of reach. One visitor who left her bag open found the young Prince attempting to empty the contents. And without a strong parental hand — as William found at Charlotte’s christening — George will soon resolutely strike out on his own.
Three decades ago, the infant William was known by his father Prince Charles as ‘whirlwind Will’, with an alarming habit of flushing shoes down the royal loo, pushing the palace panic buttons and threatening to behead his friends or lock them up in the Tower of London.'

Perhaps my favourite George appearance over the past year was seeing him arrive at St Mary's hospital to meet his baby sister. There was a very sweet moment when William encouraged him to walk, but upon seeing the world's media at his feet, decided he would prefer if his dad carried him. We saw early glimpses of his royal wave too :)


The biggest change for George over the last year has been Charlotte's arrival. Going from being the only child to big brother can be quite the adjustment for any child. Judging by Kate's photos of the pair taken at Anmer Hall it looks like he adores his little sister!

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge / Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

In May it was revealed George would become more visible to the public. A royal aide said, "The duke and duchess feel most people have been very supportive of the measures they have taken to protect his privacy. But they do realise there is a good-natured interest [in him] from people." Below we see the tot making his debut at the first of many Trooping the Colour appearances.


The prince wore the same outfit William wore for his first Trooping appearance in 1984.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed

Another unforgettable moment for royal watchers was seeing the Cambridges together as a family of four for the first time at Princess Charlotte's christening. George made the walk to St Mary's holding William's hand. Once again, the Cambridges referenced William's childhood, dressing their son in a red and white Rachel Riley ensemble - almost identical to the outfit William wore to meet Harry in 1984.


If you haven't seen this video of George toddling outside the church on his tip-toes, you must click here :)


And of course Mario Testino's father-son shot will no doubt take pride of place somewhere in the Cambridges' home.

Kensington Palace Twitter Feed / Mario Testino

Wishing our favourite little prince a very Happy Birthday!

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We have a handful of other updates to quickly share today. ISSA has re-released Kate's engagement dress renaming it the Phyllis. Crafted from midnight-blue. silk-blend jersey and gathered and wrapped at the waist it is a classic piece. It's a darker shade than Kate's dress, retailing for $650 at Net-A-Porter. It's also available at Harvey Nichols.

ISSA

Kate's much loved L.K. Bennett Lasana dress has been re-released in black with a striking pink poppy print. It's available for £250 in most sizes on the website (with thanks to Christin).

L.K. Bennett

Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale is currently ongoing with a selection of fantastic Kate-inspired bargains available. Andrea was in touch to share news she snagged a pair of Aquatalia Riyan Booties - an updated version of Kate's Royal Boots. They are discounted from $495 to $269 at Nordstrom Rack.

Nordstrom

Our friends at Black.co.uk are celebrating their 9th birthday with 25% off all collections until 27 July. The luxury accessories and gifts brand specialises in timeless, elegant pieces. Below we see Kate's Cornelia James Bow Gloves in satin lycra, the Foldable Ballet Flats and the Medici Silk Scarf.

Black.co.uk

Check out the new arrivals page to see the latest pieces also included in the sale.


Black.co.uk

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We have a request from one of our lovely readers, Amanda, who is moving to Manchester and hoping to reach out to other readers in the area:

I am a longtime reader of the blog who will be moving to the UK (Manchester) for a filmmaking program this fall.  I would love to connect with some local readers who are within a couple hours' distance - for friendships and also possible projects and conversations. (My background is in sociology, and I am so fascinated by the mix of fashion/feminism/critique/pressures that surround HRH) contact: amanda.manuk at gmail.
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Finally, I'm away at present and it is one of the reasons the comments section in our last post became out of hand. We all want a friendly place which encourages debate to discuss the Cambridges - instead it is descending into unpleasantness and becoming out of control. Let's try as a community to respect all opinions expressed, and respond in a calm, measured fashion. Due to the number of complaints expressed in recent days, I will be moderating more closely. Thank you all for taking the time to visit the blog, I want it to continue to be an enjoyable place to stop by!

We'll see you on Sunday when William and Kate will be supporting the America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth.