Image by Mr Stuart Butler Image by Lloyd Ben Ainslie Racing
Portsmouth and Isle of Wight students were invited to meet Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge on 12 February; when The Duchess visited Portsmouth and Ben Ainslie Racing’s (BAR) new headquarters.
Ben Ainslie (BAR’s Team Principal and Skipper) and Sir Keith Mills (Chairman of the 1851 Trust), showed the Duchess the new building under construction on the Camber in Old Portsmouth. The building will also host a new Visitor Centre for the 1851 Trust, due to open for school visits at the start of the next academic year in September 2015.
To celebrate its launch last October, the 1851 Trust hosted an art project, coordinated by Southsea arts company Strong Island, bringing seventy two young people from six local schools together – St Jude’s Church of England School, Park Community School, Admiral Lord Nelson School, Charter Academy, Ryde School and Ryde Academy – to work on a painting of the Solent waters that link them all.
Local teacher and street artist James Waterfield painted the background design, a skyline and seascape scene stretching across the Solent from Ryde on the Isle of Wight, to Portsmouth. Waterfield and internationally renowned artist, My Dog Sighs then worked on filling in the mural with the school children, painting boats, planes, hovercraft and other icons from the region’s rich maritime history.
During her visit, the students were able to showcase their artwork to The Duchess, including HMS Victory – Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship – now just a few hundred metres away in the Historic Dockyard. The Duchess added her own touch to the mural, alongside the students and Team Principal, Ben Ainslie, with a painting of the team’s AC45 – the dramatic, high-speed foiling ACWS boats that will race off Portsmouth and Southsea seafront in July 2015 and 2016.
The Duchess went on to visit the Spinnaker Tower in Gunwharf Quays, for a briefing on the construction of the BAR headquarters, the Visitor Centre that it will host for the 1851 Trust, and the plans for the America’s Cup World Series that will come to Portsmouth in July 2015 and 2016.
Students were also invited from Cowes Enterprise College, Brune Park Community School, City College Southampton, Springfield School, Mayfield School, Portsmouth Grammar School, Priory School, Riders Junior School and Westover Primary School to come and meet The Duchess and test some of the ideas in development for exhibits that will feature in the Visitor Centre.
Many of these technologies will be simplified and used within the BAR Visitor Centre which will be an engaging and interactive showcase for the sport, sustainability and innovation, to inspire and engage more young engineers. It will also support the STEM agenda - to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in schools and provide resources to teachers within the core subjects.
It was a really exciting day for the students and staff and they got to speak to the Duchess!