Will and Kate sail into Victoria harbour on tall ship to close out Royal tour

Prince William and Kate put focus on youth and mental health, take turn at sailing as they bid farewell to B.C.

The Duchess of Cambridge at the wheel of the Pacific Grace.

The Duchess of Cambridge at the wheel of the Pacific Grace.

Protected from a rain shower by ‎light rain jackets, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge boarded Pacific Grace, a replica of the famous Canadian schooner Bluenose, just after noon.

Children waved and shouted as they ran along the Ogden Point breakwater where they had waited for more than two hours for a glimpse of the sailing.

“I love you Prince William!” shouted one enthusiastic young lady.

The tall ship sailing to Victoria’s Inner Harbour is among the final moments of William and Kates’s week-long tour of Canada’s West Coast.

Prince William and his wife Kate were greeted by Captain Tony Anderson and Loren Hagerty, director of the Sail and Life Training Society.

“It’s a thrill,” said Hagerty, as he and a group of young volunteers prepared for the voyage. The society trains young people how to sail a tall ship and work as a team, with about 1,700 people a year taking a program that has run for 42 years.

The royal couple toured the deck of Pacific Grace and met trainees on bow watch duty, behind the wheel and assigned to other stations aboard the ship.

William and Kate assisted with steering as Pacific Grace docked at the Inner Harbour, then posed for pictures with the crew and volunteers on board.

The Royal couple return to Government House this afternoon to reunite with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, before boarding a float plane to Vancouver and their return home to the United Kingdom.

Earlier in the morning, William and Kate met with social and mental health providers in Victoria.

The focus on youth and mental health reflects causes they have advocated for in the U.K. and have shown an interest in throughout their Canadian tour.

They began the day with a visit the Cridge Centre for the Family, a non-profit society that offers child care, supportive housing, respite care and other social services.

William and Kate then met with members of the Kelty Mental Health and Resource Centre, which provides support to children and their families in need of mental health services. The centre, and the foundation that helped develop it, is named after Kelty Patrick Dennehy, who died by suicide at the age of 17.

While the centre is located at the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, it is still accessible to the estimated 140,000 children and youth who experience mental-health disorders across the province through online, telephone and peer-network resources.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made it their mission to meet as many Canadians from as many walks of life as possible during their eight-day tour.

The royal couple visited Vancouver’s most impoverished neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside, participated in First Nations ceremonies in Bella Bella and Haida Gwaii, B.C., and met residents in the small northern community of Carcross, Yukon.

– with files from Canadian Press

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