Zara Phillips believes in being active role model to daughter ahead of sailing challenge

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall in Cowes. Picture by Lloyd Images

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall in Cowes. Picture by Lloyd Images

First published in News
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The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips has spoken of the importance of being an active role-model to her baby daughter as she takes part in a charity sailing race.

The 33-year-old equestrian, joined by her husband Mike Tindall, is participating in the Artemis Challenge, a 50-mile race around the Isle of Wight being held as part of Ladies Day at the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

She gave birth to her daughter Mia in January and is part of the crew of Artemis Ocean Racing II, skippered by Brian Thompson.

Ahead of the race, Phillips said that she enjoyed sailing as a different challenge to horse-riding.

She said: ''We used to sail as kids, I didn't come down last year but I have come down to Artemis, the race, probably three or four times. This is probably my fifth race.

''It's nice to get back on the water and have some fun. Hopefully there will be some wind.''

Describing what she liked about sailing, the 2006 BBC Sports Personality of the Year said: ''Being out on the water, making the best decisions to get in front of everyone. It's great to be part of a team where we can watch everyone working out on the water and using every advantage possible to get in the front of the race.''

Speaking of the importance of providing an active role-model to her daughter, she said: ''I think we have got it off our parents and hopefully we can pass that on to Mia.

''We have always had sport in our lives and through our childhood. I think that really is important in every child's life to have that opportunity.''

Her husband, a former England rugby team captain, said: ''She will be whatever she wants to be, we will support that, but realistically we will have to wait and see on that one.''

Asked if she was competitive, Phillips answered: ''Yeah, but obviously it's a day for charity and the Artemis boat is probably heavier than all the other boats and we haven't won yet. We will see what happens.

''We might be bobbing around sunbathing instead of sailing but it will be nice to get back on the water. Whether we manage enough wind to get round the island, we will see.''

Tindall, 35, said that although very different sports, sailing and rugby did have their similarities.

He said of sailing: ''From what I know, getting on those grinders, it's not that easy, it can be quite physical, it's all about teamwork, listening to the skips, it's one of those where it's not directly physical but can be.

''I am excited about it, it's a beautiful day, there's a bit of wind but not a lot of wind, I am still waiting to race with wind.

''It's very much a novelty for me, I haven't really done any before. The only times I have been on a racing boat is when I have done it a couple of times when away with England in Australia and New Zealand. It's very much a rare thing for me.''

The winner of the race will receive £10,000 to donate to a charity of their choosing. Phillips and Tindall have chosen Toe in the Water, which helps injured service personnel experience sailing, and the UK Sailing Academy which similarly helps children.

Among the competition are Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon and his wife Yasmin, who are on Azzam with the crew of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, one of the six current challengers for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15.

Azzam is skippered by one of Britain's most successful sailors, double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker.

Tindall, who said he had not yet won a sailing race and he was keen to beat the Le Bons, said: ''We haven't won yet. I would like to get a win under my belt, that's the competitive nature of myself.

''He (Le Bon) helped out a couple of times with my charity so I am sure we will meet up and if he beats me, I will throw him in the water.''

The Artemis Challenge has a history of celebrity names joining the crews of the fleet of offshore racing yachts, both monohulls and multihulls, taking part.

The race follows the classic America's Cup route around the Isle of Wight, starting at the Royal Yacht Squadron Line at Cowes.

The boats will be divided into teams, and the winning team at the end of the 50-mile sprint will win the £10,000 charity prize.

The large ocean yachts will also be joined on the start line by the fleet of Artemis Figaro Beneteaus, skippered by some of the brightest future stars of British sailing currently racing as part of the Artemis Offshore Academy, a UK training programme of excellence for British short-handed sailors.

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