Prince William, Kate Middleton Greet Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Winners

The America’s Cup World Series, which has suffered in recent years from lack of competitors and waning public interest, had wind in its sails yesterday when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge presented the weekend’s winners with trophies and medals.

The first stage of the event, sponsored by longtime partner Louis Vuitton, ended in Portsmouth, England, on Sunday after extreme winds forced a halt in racing.

“The America’s Cup is the grail of yachting,” Michael Burke, CEO of Louis Vuitton, said in a statement. “It sees challengers racing across the oceans for a lifelong quest. The freedom, courage, skill and competence that it requires reflect the trailblazing spirit of Louis Vuitton. We were able to witness here in Portsmouth some amazing racing on Saturday and are thrilled to have successfully launched a new chapter of our shared history.”

The fashion house has been a major partner of the America’s Cup since 1983.

Luxury goods executive Burke presented all the team skippers with a gift: personalized Louis Vuitton bags.

The Land Rover BAR team and its skipper, Ben Ainslie, won the first event in the series. Emirates Team New Zealand claimed the second spot, while Oracle Team USA, which won the tournament in 2013, rounded out the top three places.

The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sports, with its history dating back to 1851.

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