27 JULY 2007

Kate Middleton is clearly intent on being at the top of her game when she takes to the open seas during a charity dragon boat race next month. Prince William's girlfriend was out on the River Thames with her crewmates for the second day in a row - sacrificing a lie-in on her Friday day off to put in a 7am start.

The 25-year-old brunette - who had looked equally bright eyed at the tiller the previous morning despite a night out at London club Mahiki - has joined an all-female crew of philanthropists calling themselves The Sisterhood for the charity project. They aim to raise funds for causes close to their hearts by racing across the English Channel on August 13. If they succeed they will be the world's first all-female dragon boat crew to make the journey.

She may be new to the team - whose members describe themselves as "an elite group of female athletes… on a mission to keep boldly going where no other girl has gone before" - but there was no doubt Kate looked the part as she helped carry the boat down to the water's edge. Once it was afloat she got stuck into rowing duty in the stern.

Their opponents on the big day will be an all- male crew calling themselves The Brotherhood. Both teams will set off from Shakespeare Beach, to the west of Dover Harbour, and finish 35 kilometres later at Cap Gris Nez, to the west of Calais.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The 25-year-old brunette was out on the Thames for the second day in a row, training with her team mates for their August cross-Channel boat racePhoto: © Rex
Photo: © Alphapress.com
She may be new to the team, but the fashion assistant certainly looked the part as she helped the girls carry their vessel down to the water's edgePhoto: © Rex