The NZ Millennium Cup returns in February, marking the first superyacht regatta since early 2020.
The regatta is raced amongst the bays and coves of the Bay of Islands; the historic heart of New Zealand’s maritime life. Designed as a showcase of the best of New Zealand, it introduces superyacht owners to the New Zealand of warm welcomes, relaxed hospitality and outstanding scenery.
When this year’s edition kicks off on 15 February, it will be with a line up of entries boasting impressive regatta credentials. Classic yacht, 34.8 metre, Aschanti IV joins the regatta after racing in the inaugural regatta in 2000, and will bring her elegant, traditional lines to the course as well as a wealth of regatta experience. Close in size to Aschanti IV, though not in appearance, 36.2 metre Miss Silver, is a sloop with the modern exterior lines of a Dubois design.
Like Miss Silver, fellow entry Silvertip is built to a Dubois design, and was created in New Zealand. She’s a repeat campaigner which has become a firm favourite on the course with spectators for her all-in approach to winning, as well as adding immensely to the fun of the regatta off the course.
Royal Huisman-built Sassafras is all style and grace during racing, and will be looking forward to meeting fellow former competitors, Silvertip and Tawera come February. She’ll be joined by Royal Huisman’s Whirlwind XII; an elegant sloop which promises to bring a new dimension to this year’s line up.
Noted by other competitors is Tawera. The previous winner of multiple editions of the Cup not only has a knack for quick performances; the yacht’s owners and crew bring with them a fleet of wooden skiffs and annually throw down a challenge to other crew to take a pause from wind-power and pick up the oars in competition.
For local companies like ENL, making waves with its WASSP software which allows superyachts to generate their own navigational data while exploring uncharted waters, it provides an opportunity to see international clients on their home turf.
The Tawera Rum Barrel race has become a fixture of the regatta in recent years. Held on the second day of racing, crews gather on Russell’s beach for a bombastic competition which includes flying oars, dubious skill and plenty of tumbles. The prize is a hotly-contested 20 litre barrel of Mount Gay Rum.
The NZ Millennium Cup serves as an opportunity to showcase New Zealand as a destination to cruising superyachts, as well as highlight the innovation and experience within the local superyacht sector. It’s headquartered at the historic Duke of Marlborough hotel in Russell, which has been a hub of New Zealand’s marine activity since Māori first arrived in voyaging waka around 700 years ago, followed by European whalers - making the town the largest whaling port in the Southern Hemisphere for a period of time - in the early 1820s.
Running from 15-18 February, 2021, the NZ Millennium Cup regatta is organised by the NZ Marine Export Group and is the longest running superyacht regatta in the South Pacific.
Check back for the latest news from the NZ Millennium Cup.
A superyacht regatta in one of the world's great natural playgrounds
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All photos ©Jeff Brown Breed Media