Entries to the regatta in the yachting heart of the Pacific are now being accepted in anticipation of next year’s event.
Entries for the 2016 New Zealand Millennium Cup have officially opened alongside an announcement of an updated racing format. Raced over the 27, 28, 29 January in the emerald waters of the Bay of Islands, the regatta will now encompass four races instead of its previous three; providing more scope for the fleet to explore the Bay.
Organisers are now accepting entries for the two divisions of the race; the NZ Millennium Cup Series for yachts 30-metres and above and the Pacific series for yachts from 19-metres to 29.9-metres. 2015’s regatta saw seven yachts take up this challenge which has been appealing to yachts making a Pacific odyssey since the inaugural race in 2000.
The journey to New Zealand is part of the appeal for many owners who enter, and who enjoy the sense of being in a place that’s a world apart from the usual regatta haunts. With every day of 2015’s racing flanked by dolphins and the startlingly beautiful vistas the Bay of Islands provides, the setting has proved to be a superyacht regatta backdrop like no other.
Next year’s racing will once again be held alongside the Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta; a domestic regatta which provides thrilling racing as the NZ Millennium Cup divisions and smaller classes fill the Bay with sails. Off-water, the NZ Millennium Cup’s organisers entertain their guests in a quintessentially New Zealand style with the best of New Zealand seafood, produce and wine, in barefootluxury venues overlooking the water.
Entries are open now and entry forms can be downloaded from NZ Marine, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
After victories on day one and two Silencio was chasing the hat trick on the final day of racing, but it was not to be as Sassafras took line honours.
The final day of racing at the New Zealand Millennium Cup 2015 – NZ Marine Race Day – dawned sunny and with winds of 18 knots. With two wins under her belt 50m Silencio (Perini Navi) was the clear leader on the scoreboard, but with 39.7m Janice of Wyoming (Alloy Yachts), 37m Bliss (Yachting Developments) and 33.8m Silvertip (Yachting Developments) all tied in second place you could almost taste the levels of competition in the air, and 34.2m Sassafras (Royal Huisman) was not giving up without a fight either. In the sub-30m Pacific Cup Division, with one win apiece, it was to be a case of the winner takes it all between Antaeus and Steinlager 2.
The course set for the day was the longest of the event, totalling 30nm. Once again Silencio was first to cross the line at 11:30, but with a much shorter lead was quickly followed by Antaeus at 11:48, Sassafras at 11:49 and Janice of Wyoming at 12:07. Soon after Steinlager 2 crossed at 12:11 and Bliss at 12:12 and Silvertip at 12:19. As she powered her way across the line Silvertip’s distinctive hull was flanked by dolphins diving in and out of the waters beside her.
The wind had been steadily building and all yachts moved fast on the run towards the first mark. With much closer start times the racing grounds soon saw various battles for leads emerging. Around Motuterakihi Island buoy the fleet began the beat for the next mark at Red Head buoy with the formation beginning to incrementally uncoil.
By Mark 3, Nine Pin Island, Sassafras had claimed a lead on Silencio, moving into first place. Over the next few marks in the middle of the fleet Bliss was pushing Janice of Wyoming, with both yachts overtaking Silencio on the second rounding of Nine Pin Island, before Bliss also charged ahead of Janice to move into second place. With this new order set, it was held all the way around the remainder of the course.
Bliss pushed to catch Sassafras, making steady gains, but in the end Bliss crossed the line just 31 seconds behind her. The first place was an amazing way for Sassafras to close their first ever regatta and the result embodied their fighting spirit and sailing skills. Two minutes later, third across the line was Janice of Wyoming followed two minutes later by Silvertip who had kept the pressure on to gain ground throughout.
Steinlager 2 was fifth on the line, to win the Pacific Cup, followed by Antaeus and finally Silencio, which had lost ground after struggling to unfurl their spinnaker at an earlier mark. Bliss set to celebrating the end of the regatta immediately, unleashing their sound system to party their way back into port for the final time.
And with that, the racing was over. After heading back to moor up, owners and their crew made their way to the prizegiving, held together with the Bay of Islands Sailing Week prizegiving. The results of the NZ Millennium Cup were the first to be announced and Peter Montgomery, the voice of New Zealand yachting, took to the stage as MC telling the hundreds of onlookers that “The Bay of Islands Sailing Week has been taken to new levels in 2015 with the addition of the Millennium Cup, with exciting and spectacular action on the water.”
Montgomery’s first presentation of the night was a team spirit award, recognising a special contribution and long-term commitment to the NZ Millennium Cup. The award was very deservedly presented to the owners of Silvertip and Janice of Wyoming, who have provided such support to both the event and the New Zealand marine industry over the years.
Next were the results, with the Pacific Cup division announced first. After the day’s divisional win Steinlager 2 were the winners of the Pacific Cup division, followed by Anateus in second place. For the Millennium Cup fifth place went to Sassafras, winners of line honours on day three, followed by Silvertip in fourth place. Third went to a delighted Janice of Wyoming, with Bliss in second place.
But, it was Silencio’s owner and crew who were the ones to lift the coveted trophy, with the group spraying the crowd with champagne in celebration. “Congratulations to the worthy winners, who set such a hot standard on the first and second days,” said Montgomery. “We have loved having you here and look forward to welcoming you back.”
Concluding the Cup, organisers thanked all those who made the event possible, particularly sponsors, but most of all the owners for their crucial part in making the regatta such a success.
Silencio wins for the second day in a row at the NZ Millennium Cup, with Steinlager 2 taking first place in the Pacific Cup Division.
Day two of the New Zealand Millennium Cup dawned bright and sunny with a forecast for a light southerly moving to the east and rising to 20 knots in the afternoon. Stretching across 26nm, the course for Ocean Media Race Day made the most of the striking surroundings and waters of the Bay of Islands.
With the previous day’s points chalked up on the scoreboard the competitive spirit was running high as the yachts lined up to take their start. The starting order was very similar to day one and once again Silencio was first over the line at 11:30, followed by Antaeus at 12:13, Steinlager 2 at 12:29, Janice of Wyoming at 12:44, Sassafras at 12:47, Bliss at 12:55 and finally Silvertip at 13:02.
By the time Silvertip crossed the line the breeze was already building, with the latter half of the fleet speeding towards Roberton Island, trying to catch Silencio already far off in the distance. By the time the majority of the fleet had rounded the mark, Silvertip and Bliss had moved ahead and were pushing to catch Janice of Wyoming in front of them, with Sassafras close behind.
In a real demonstration of the spirit of the Millennium Cup operating side-by-side with the Bay of Islands Sailing Week, an exciting half hour on the course came as the superyachts rounded the Ninepin Island mark amongst a fleet of racing 52ft TP52’s. Skillful navigation saw all boats, big and large, safely round the mark and on their way.
As predicted, the breeze continued to build as the race drew towards its conclusion. At the front of the fleet Silencio was holding her lead, with Steinlager 2 steadily gaining. After rounding the final mark, Motuterakihi Island Buoy, it was the final charge for the finish. Steinlager 2 took line honours and first place in the Pacific Division, but once again it was Silencio that crossed the line to take first place in the Millennium Cup racing.
Third on the line was Antaeus, for second place in the Pacific Division. Next to cross was Janice of Wyoming claiming second place just three minutes after Silencio. Having stuck close to each other throughout the race, Bliss and Silvertip finished just 27 seconds apart, taking third and fourth place, with Sassafras closing the race in fifth place.
The evening’s social schedule took a more relaxed form, with the Millennium Cup and Bay of Islands Sailing Week joining together for the Southern Spars sponsored drinks and barbeque on the Opua harbour side.
With two races complete the scoreboard after two days is now incredibly close. Silencio sits in first place with two points, with Janice of Wyoming, Bliss and Silvertip tied on six points apiece and Sassafras on 10 points. In the Pacific Division, with one win each Antaeus and Steinlager 2 are tied on two points. Racing concludes tomorrow and the close scoreboard ensures that every maneuver and course gain will count in the final push for the Cup.
Ed Dubois weighs on the yachts he’s designed which will go head to head in January’s New Zealand Millennium Cup.
The New Zealand Millennium Cup is excited to once more have a number of Dubois-designed yachts in the line up.
Janice of Wyoming, Silvertip and Bliss are all Dubois-designed yachts with strong reputations for whipping around a course. We sat down with Ed Dubois for his take on the importance of an industry that is geographically removed from the wider global industry, yet integrally connected.
“We are very excited to see that the Millennium Cup is being held once again in 2015. The new venue of the Bay of Islands, along with its well established regatta, is especially exciting for a number of reasons,” says Dubois.
“Firstly, it is one of the most beautiful coastal areas in the world and ideally suited for yacht racing.
“Secondly, it brings the large New Zealand-built yachts into an area and environment that particularly suits them; beautiful and away from the everyday rush and bustle of a city atmosphere and in an archipelago of islands that provides for stunningly scenic courses to be set,” he says.
Dubois’ connection with the New Zealand industry has been long and fruitful, with a number of award-winning yachts standing as testimony to both his skill and that of local yards and craftsmen. In recognition of that long association, the NZ Millennium Cup committee have named a day’s racing ‘Ed Dubois Race Day’.
“We have been fortunate, as a design office, to have had 37 large yachts built in New Zealand over a period of just under 30 years. This represents, astonishingly, just over $NZ1billion worth of contracts.”
“This large fleet not only represents our design input and experience; it is testament to the extraordinary yacht building skills and excellence that has been built up in New Zealand and which has reached the very highest level, worldwide.
The craftsman, engineers, spar builders and sail makers that have created this truly phenomenal industry should be congratulated on this extraordinary achievement. Some examples of their excellent work can be seen racing in the waters of the Bay of Islands in January 2015”
The regatta runs from the 21-23 January in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, and will once again be handicapped to ISYR by Jim Teeters, to ensure close-fought, fun racing.
Organised by the NZ Marine Export Group, the regatta is complemented by a range of onshore hospitality events, and runs concurrently with New Zealand’s biggest domestic regatta; Bay of Islands Sailing Week, delivering an unbeatable atmosphere of camaraderie to overseas guests.
Returning to the race are Janice of Wyoming, Bliss and Silvertip; all veterans of the race who’ve experienced first hand the New Zealand Millennium Cup experience and who are looking forward to battling it out once more for supremacy. Entries to date also include five-time circumnavigator, Silencio. The 50-metre Perini Navi comes fresh from a run of successful regattas which include taking third in class at this February’s St Barth’s Bucket and victory in the 2013 Perini Navi Cup.
Joining her is 34.2-metre Royal Huisman, Sassafras, with new EC6 carbon rigging by sponsor Southern Spars. The sloop was designed by Fontaine-Hood for comfort over long distances as well as power under sail, and organisers are very much looking forward to seeing that power demonstrated as the fleet weaves through the Bay of Islands.
In a separate Pacific Division, special guests Steinlager 2 and Antaeus will go head to head, to the sure delight of local yacht watchers who know Steinlager from her unbeaten Round the World campaign records.
Day one of racing sees Silencio win the Millennium Cup division and Antaeus takes line honours to win the Pacific Cup division.
Following yesterday’s welcome function at Russell’s historic Duke of Marlborough, the quest for the New Zealand Millennium Cup began today with the Ed Dubois Race Day.
In their first time challenging for the Cup 50m Silencio was first off the mark at 11:30, crossing the line and quickly unfurling their distinctive gennaker. Before racing commenced the yacht and her crew had unleashed their competitive spirit by performing a rousing version of the Haka, guided by members of the local iwi (people of the land).
Next across the line was Antaeus at 11:43 followed by fellow Pacific Division competitor, the iconic Steinlager 2 at 12:04, with the latter making for a distinctive sight as ‘Big Red’ headed off in ready pursuit of the two yachts before her.
With the first three yachts underway, the remaining four circled as they counted down to their start times. Sassafras was across the line at 12:17, quickly followed by Janice of Wyoming at 12:19, Bliss at 12:26 and finally Silvertip at 12:31, executing an extremely slick start.
With fair breezes, the yachts made good progress and by the time the yachts had reached the first mark, the Motuterakihi Island Buoy, Silvertip and Bliss had both overtaken Janice of Wyoming and Sassafras, with Silvertip then moving ahead of Bliss before turning for the second mark, Ninepin Island.
This left Silencio and Antaeus taking the lead, followed in third place by Steinlager. After rounding Ninepin Island, the next mark was Red Head Buoy followed by Roberton Island Buoy and at that point, with winds having dropped slightly, race organisers made the decision to cut the final mark to shorten the course. Antaeus then took the lead towards the finish, taking line honours and first place in the Pacific Division.
But it was Silencio who crossed the line to take victory in the first day of racing, gaining them an all-important first place on the scoreboard for the Millennium Cup. Thrilled with the result, the win was celebrated with champagne by the delighted owner and crew.
With the first two yachts home, next to cross the line was Steinlager 2, which came storming down towards the finish to take third place on the line and second place in the Pacific Division.
Fourth on the line, and second place went to Silvertip which had made good gains, but with the shortened course had lost the legroom they needed to climb the rankings towards the finish. Close behind was Bliss, which claimed the final podium spot to the sound of AC/DCs Highway to Hell, with Janice of Wyoming taking fourth place and Sassafras in fifth.
With racing over for the day the evening’s social function was a Taste of Bay of Islands event at 35° South restaurant in Paihia. Five of the region’s leading wineries were on hand to showcase their range of wines in the beautiful open-air surroundings. After greeting guests MC Peter Montgomery then welcomed the day’s race namesake, Ed Dubois of Dubois Naval Architects, to the stage. “Today was named for Ed Dubois to honour an outstanding designer who has designed an incredible 37 yachts built in New Zealand in the last 30 years,” said Montgomery.
“Ladies and Gentleman, I love New Zealand,” declared Dubois. “It is an honour to have a race named for me, but really it is me who should be thanking the New Zealand marine industry for building such spectacular yachts.” Dubois then went on the thank the visionary owners behind the many Dubois yacht projects built in New Zealand, including the owners of Bliss, Silvertip and Janice of Wyoming who are all long-term supporters of the country. Dubois also paid tribute to the yacht builders of New Zealand, particularly Tony Hambrook, MD of Alloy Yachts, and Ian Cook, MD of Yachting Developments.
After a short talk on the region’s wine offerings from Rod MacIvor of Marsden Estate it was on to the results of the day. Silencio’s victory was then formally announced, followed by spot yacht prizes generously provided by sponsors. Day Two, Ocean Media Race Day, will see the yachts line up again at 11:30 and with two races to go it is still all to play for.
A superyacht regatta in one of the world's great natural playgrounds
All photos ©Jeff Brown Breed Media