The New Zealand Millennium Cup is set to get underway on the 26 January with an excited fleet ready to race in one of the world’s great natural playgrounds.
After a standout 2015 regatta, the sunny Bay of Islands is set to host its second New Zealand Millennium Cup, and with just a week to go until racing begins, entries are making their way to New Zealand’s Far North.
From 26 to 29 of January, eight boats will race in the emerald waters off the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, through challenging courses that make the most of the stunning scenery. The eighth edition of the Cup will see a balance of first time entries and long-time competitors face off in a sensational few days in one of the world’s great natural playgrounds.
Four new entries will line up for the regatta – Kealoha, Tawera, Shamoun, and in the Pacific division, Allegro – keeping experienced campaigners Janice of Wyoming and Silvertip on their toes throughout the week.
Janice of Wyoming, the 40m sloop built by Alloy Yachts and designed by silver sponsor Dubois, knows the Millennium Cup well, competing in the last four regattas. Named after her owner’s home state in the US, the Ed Dubois design launched in 2005 and has sailed all over the globe, but her familiarity with New Zealand waters, and her Cup experience, will stand her in good stead for the regatta. After a winter refit at platinum sponsor Orams Marine last year, Janice is ready and raring to go.
Former champion and one of Janice’s rivals, 33.8m Silvertip will also return this year. Built by gold sponsor Yachting Developments and also designed by Dubois, Silvertip is a stunning high-performance sloop launched in 2002 to much fanfare – winning both the International Superyacht Society award and the Showboats Design Award for Best Sailing Yacht upon her launch. Silvertip won the 2009 and 2012 Millennium Cup; a podium position Captain Blair McLeod would love to have again.
After a 20-year absence from New Zealand shores, Tawera (ex Catalyst) will also join the fleet. While she spends most of her time as a charter yacht in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, Tawera’s owners Mike and Tracy Mahoney joined Silvertip for last year’s regatta, and decided he had to come back – this time with his own boat. The 28-metre, 1995 Alloy Yachts build has every opportunity to take out this year’s Cup.
This year’s regatta welcomes Kealoha, a 27.5 metre sloop from the Netherland’s Claasen Shipyards and Hoek Design. Upon launch, Kealoha impressed the worldwide sailing community, picking up the 2007 International Superyacht Design Award in the Best Sailing Yacht: 24m – 40m category. A charter vessel fully equipped for worldwide cruising, Captain James Saddington says he’s excited to bring Kealoha down to the South Pacific to race in the picturesque Bay of Islands in what will be her first NZ Millennium Cup regatta.
While this will be Shamoun’s first Millennium Cup, she is no stranger to racing, having competed in the St Bart’s Bucket Regatta, the Superyacht Cup in Palma, and most recently the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous. Another Claasen Shipyards-build and Hoek design, 33 metre Shamoun won Best Sailing Yacht at the 2013 Singapore Boat Show. As the last classic yacht to have been built in the 20th century, she’s looking forward to showing the newer models what she can do on the water.
With last year’s Pacific division title coming down to a winner-takes-all final race, the division has added another yacht – Allegro – to compete with 2015’s champion Steinlager II and Antaeus. Allegro comes to the race, hot off the back of a fierce Sydney to Hobart race and is looking forward to stretching her legs in the very different conditions of the Bay of Islands. The Azzura Yachts-built, Warwick 67 is known for her speed without sacrificing style.
New Zealand legend, Steinlager 2, is set to thrill local crowds, as she races around the course in top condition after her extensive 2014 refit with gold sponsor, Yachting Developments. The maxi yacht holds a place dear to New Zealanders’ hearts for her exceptional race record, including being the only yacht to have won all six legs of the Whitbread Round the World race.
Joining them in the Pacific Division is returning 2015 entry; Antaeus. The yacht’s owner and crew thoroughly enjoy the chance to support the NZ Marine Export Group, while sailing alongside superyachts in the magnificent Bay of Islands. She, along with Shamoun and Steinlager 2, will have a wardrobe of Doyle New Zealand sails to see her around the course.
The New Zealand Millennium Cup is organised by the NZ Marine Export Group and a group of dedicated New Zealand superyacht figures. With three days of high quality racing, exceptional hospitality and stunning views in one of the most picturesque cruising destinations in the world, this event is truly unique and a must-see.
As a focal point for both the local industry and for the global brands looking for more exposure in the growing Asia Pacific market, the NZ Millennium Cup has welcomed a number of sponsors on board, including platinum sponsor Orams Marine, and gold sponsors Smuggler Marine, Far North Holdings/Port Opua, Doyle Sails New Zealand and Yachting Developments.
Silver sponsors include OnFire Design, Dubois, Breed Media, Integrated Marine Group, Robinson Interiors and Southern Spars/North Sails.
Thanks also goes to Holton Marine, Maxwell Marine, Whiting Power Systems, Harken New Zealand – Fosters, Events Clothing, Kit Carlier Design, McMullen & Wing, Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders, Q-West, NZ Marine and Composites Industry Training Organisation, Mount Gay Rum, COAST New Zealand, Hancocks and our media sponsors The Superyacht Owner and Ocean Media.
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A superyacht regatta in one of the world's great natural playgrounds
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All photos ©Jeff Brown Breed Media