A superyacht regatta in one of the world's great natural playgrounds
All photos ©Jeff Brown Breed Media
The world’s most southerly superyacht regatta has released its 2018 notice of race. The New Zealand Millennium Cup attracts yachts with a penchant for adventure and was first run as an accompaniment to the 2000 America’s Cup in Auckland.
2018’s edition will be raced in New Zealand’s subtropical playground of the Bay of Islands from 23 - 26 January and is already drawing in entries from across the Pacific. With the next America’s Cup series likely to be raced in Auckland, NZ Millennium Cup organisers are expecting to see a quick uptick in entries over the next four years as increasing numbers of yachts discover the delights of Pacific cruising.
First time entrant, Ammonite will make her way to the regatta from Tonga. The Southern Wind-built yacht is a member of the Royal Namuka Yacht Club in Tonga and will be carrying the club’s founder - renowned adventurer Don McIntyre, when she races in the Cup.
“We will have a crack crew assembled for the Cup including Olympians Matt Belcher and Will Ryan; who are current 470 World champions. We are still learning about the yacht after only three regattas, and we are keen to do well and really looking forward to being in the Bay of Islands,” said Ammonite owner, Marcus Blackmore.
Ammonite will be joined by 2017 entrants, Tawera, Janice of Wyoming and Silvertip, alongside Royal Huisman-built Sassafras. Silvertip cuts a regular, sleek figure on Millennium Cup courses and her owner is looking forward to returning to the race in 2018.
"We have raced the Millennium Cup multiple times with Silvertip since its first edition in 2000, and won it twice. It is always a special event which deserves much more success. Racing in the Bay of Islands surrounded by a dolphin pod playing at the bow is always a treat. The organisation is flawless, the scenery second to none and the racing quite competitive. Any superyacht cruising in the Pacific should make a point of doing the Mill Cup,” said the 34-metre’s owner.
This year’s Cup will be raced under the auspices of Russell Boating Club, with the ISYR’s Jim Teeters controlling handicapping. As the first regatta of the year on the superyacht circuit, the Cup attracts yachts which enjoy the camaraderie and adventure of a regatta that’s out of the ordinary.
The backdrop of the Bay of Islands makes for spectacular, but challenging, courses and New Zealand’s famous brand of hospitality means on-shore events are carried out to an exceptional standard with an inescapable element of Kiwi warmth and flair.
Central Auckland shipyard, Orams Marine returns as platinum sponsor of the event, with many of the yachts competing carrying hallmarks of the yard’s work.
This year two media sponsors have lined up to be involved. Leading Australasian superyacht magazine, Ocean Media is once again lending its support to the regatta and is joined by European heavyweight Boat International. Long time supporter of the regatta, Smuggler Marine, has returned to the regatta as a gold sponsor, alongside Doyle Sails New Zealand and Bay of Islands Marina. They’re joined by silver sponsors Onfire Design, Breed Media, and COAST New Zealand.
Headed by the NZ Marine Export Group and a dedicated committee, the event is always one which supplies a wealth of exciting racing, and which is becoming well-known as a must-do regatta for yacht owners who like to get off the beaten track.
The regatta is designed to highlight the importance of the superyacht sector in New Zealand’s marine industry, as well as showcase some of the country’s most visually-striking cruising grounds in a truly unique manner.
Featuring great racing, adventurous yachts, unbeatable cruising scenery and an inside look into New Zealand’s marine industry, the highly-anticipated NZ Millennium Cup is one to add to 2018’s racing calendar.