A superyacht regatta in one of the world's great natural playgrounds
All photos ©Jeff Brown Breed Media
The first day of the world’s most southerly superyacht regatta, saw Tawera take line honours, on a bright, breezy day of racing.
Reigning champion, Tawera, crossed the line first today on the Orams Marine Race Day of the 2017 New Zealand Millennium Cup.
The 28-metre ketch secured her win with New Zealand sailing icon, Chris Dickson, and her designer Ron Holland onboard, giving owner and experienced helmsman Mike
Mahoney the tactical edge.
Handicapped to International Superyacht Rule (ISYR) by Jim Teeters, Tawera’s Mark Foy starting position saw her followed by 37-metre Pumula and then returning campaigner Janice of Wyoming; who stormed between two visiting cruise ships before crossing the start with dolphins leaping across her bow.
The Bay of islands has become Silvertip’s hunting ground, and hunt she did; crossing the start smoothly and setting off in pursuit of the three yachts in front of her. In pursuit of her were Farfalla and Cavallo; rated by the handicap as the fastest yachts in the fleet.
“What else could we ask for,” said North Sails’, Richard Bicknell, sailing on Janice of Wyoming. “It was perfect. Once the breeze kicked in we had up to 17 knots of breeze at times - it was great racing.”
Rounding the Orams Marine buoy, 43-metre Cavallo showed a quick turn of speed as she closed on Farfalla and Silvertip down to the next mark.
Silvertip took an inside line while Farfalla tacked to seaward as they headed for the Nine Pin. Approaching the mark, there was little between them, with a daring manoeuvre from Silvertip seeing her cut sharply in to the landmark. However it was Farfalla who carried the breeze and emerged in the lead as they pulled away from the Nine Pin.
Farfalla successfully covered Silvertip to the Motuterakihi buoy in a close duel.
“The breeze was a lot stiffer than forecasted and it made for some great racing. It was fantastic to see the race between Farfalla and Silvertip,” says Orams Marine’s Craig Park, who’s looking forward to seeing individual yachts use the changing conditions to their advantage with lighter breeze forecast throughout the rest of the week.
Out in front, Tawera was rounding the Red Head and heading for the Orams Marine buoy for the final time, with Janice of Wyoming’s distinctive bucking bronco gennaker visible on the horizon as she pursued her fellow returning campaigner.
Pumula was crossing the Bay towards the Red Head with Janice of Wyoming in her sights, and flanked by the Pacific Division’s Steinlager 2.
Onboard Pumula, Doyle Sails New Zealand’s, Matt Bridge was racing as technician. “The day went really well, we got lucky with the downwind legs. The wind shifted to a higher angle than we’d seen in the morning, which meant that not having a spinnaker wasn’t such a disadvantage to us.”
With Tawera already around the final mark and heading for home, the fleet was dotted across the Bay behind her. Pumula led Farfalla, Silvertip and Cavallo back from the Orams Marine buoy to the final mark. Janice was already rounding the mark, letting that distinctive gennaker fly again, while Antaeus led her Pacific Division-mate, Steinlager 2 around the mark.
Janice of Wyoming made up time on the last leg, but she couldn’t quite catch Tawera who crossed the finish two boat lengths ahead. Behind Janice came Steinlager 2, having overhauled Antaeus to come home first in the Pacific Division. Pumula was third across the line in the Millennium Cup, beating Farfalla by seconds, before Silvertip and Cavallo came thundering home.
“It was a classic Bay of Islands day - dolphins in the bow wave, and a breeze of between seven to 17 knots from the northwest providing passing lane opportunities for articulate technicians as they navigated around the course,” says Peter Busfield, CEO of the NZ Marine Export Group.
As a focal point for both the local industry and for the global brands looking for more exposure in Asia Pacific, 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 – Bay of Islands Marina, Doyle Sails New Zealand and Yachting Developments.
Silver sponsors include OnFire Design, Breed Media, COAST New Zealand, Events Clothing and Southern Spars/North Sails.
Thanks also goes to Tourism NZ, Propspeed, Holton Marine, Robinson Interiors, McMullen & Wing, Power Equipment, Q-West and Lancer Industries. We also extend our thanks to suppliers, Rogue Society, East Imperial, and Mount Gay Rum, alongside our media sponsors Superyacht World and Ocean Media.