The South Pacific’s premier regatta is officially underway, marked by a welcome function hosting owners, crew and sponsors of the world’s most southerly superyacht regatta.
The 2017 New Zealand Millennium Cup was officially declared open this evening, 24 January, with a welcome function kicking off festivities.
With sailing icon Peter Montgomery’s well-known voice drawing the fleet into the historic waterside town of Russell, owners, captains, crew and industry came to celebrate the start of the world’s most southerly superyacht regatta.
The regatta, staged by the NZ Marine Export Group, is held in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands; one of the world’s great natural playgrounds. The fleet was welcomed to the regatta at the Duke of Marlborough; renowned for entertaining adventurers, reprobates and rascals since the birth of the modern New Zealand nation.
From 24 to 27 January, eight yachts will battle it out in the beautiful surrounds, through challenging courses that make the most of the stunning scenery, and amidst over 100 TP52’s and sports boats competing in Bay of Islands Sailing Week. The ninth NZ Millennium Cup will see repeat campaigners face off against new entries in the race for the title.
40-metre Janice of Wyoming, returns to the Cup for the sixth time, with the Ed Dubois design’s familiarity with New Zealand waters, and her fiercely competitive crew making her one to watch on the water.
Her fellow Alloy Yachts build, and 2016 winner, Tawera (ex Catalyst) will again join the fleet, with owners Mike and Tracy Mahoney set to defend the title as she returns to the fleet for the second time. This year she will race with her designer, Ron Holland, aboard her.
Silvertip cuts a recognisable figure on the course. Built by gold sponsor Yachting Developments, her shark-like ability to hunt down her competition after a Mark Foy start is legendary among spectators.
The three new entries of Pumula, Cavallo and Farfalla won’t make it easy on the experienced campaigners though. The name of 37-metre Pumula, may mean rest in Zulu, but the Royal Huisman is sure to show a strong turn of speed on the course.
Southern Wind’s Farfalla, at 31.78metres, is a yacht built for performance which will cut a sleek figure amongst the boats on the Bay, while high speed, carbon performance yacht, 43-metre Cavallo, is sure to thrill spectators.
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. Joining her in the Pacific Division is returning 2015 entry; Antaeus. She, along with Steinlager 2, will have a wardrobe of Doyle New Zealand sails to see her around the course.
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 – 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.
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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