A superyacht regatta in one of the world's great natural playgrounds
All photos ©Jeff Brown Breed Media
Nation of sailors New Zealand, is gearing up to play host to a fleet of adventurous superyachts gathering to race in the world’s most southerly superyacht regatta next week.
From 23 to 26 of January, six superyachts will battle it out in the beautiful Bay of Islands, across a series of courses which weave through a cruising ground of uninhabited islets and emerald waters. Hot off the country’s recent success at the America’s Cup, organisers are expecting a surge in entries over the next four years as New Zealand prepares to host the 36th America’s Cup in 2020 and the influx of superyachts which are already booking berths for the event.
Ensuring the regatta retains the fierce competition it’s known for, with entries often finishing seconds apart, ISYR creator Jim Teeters will be handicapping the race on site from New Zealand while former America’s Cup principle race officer, Harold Bennett will act as officer of the day.
The tenth NZ Millennium Cup will see new entries compete with seasoned campaigners for the title of champion and internationally renowned sailors have jumped on board to help. Tom Schnackenberg, Matt Belcher, Will Ryan, Tom Dodson, Tony Rae, and Richard Meacham are all lending their skills to competitors in the regatta.
The fleet of six includes 2017 winner, Tawera who will return to defend her titles.
“We're looking forward to heading North for what is always a slick, professional and thoroughly enjoyable regatta,” say owners Mike and Tracy Mahoney.
“For us, it's the combination of the NZ Millennium Cup’s fantastic racing and outstanding, relaxed hospitality - the camaraderie, parties and, of course, the sailing that make the event what it is. This year we're bringing six skiffs with us and planning on challenging our competitors to a mini regatta; battling it out on Thursday afternoon for the Tawera Rum Barrel Trophy.”
Fellow Alloy Yachts build, 40-metre Janice of Wyoming, has competed in the last six Millennium Cup regattas and is a favourite for spectators on the water. The Ed Dubois design launched in 2005 and has sailed all over the globe, but her familiarity with New Zealand waters, her Cup experience, and her fiercely competitive crew mean she’s one to watch on the water.
Powered by sponsors North Sails, 33.8metre 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.
Royal Huisman-built Sassafras is known for her elegant lines and was a keen competitor in 2015’s regatta.
“Being a regular visitor to the Bay of Islands makes the Millennium Cup a great way to enhance our time in this stunning part of New Zealand. While we may not be as 'sported-up' as some other contenders, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to push the yacht and have a lot of fun sailing around the course. We also firmly hope our participation adds to the interest in an event we support wholeheartedly,” says Captain Tim Michalick.
Two new entries will also be adding their names to the roll call of adventurous yachts who’ve experienced the world’s most southerly superyacht regatta. Southern Wind-built Ammonite is coming in strong and determined to be competitive on the course. Spectators are looking forward to seeing the showdown between her and Oyster Yacht Enso; Ammonite has previously taken on Enso’s sister ship Maegan, and bested her in the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2016.
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 do for adventurous owners.
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 is supported by a number of sponsors, including platinum sponsor Orams Marine, and gold sponsors Smuggler Marine, Bay of Islands Marina, Doyle Sails New Zealand and Servcorp.
Silver sponsors include OnFire Design, Breed Media, COAST New Zealand, Events Clothing, Southern Spars/North Sails, Upholstery Specialists and Martronics EAL.