Photography by Jeff Brown
The Bay of Islands is formed of 144 islets and, from 30 January to 2 February, it will host a fleet of superyachts racing through its emerald waters and tearing around its sand-fringed shores.
A series of courses will display the cruising ground to its best advantage while giving some of New Zealand’s best sailors a chance to show off their home turf.
“Short courses with three start options along with one long course promise to provide variety as the regatta progresses, and gives race management flexibility to work with New Zealand’s changeable conditions to create fierce, fun racing,” says NZ Millennium Cup Race Officer of the Day, Harold Bennett.
The Cup is in its 11th edition this year, and was first raced as an adjunct to the 30th America’s Cup in Auckland. Now, with the 36th America’s Cup approaching, organisers have been excited to see an increase of interest both in the regatta and in New Zealand’s wider cruising grounds.
The ORC Superyacht Rule promises exceptionally close racing, with ORC officials joining the race-management team on the water and courses designed for race excitement.
“Doyle Sails New Zealand is especially looking forward to this year’s NZ Millennium Cup under the ORC Superyacht Rule (ORCsy). It’s always been such a pleasure to be a part of this world-class regatta and now it will be recognised under a world-class rating system,” says Doyle Sails’ Mike Sanderson, former winner of the ISAF Sailor of the Year Award.
We’re pleased to welcome back our long time supporters, Sassafras, Tawera and Silvertip as well as new entry Freya and returning entry Thalia. They’re very evenly matched so we’re looking forward to an epic showdown, says Cup organiser, Stacey Cook.
Royal Husiman-built Sassafras cuts an elegant figure on the Bay of Islands waters and is much-loved for her grace around the course.
“Being a regular visitor to the Bay of Islands makes the NZ Millennium Cup a great way to enhance our time in this stunning part of New Zealand,” says Sassafras Captain Tim Michalick.
The regatta has become a certified Clean Regatta to ensure it’s gentle on the environment. That means no single use plastic, minimised paper waste, stringent recycling and a number of other initiatives.
“Our beautiful environment and natural heritage play a huge part in what makes the Cup so special and it was a no-brainer to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect this spectacular part of the world. From reusable metal water bottles for every yacht, to banning single use plastic, we feel very positive about becoming a Clean Regatta,” says organiser Stacey Cook.