New Zealand’s summer of racing has continued with the start of the 2021 Millennium Cup.
Marking the beginning of this year’s event was the Southern Spars welcoming function held at the regatta’s HQ, the Duke of Marlborough Hotel last Sunday, 28 March. An event that celebrated the Russell’s colonial-era reputation as a wild Pacific port town with Mount Gay Rum-based cocktails.
Guests were also regaled by French sailing legend, Bruno Troublé.
Racing will commence 29 March at 11:00am NZT, or 9:00am AEST with a Northerly of 8–20 knits, easing into 8–13 by the afternoon. Gusts are expected to reach up to 17 kilometres per hour.
This year’s regatta will see entries compete across the Hauraki Gulf, including Mastercard Superyacht Regatta winner, Tawera.
Other entries include Sassafras, Aschanti IV, Miss Silver and Catalina.
The most distinctive change for this year’s regatta, however, will be the introduction of the new handicap scoring system: Performance Curve Scoring.
Developed by the Offshore Racing Congress for superyacht racing, the system uses an average wind speed experienced on the racecourse and computed on the elapsed time around the course of the winning boat in corrected time.
This will be the first time Performance Curve Scoring will be used in a superyacht regatta and is a welcomed addition according to entry representatives for this year’s Millennium Cup.
At a pre-race briefing, principal race officer, Harold Bennett, expanded to competitors regarding the plans for the race, explaining that during the morning race, there would be windward/leeward around the Ninepin as the top mark.
Bennett would go on to add that this afternoon’s races would be longer, embracing a combination of the many islands throughout the Bay of Islands and occasional buoys. The intention here being to ensure that the yachts are tested with on the wind, reaching and downwind legs.
First held alongside the 2000 America’s Cup, the Millennium Cup is the longest running superyacht regatta in the South Pacific – the event now in its 15th edition. This year’s platinum sponsor is Royal Huisman.
This year’s event is scheduled to run from the 28–31 March.
Notice of Race, sailing instruction amendments and live updates can be found here.