Photography by Jeff Brown
The New Zealand Millennium Cup is ready to race in 2021. The regatta is raced among the bays and coves of the Bay of Islands; the historic heart of New Zealand’s maritime life. Designed as a showcase of New Zealand’s best, it introduces superyacht owners to the New Zealand of warm welcomes, relaxed hospitality and outstanding scenery.
When this year’s edition kicks off on 15 February, it will be with a line-up of entries boasting impressive regatta credentials. The 34.8-metre Aschanti IV joins the regatta after racing in the inaugural regatta in 2000 and will bring her elegant, traditional lines to the course as well as a wealth of regatta experience.
Close in size to Aschanti IV, though not in appearance, the 36.2-metre Miss Silver is a sloop with the modern exterior lines of a Dubois design.
Like Miss Silver, fellow entry Silvertip is built to a Dubois design and was created in New Zealand. She’s a repeat campaigner that has become a firm favourite on the course with spectators for her all-in approach to winning and adding immensely to the fun of the regatta off the course.
Royal Huisman-built Sassafras is all style and grace during racing and will be looking forward to meeting fellow former competitors Silvertip and Tawera come February. She’ll be joined by Royal Huisman’s Whirlwind XII; an elegant sloop that promises to bring a new dimension to this year’s line up.
Noted by other competitors is Tawera. The previous winner of multiple editions of the Cup not only has a knack for quick performances. The yacht’s owners and crew bring with them a fleet of wooden skiffs and annually throw down a challenge to other crew to take a pause from wind power and pick up the oars in competition.
The Tawera Rum Barrel Challenge has become a fixture of the regatta in recent years.
Held on the second day of racing, crews gather on Russell’s Beach for a bombastic competition, including flying oars, dubious skill and plenty of tumbles. The prize is a hotly contested 20-litre barrel of Mount Gay Rum.
The New Zealand Millennium Cup is headquartered at the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell, a hub for New Zealand’s marine activity since Māori first arrived in voyaging waka around 700 years ago, followed by European whalers who made the town the largest whaling port in the Southern Hemisphere for a period of time in the early 1820s.
Running from 15–18 February 2021, the New Zealand Millennium Cup regatta is organised by the NZ Marine Export Group and is the longest-running superyacht regatta in the South Pacific.