Photography by Breed Media
13 November 2020
The New Zealand Millennium Cup will be one of the first global superyacht regatta held in close to a year, marking a moment for the industry to gather and for owners, guests and crew to enjoy competitive, fun racing.
Veteran of the world’s classic regattas, Aschanti IV has taken up the challenge and entered, alongside New Zealand-built boat, Miss Silver. Royal Huisman’s 31-metre Whirlwind XIII is the second Royal Huisman entry, joining the 34-metre returning campaigner, Sassafras.
Firebird is an Oyster yacht which has joined the racing; and the world-cruising sloop boasts a performance deck and rig package and has previously claimed victory in the Oyster Palma Regatta.
The new entrants join a line up of yachts, including previous winner of multiple editions Tawera, that have already signed on to compete in the regatta, which takes place in the one of the globe’s greatest cruising grounds; the Bay of Islands.
“We’re looking forward to taking competitors to the Bay of Islands in the north of New Zealand, to experience this incredibly-special part of the world,” says event manager Stacey Cook.
“New Zealand in early 2021 will truly be the place to be for anyone passionate about exceptional yacht racing, and we’re looking forward to welcoming guests to this beautiful region.”
“If this isn’t heaven, then it’s just next door,” said sailing legend Peter Montgomery when describing sailing in the Bay of Islands in his role as regatta ambassador, and most entrants to the race agree with him.
The historic village of Russell is the gateway to the Bay of Islands and is also known as Kororāreka – or sweet penguin. Today, the little blue penguins that give it its name still wander up the beach to nest under the wooden boards of beachside buildings; many built when Europeans first arrived in New Zealand.
Race HQ is the Duke of Marlborough – an historic establishment which was the first place in New Zealand to be granted a license and which has been refreshing rascals and reprobates ever since – the perfect home for this regatta full of camaraderie, fierce racing and fun.
The NZ Millennium Cup’s first edition was in 2000 and it 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.