Photography by Jeff Brown and Clive Bennett/NZ Marine
December and January have not been much of a holiday period for NZ Marine. In addition to its usual workload of managing the design and build of commercial vessels, running their industry and jobs directory and training programs, they also staged a successful superyacht welcome in December and are about to host their ninth superyacht regatta.
NZ Marine’s annual Superyacht welcome, held in December at the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron Westhaven Auckland, was attended by 140 Captains and crew and key marine industry representatives. Pictured above are Stuart Robinson, Robinson Interiors, Keith Drake from Babcock NZ, Peter Busfield CEO at NZ Marine and Captain Mark SY Atlantic.
The social event was a chance for industry suppliers to show solidarity in welcoming the visiting yacht Owners, Captains and Crew to New Zealand.
The crew of Tawera was one of 21 superyachts who enjoyed the welcomed. The 2016 Millennium Cup winner will stay on in New Zealand to join the fleet for this year’s edition of the regatta, in the hopes of keeping the title earned by their 28-metre Alloy Yachts build.
No doubt Tawera and the other seven yachts entered are deep in preparations for the January 24 start. The regatta will take them across challenging courses which weave through a cruising ground of uninhabited islets and emerald waters. Janice of Wyoming, is perhaps Tawera’s fiercest competition. The fellow Alloy Yachts build has competed in the last five regattas and touts a fiercely competitive crew.
Another yacht to watch will be 33.8-metre Silvertip built by gold sponsor Yachting Developments, the stunning high-performance sloop launched in 2002 won the International Superyacht Society award and the Showboats Design Award for Best Sailing Yacht upon her launch.
The three new entries of Pumula, Cavallo and Farfalla won’t make it easy on the experienced campaigners though. Southern Wind’s Farfalla, at 31.78 metres, is a yacht built for performance which will cut a sleek figure amongst the boats on the Bay, while high-speed, carbon performance yacht, 43-metre Cavallo, is sure to thrill spectators.
New Zealand legend, Steinlager 2, is also in contention after her 2014 refit. Joining her in the Pacific Division is returning 2015 entry; Antaeus. Both Steinlager 2 and Antaeus will be outfitted by New Zealand’s own Doyle sails.
Organised by the Export Group arm of NZ Marine and a committee of dedicated superyacht figures, the Millennium Cup features three days of high quality racing in one of the most picturesque cruising destinations in the world. It takes places alongside domestic races from the Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta.
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 strongly supported by local companies. Sponsors include Smuggler Marine, Far North Holdings, Doyle Sails New Zealand, Yachting Developments, OnFire Design, Breed Media, Coast New Zealand, Events Clothing and Southern Spars/North Sails.
Platinum sponsor Orams Marine felt the immediate effects of its involvement in the regatta. It reported a year with more and larger yachts coming to New Zealand for service than ever before, including an annual service and comprehensive work on 39.7-metre Janice of Wyoming, and the installation of a removable inner forestay and removable bowsprit to 31.78-metre Southern Wind-built Farfalla.
At Orams Marine, we’ve had a full year with the busiest winter season to date. The yachts are getting bigger, there are more of them, and the work itself is more technically demanding. This is testimony that the industry and the NZ Millennium Cup Organising Committee, the NZ Marine Export Group, are achieving the goal of profiling New Zealand as a high-quality destination for refit and cruising,” says Orams Marine’s Craig Park.
As the start date approaches, you can almost feel the anticipation of the good racing, exploration of great cruising grounds and exceptional hospitality that the 2017 Millennium Cup will offer.