With Peter Montgomery, MBE’s, iconic voice ringing out over the Bay of Islands, the countdown to the 2016 New Zealand Millennium Cup is over.
Tonight, 26 January, saw a welcome function kicking off festivities as owners, crew and sponsors were welcomed to the most southerly superyacht regatta in the world. The well-known voice of sailing drew attention to the history of the Duke of Marlborough which hosted the event; renowned for entertaining adventurers, reprobates and rascals since the birth of the modern New Zealand nation.
The regatta, staged by the NZ Marine Export Group, is held in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands; one of the world’s great natural playgrounds. From 26 to 29 of January, eight boats will race in the emerald waters off the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, through challenging courses that make the most of the stunning scenery.
Kealoha, Tawera, and Shamoun, form three of the four new entries in the regatta, alongside Allegro in the Pacific division – joining experienced campaigners Janice of Wyoming and Silvertip, Antaeus and Steinlager II.
Janice of Wyoming, the 40m sloop built by Alloy Yachts and designed by silver sponsor Dubois, knows the Millennium Cup well, competing in the last four regattas.
Former champion and one of Janice’s rivals, 33.8m Silvertip will also return this year. Built by gold sponsor Yachting Developments and also designed by Dubois, Silvertip is a stunning high-performance sloop launched in 2002 with a history of successful campaigns in the NZ Millennium Cup.
After a 20-year absence from New Zealand shores, Tawera (ex Catalyst) will also join the fleet and this year’s regatta also welcomes Kealoha, a 27.5 metre sloop from the Netherland’s Claasen Shipyards and Hoek Design. A charter vessel fully equipped for worldwide cruising, Captain James Saddington says he’s excited to bring Kealoha down to the South Pacific to race in the picturesque Bay of Islands in what will be her first NZ Millennium Cup regatta.
This might be experienced campaigner, Shamoun’s first Millennium Cup, but she is no stranger to racing, having competed in the St Bart’s Bucket Regatta, the Superyacht Cup in Palma, and most recently the Asia Superyacht Rendezvous.
The Cup is supported by a number of sponsors, including platinum sponsor Orams Marine, and gold sponsors Smuggler Marine, Far North Holdings/Port Opua, Doyle Sails New Zealand and Yachting Developments.
Silver sponsors include OnFire Design, Dubois, Breed Media, Integrated Marine Group, Robinson Interiors and Southern Spars/North Sails.
Thanks also goes to Holton Marine, Maxwell Marine, Whiting Power Systems, Harken New Zealand – Fosters, Events Clothing, Kit Carlier Design, McMullen & Wing, Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders, Q-West, NZ Marine and Composites Industry Training Organisation, Mount Gay Rum, COAST New Zealand, Hancocks and our media sponsors The Superyacht Owner and Ocean Media.