Winner of NZ Millennium Cup Crowned

By George Bains

The final day of the NZ Millennium Cup action has drawn to a close with celebrations marked by dolphins and booming cannons.

The final day of the NZ Millennium Cup action has drawn to a close with celebrations marked by dolphins and booming cannons.

Though the final day lacked the breeze that had helped the action on previous days, the race committee worked to plan a race around the conditions. The decision to move the fleet to Motuarohia Island not only made the most of the beautiful weather, but also provided an opportunity to swim with dolphins.

At 3pm, however, an announcement was made to cancel racing for the day, with Miss Silver awarded the overall victory. “Due to the unstable nature of the current weather conditions, and the time which it would take to get underway before the cut off point, we will now display AP over A; no more racing today,” declared principal race officer, Harold Bennett.

Despite the cancellation of the racing, the competing yachts were able to enjoy some of the best of the Bay of Islands, one of New Zealand’s most enthralling cruising grounds. The local dolphin pod has become a much-loved feature of the regatta and crew were thrilled to be joined by them as they cooled off in the turquoise Bay of Islands waters. Crew took advantage of the opportunity to relax and dive into the waters of Motuarohia to swim with the dolphins.

Returning to the race HQ in Russell, Aschanti IV cruised through the other yachts already at anchor before Catalina shot off a cannon and whipped across the Bay towards Waitangi. With sails up and sailing strongly, spectators on the shores were treated to the sight of the 1956 Burmester-built yacht in full flight.

Prizegiving was held at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel where Miss Silver was crowned the 2021 winner. The 36.2m Alloy Yacht won three of three races which were handicapped by the ORCsy using the PCS system, a first in superyacht regattas.

The NZ Millennium Cup is one of the world’s most prestigious superyacht regattas, with a reputation as a fun, hospitable, yet fiercely competitive regatta. The Cup marks the final stanza in an exhilarating season of racing in New Zealand, where Emirates Team New Zealand recently won the 36th America’s Cup.

The regatta was first held alongside the 2000 America’s Cup and is the longest running superyacht regatta in the South Pacific. Plans are already in place for next year’s regatta, returning to Russell and the Bay of Islands from 14-17 February 2022.

By George Bains