The Millennium Cup’s focus since the inaugural event in 2000 has been to promote New Zealand cruising grounds. Simultaneously, it has promoted New Zealand megayacht builders, refit yards, and related companies. The two goals have been wrapped within a few days of competitive sailing and camaraderie. The Millennium Cup is set to repeat all of this again in 2015, with seven registered competitors so far.
While the Millennium Cup organizers aren’t revealing who’s racing from January 21 to 23, the largest is a 164-footer (50-meter). Regardless, previous participants include Zefiro, Silvertip, and Janice of Wyoming (pictured). The Millennium Cup typically attracts yachts enjoying the South Pacific’s summer season. The number of yachts sailing there has increased steadily since 2000.
There are two notable changes for this year’s race. First is the location, the Bay of Islands. The second: The Millennium Cup is being held in conjunction with the Bay of Islands Sailing Week. This three-day regatta, entering its 13th year, is quite high profile.
Otherwise, the Millennium Cup will have parties, daily captains’ briefings, and of course spirited competition. The race course is tailored for the participating yachts’ abilities. Handicapping will be via the International Superyacht Rule. The welcoming party is being held at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, a historic place in an equally historic village, Russell. (On another note, the hotel’s website proudly states, “The Duke holds New Zealand’s first liquor license and has been refreshing rascals and reprobates since 1827.”) Sure to be of special interest to Millennium Cup participants—owners and crew—is the wine-tasting experience. Each yacht will be paired with a vineyard to sample its wines and learn more overall about New Zealand’s wine industry.