Five sailing superyachts—so far—are heading to New Zealand for a perennial favorite regatta. The NZ Millennium Cup, about a month away, celebrates good racing, good cruising grounds, and good fun. For 2019, it’s adding one more “good” to the list: good environmental stewardship. Given the race’s new status as a Clean Regatta, NZ Millennium Cup competitors can feel confident about leaving as little an impact on the ocean environment as possible.
The history of the regatta goes back to the year 2000. It coincided with the America’s Cup taking place in New Zealand, in fact. A variety of marine companies decided to create a superyacht-specific race, to provide visiting yacht owners with more reasons to enjoy themselves. Simultaneously, these companies believed they could show off New Zealand’s famed cruising grounds. The race has now become an annual event.
For 2019, the NZ Millennium Cup competitors will meet up from January 30 through February 2. The race course is amid Northland’s Bay of Islands. The Bay is comprised of 144 islets and islands, naturally stunning scenery. In fact, the owner of Silvertip, a returning racer, considers it “second to none.” He adds, “Racing in the Bay of Island surrounded by a dolphin pod playing at the bow is always a treat.”
Besides Silvertip, returning NZ Millennium Cup competitors include Janice of Wyoming, Sassafras, and Tawera. Joining them for the first time: Freya. Regardless of experience, the crews should enjoy some new, challenging courses.
As part of the Clean Regatta initiative, the event will see each yacht receive reusable metal water bottles. This, in turn, replaces all plastic water bottles. In fact, the organizers have banned all single-use plastic. “Our beautiful environment and natural heritage play a huge part in what makes the Cup so special,” says Stacey Cook, the event organizer. “It was a no-brainer to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect this spectacular part of the world.”
Simultaneously, with the America’s Cup returning to New Zealand in 2021, the team is promoting the event for the coming years. Already, potential NZ Millennium Cup competitors are signing up for 2020 and 2021, Cook says. These include J Class yachts. “The J Class Association has also accepted our invitation to race in 2021,” Cook adds. “We know having the strikingly elegant classic yachts race alongside the NZ Millennium Cup will add an extra dimension to our racing.”
For the more immediate regatta, though, there’s a way everyone can follow the action. The event organizers created a free app for Apple and Android devices.