Twenty-one years ago, the first edition of the New Zealand Millennium Cup complemented the 30th America’s Cup, taking place in Auckland. Things have come full circle, with the America’s Cup and the Millennium Cup both returning to New Zealand this year.
The South Pacific’s leading superyacht regatta, the Millennium Cup starts on February 16, one day after a welcome reception. Sassafras, Janice of Wyoming, Silvertip, Tawera, Pumula (below), and Ammonite are just some of the 12 competitors in the three-day event. Many of them are repeat competitors as well, vying for honors on the waters of Northland’s Bay of Islands. Rocks and some islands will serve as marks for the course. So, too, will inflatable buoys and boats, as is tradition.
While the racing is definitely action-oriented, the overall atmosphere for the event is relaxed. In fact, the Cup leverages its location to introduce more owners and guests to the cruising grounds of New Zealand. Simultaneously, the organizers leverage the event to raise awareness of the country’s refit and repair services.
This year, the New Zealand Millennium Cup is further emphasizing sustainability. For instance, prior to press time, organizers applied for Gold Clean Regatta status. The Clean Regattas program, purely voluntary, is the only sustainability certification for water-based events. High-profile races like the Newport Bermuda Race have received the status previously. Among the steps the upcoming regatta is taking to comply includes eschewing plastic water bottles. Furthermore, organizers are encouraging the use of biodegradable sail ties. Additionally, sponsors have taken up sustainability initiatives.
Refit yard Orams Marine, for example, captures storm-water runoff as well as water used during refits. It then uses a treatment plant to purify it all. North Sails, meanwhile, is employing recycled materials in its sails and components. In fact, it’s producing polyester fiber from discarded PET bottles for webbings, cordage, and its sail ties, among other things.
For more on the regatta, check the website for the notice of race.
New Zealand Millennium Cup millenniumcup.com