The New Zealand Millennium Cup, the highly regarded sailing regatta for superyachts, will next be contested as part of the Bay of Islands Sailing Week in January 2015.
This year’s Bay of Islands Sailing Week included over 70 yachts contesting three days of intense racing across several divisions and four race courses utilising the inner harbour between Paihia and Russell and the outer bay toward Cape Brett.
Peter Montgomery officially announced the link-up between the New Zealand Millennium Cup and the Bay of Islands Sailing Week at the prize-giving for this year’s regatta on Friday 24 January.
Peter Busfield, CEO of the New Zealand Marine Export Group which hosts the New Zealand Millennium Cup, says creating a dedicated superyacht race series within the Bay of Islands Sailing Week offers superyacht owners a fantastic opportunity to enjoy this increasingly popular regatta in one of New Zealand’s most attractive and popular marine playgrounds.
“For owners, guests and crew, the opportunity to sail a series of five races across three days in their own superyacht division within the well-run Bay of Islands Sailing Week regatta will be a lot of fun and have a real Kiwi vibe,” Busfield says.
“The regatta’s outer race courses offer deep water, great breezes and the splendour of racing past beautiful coves and islands in the third week of January, the height of the New Zealand summer.”
Busfield says, as New Zealand Millennium Cup hosts, the NZ Marine Export Group will ensure the focus is on superyacht owners, guests and crew being able to enjoy a fun, relaxed and competitive regatta.
“The timing, being mid-late January, works well for many superyachts who head to New Zealand for summer cruising, working their way down country from the Bay of Islands to Auckland and further south. Many often have maintenance and refit work completed with one of the many expert suppliers around New Zealand.
“Incorporating the New Zealand Millennium Cup in a vibrant and well-run regatta offers another attraction for a superyacht to visit New Zealand and maybe stay longer,” says Busfield. “We also envisage a flow-on benefit to Auckland and beyond from a larger number of superyachts and other cruising yachts visiting the Bay of Islands.”
New Zealand Customs recently extended the temporary import entry (TIE) period for visiting superyachts and cruising yachts to New Zealand from 12 months to 24 months, a decision which is expected to make New Zealand as a destination much more appealing, especially for vessels based in the Mediterranean and the United States which will now have greater flexibility to plan journeys down-under.
NZ Marine’s figures show about 700 yachts visit New Zealand each year. Around 660 vessels are under 25 metres in length, and tend to be self-skippered as they cruise the country’s attractive coastlines. Around 35 superyachts over 25 metres in length also visit on annual basis, often combining cruising and tourist activities with the opportunity to have their vessel fully or partly refitted or maintenance work completed by the many world-class marine sector service providers around the country.
The New Zealand Millennium Cup was established in 2000 where 70 sail and motor superyachts raced to Kawau Island and enjoyed Kiwi hospitality. It’s been contested four times since then with racing taking place in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.
“The New Zealand Millennium Cup is the premier superyacht regatta in the Southern Hemisphere,” says chairman of the NZ Marine Export Group Stuart Robinson. “We feel sure the move to Bay of Islands will benefit our participants, the New Zealand marine industry and the country as a whole by attracting greater numbers of superyacht owners and their guests who will enjoy many other aspects of New Zealand – our world-class wines, food, tourism activities, golf courses and accommodation – while they’re in the country.”
The chairman of the Bay of Islands Sailing Week Ray Haslar is excited that this already successful regatta will continue to expand with the addition of a superyacht division and chairman of Far North Holdings Ross Blackman is equally enthusiastic given the economic boost these international yachts will bring to the region.