by Mike Rose
Silvertip winner of the Millennium Cup
Reigning NZ Millennium Cup champion, Silvertip, was declared the winner of the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup following the late abandonment of the Yachting Developments fourth race on Saturday, February 18.
Silvertip is a high performance 33.8-metre sloop built by Yachting Developments in Auckland in 2001. She was also the first yacht to ever win both the International Superyacht Society’s Best Sailing Yacht and Showboats’ Best Sailing Yacht awards in her class.
The 2012 NZ Millennium Cup was held on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour and picturesque Hauraki Gulf over three days: February 16-18.
Four races were scheduled: the first for Thursday, February 16, two for Friday, February 17 and the fourth, the Yachting Developments sponsored final race on Saturday, February 18.
Although the regatta was sailed in uncharacteristic light airs, mainly gentle sea breezes, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron race committee managed to complete the first three races. They also secured a start for the fourth race but were forced to call it off after three hours when the fleet sailed into a windless hole with only half of the race completed.
Despite the challenging conditions, Silvertip was a clear winner of the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup. Although she was one of the smallest yachts in the fleet, Silvertip was clearly the quickest in the light airs, winning both races on Friday and coming second in Thursday’s first race. She also overtook the rest of the fleet and was leading when the Yachting Developments fourth and final race was abandoned.
The impressive 48.5-metre Georgia, which was skippered by sailing legend Chris Dickson, was second in the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup regatta.
Built by Alloy Yachts in the west Auckland suburb of Henderson, Georgia, with a TV One news crew on board, won the opening race of the regatta. She then recorded a second and a third on the second day. If Dickson had also managed to get the gun in the final race, the large sloop could have been in contention for the title of 2012 NZ Millennium Cup champion.
The 44-metre Imagine, also built by Alloy Yachts and skippered by Emirates Team NZ’s Dean Barker, struggled ito get up to full speed n the light airs but still managed to finish third, with a third, a second and another third.
The NZ Millennium Cup, which was first held in Auckland in 2000 (between the Louis Vuitton Cup final and the start of the America’s Cup match), will now be held annually in the City of Sails.
The regatta is organised by NZ Marine Export Group, the industry association responsible for promoting the NZ Marine industry to the world, and is designed to showcase New Zealand’s impressive superyacht build and refit industry and facilities.
The NZ Millennium Cup is open to all superyachts, 30-metres LOA or more, and features a strong mix of sailing races and social events. It is the premier event for superyachts in the South Pacific with owners, crew and sponsors enjoying two informal post-race evenings and a gala prizegiving dinner.
Strongly supported by the New Zealand marine industry, the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup was generously sponsored by Platinum Sponsors: Yachting Developments; Gold Sponsors: Alloy Yachts, Integrated Marine Group and Touch of Spice; Silver Sponsors: Dubois Yachts, Events Clothing and Doyle Sails, Fitzroy Yachts and Smuggler Marine; Corporate Sponsors: Yard 37, ATEED, Waterfront Auckland; Media Partners: The Superyacht Group and Ocean Media and supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.