Members of the public, even those on shore, will this year be able to enjoy close-up views of an impressive fleet of luxury superyachts as they compete in the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup on February 16-18.
Racing on the three days of this prestigious event will take place close to shore, in the Waitemata Harbour and inner Hauraki Gulf. This means those on vantage points at Devonport, North Head, Bastion Point, on the East Coast Bays and Whanagaparoa Peninsula, as well as along the Motutapu and Rangitoto shorelines, will be able to see all of the action as these luxurious 30-metre-plus vessels battle for supremacy.
NZ Millennium Cup organisers have designed courses that start and finish off Viaduct Harbour, ensuring there will also be good viewing at both ends of the races for those working in the CBD.
'Those watching, wherever they are, will be treated to a real spectacle,' says organising committee chairman, Stuart Robinson. 'These are some of the world’s most spectacular yachts and, when they fly their spinnakers, some will be carrying more than 1000 square metres of sail!
'Most people will never have seen anything like this before!'
Racing in this year’s NZ Millennium Cup will get underway on Thursday, February 16 with a harbour race. This will be followed on Friday and Saturday with races from Viaduct Harbour to the inner Hauraki Gulf islands and back. Racing on the three days gets underway at 11am.
While the NZ Millennium Cup does have an active social component, Robinson stresses that the racing is taken very seriously by the vessels’ owners, their guests and crews, and by the organisers.
'All of the races in the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup will be run by race management experts such as Ross Marwick and Hal Wagstaff from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
'These are the same race management teams that will be in charge a few weeks later, when the Volvo 70 Fleet arrive in Auckland, compete in their inshore race and then head away on the next leg of their race around the world.'
When not racing, the superyacht owners and their guests will be given the chance to experience some of New Zealand’s finest food and wine in a mixture of casual and formal settings. These will range from a 'Kiwi bach' themed post-race function in the Floating Pavilion to a formal gala dinner and prizegiving in The Cloud on Princes Wharf, complete with a charity auction to raise money for Coastguard.