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NZ Millennium Cup grows in fleet and economic footprint

by Annaleis Shearer on 30 Oct 2016
Superyacht entrants cut through the mouth of the Bay in the NZ Millennium Cup 2016 Jeff Brown
Two new superyacht entries, Pumula and Cavallo, have been announced for the NZ Millennium Cup (24-27 January), with local industry members reporting the event leads to direct economic growth for New Zealand.

Pumula has traversed the world since her launch in 2012, voyaging 52,000nm to the earth’s extremes. The 37m Royal Huisman-build has travelled to far-flung climes, from Spitsbergen to Antarctica, and Cape Horn to Alaska, before setting her sights on New Zealand.

Winner of the World Superyacht Award’s Sailing Yacht of the Year 2013, Pumula is now en-route to New Zealand from Polynesia. 2017 will mark a return to New Zealand’s waters for captain Michael Van Bregt who spent a summer season in Russell 25 years ago, though this will be the owners’ first time in NZ. Pumula’s entry was spurred by a recommendation from another new entrant, Baltic Yachts-built, 42.9-metre Cavallo.

'The owner of Pumula is an acquain tance of the owner of Cavallo and we ran into each other in Polynesia ,” says captain Van Bregt. “The owner of Cavallo emphasised the relaxed, social nature of the event.'

Another yacht of an intrepid ilk, Cavallo sailed from the Caribbean in May and spent the season cruising in French Polynesia. She will be available for charter in NZ after the 2017 NZ Millennium Cup in January, and in Fiji from April 2017.

Although it is the first time she will sail the Bay of Islands, the 2017 event will serve as a homecoming for Cavallo’s captain, Jake Reid.

“I grew up sailing in the Bay of Islands and skippered Thalia in previous NZ Millennium Cup editions,” says Reid.

This home-grown knowledge coupled with the fitting of a new main sail, and a rigging overhaul in New Zealand, will serve as a double threat as Cavallo makes a play for the Cup.

An event steeped in an ethos of giving owners and crew something more when they travel to New Zealand’s unique climes, and an experience beyond that of the normal regatta circuit, the Cup’s reputation has been steadily growing internationally.

“Interest in the NZ Millennium Cup at the recent Monaco Yacht Show was palpable,” says Craig Park of platinum sponsor, Orams Marine.

“It was a pleasure to hear captains reminiscing about the unique spirit of the Cup and their experience of New Zealand - notably 2015 winner Silencio. We are proud to be a part of an event that we can see grow in its new location in the inimitable Bay of Islands.”

“The history of the NZ Millennium Cup was driven by vessels visiting New Zealand for the America’s Cup. NZ Marine saw an opportunity to run an event that showcased our cruising grounds further – an event that encapsulated why the journey was worth the effort,” says Ian Cook of gold sponsor, Yachting Developments.

The regatta also pays dividends in its impact on New Zealand’s marine businesses as well as the local economy.

“Along with spectacular racing, the economic injection into our local communities is also very much appreciated,” says Tania McInnes, deputy mayor of the Far North District Council.

“The Bay of Islands is focused on growing our visitor market. We want our visitors to leave with lifelong memories, having had a thoroughly enjoyable and authentic experience. This event helps showcase the area and all the magic it has to offer.'

That economic injection is something seen both outside the local superyacht industry, and within it.

”The NZ Millennium Cup definitely brings in work for Doyle Sails,' says Doyle Sails New Zealand’ s superyacht sail co-ordinator Matt Bridge.

'When you compare the experience of two hours in the pressure cooker of a pitch environment, (often within an office rather than out on the water) with the week you spend up in the relaxed Bay of Islands, racing and socialising with our products on display, you can immediately see the benefit the NZ Millennium Cup brings.”

Park agrees.

“We see the NZ Millennium Cup and the natural deadline it sets as an excellent way to sea trial work after going through a refit period. This has been particularly true of Janice of Wyoming, where work we have undertaken has been specifically in preparation for the NZ Millennium Cup.”

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