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A well-matched fleet lines up for the world's most southerly superyacht regatta

by Isla McKechnie 19 Dec 2018 14:49 PST 30 January - 2 February 2019
Racing in the NZ Millennium Cup 2018 © Breed

Newly-certified Clean Regatta, the NZ Millennium Cup, will be the first superyacht regatta to welcome in 2019 and this year's well-matched fleet promises closer racing than ever before.

The New Zealand Millennium Cup's 2019 fleet has brought together evenly-matched yachts and commentators are expecting a fierce battle. On-water the racing will be relentless, but the regatta is proud to announce it has become a certified Clean Regatta to ensure it's gentle on the environment.

"We're looking forward to the battle on the Bay in January/February as the line up is looking great with some good match ups," says North Sails' Richard Bicknell.

"I'm sure the Bay will turn on a spectacular week for the racing to take place; it is exciting with the change of date to have the whole Bay to set courses and we cant wait."

The NZ Millennium Cup Regatta will be raced in Northland's Bay of Islands; from 30 January to 2 February 2019. The Bay, which encompasses 144 islets and islands, is one of the world's great natural playgrounds and regatta organisers have worked hard to ensure the event doesn't impact the environment it's raced on.

"We're pleased to welcome back our long time supporters Janice of Wyoming, Sassafras, Tawera and Silvertip as well as new entry Freya, says Cup organiser, Stacey Cook. "Our beautiful environment and natural heritage play a huge part in what makes the Cup so special and it was a no-brainer to make sure we're doing everything we can to protect this spectacular part of the world. From reusable metal water bottles for every yacht, to banning single use plastic, we feel very positive about becoming a Clean Regatta."

Regatta organisers have announced changes to the regatta's format in order to give it the space needed to expand in anticipation of entry increases in the years leading to the 36th America's Cup. An app - find it at - has been added to help overseas spectators keep up with events and ensure yachts are instantly informed of updates or race changes.

The regatta dates have been moved back by one week to see it run one week behind local regatta, Bay of Islands Sailing Week, giving organisers space to add new and challenging courses. The Cup began its life during the 2000 America's Cup as a way to bring superyacht owners together in their own regatta which ran around the main event.

With America's Cup racing returning to New Zealand over the coming years, organisers are expecting to see a number of visiting spectator yachts enter, pushing fleet numbers to an estimated 50 or more. "There's no better place in the world to sail," said 2018 New Zealand Millennium Cup winner Marcus Blackmore, owner of Ammonite as he accepted his prize in January this year.

The New Zealand Millennium Cup attracts yachts with a penchant for adventure and is lauded by entries for the sense of camaraderie found in this part of the world - part of the draw for yachts already lining up to be involved in years to come.

"We're already receiving entry enquiries; for 2020 and 2021," says event organiser, Stacey Cook.

"The J Class Association has also accepted our invitation to race in 2021 and we know having the strikingly-elegant classic yachts race alongside the NZ Millennium Cup will add an extra dimension to our racing."

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