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Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron announces key dates for 150th celebrations

by Andrew Delves 18 Jun 17:56 PDT
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron © Carlo Borlenghi

A plethora of events will be held throughout 2021 to mark the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's 150 years, which also coincides with Auckland hosting the 36th America's Cup.

Throughout the clubs amazing 150 year history it has led the world of yachting in many respects, being the only club to win, lose and then win back the world's oldest sporting trophy - The America's Cup. It has trained many world champions in various disciplines of the sport. The largest sporting club in New Zealand also runs a variety of volunteer programs that will be essential to the delivery of what will be a bumper 2021.

Visitors and locals alike can be assured of an exciting and diverse calendar including J Class racing, superyacht regattas, as well as offshore and New Zealand based races.

RNZYS Vice Commodore Aaron Young is thrilled with the events secured in the calendar so far, and with the other events that are close to being added to the 150th year calendar.

"We have already added some really great events, and pencilled in some others, throughout the America's Cup period and for the duration of the year that we believe our membership base and the entire country can really get behind."

Kicking the sesquicentenary celebrations off with a race to Kawau Island on New Year's Eve 2020 which will be followed by the Kawau New Year's Day Regatta, and then by a Kawau to Great Barrier Cruise from the 3rd - 6th of January.

The Squadron has also secured two offshore races for their 150th year. The first is a race from Sydney to Auckland in conjunction with the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, starting on the 1st of February. The second is a race from Auckland to Southport Yacht Club in Queensland, starting on the 1st of June.

In what is one of the most anticipated additions to the calendar, the Squadron is hopeful of a number of J Class Yachts coming to New Zealand with planned sailing in the Bay of Islands in February, and in Auckland 1st to 6th of March. There is strong interest from the class already with entries now open for them to commit to these events.

The J Class yachts will be a spectacular sight and will add a great deal of excitement for the general public and especially for avid sailing fans during the America's Cup period. The J Class yachts are 40-45 metres long and have a crew of 30 plus professional sailors on board. They were used in the America's cup during the 1930's period.

There will be an abundance of Superyachts joining in the celebrations, with a Superyacht regatta locked in for the 25th - 27th February that the RNZYS is organising in Auckland, which will likely be the biggest that has ever been seen on New Zealand waters.

These visitors will inject millions into the local economy, creating jobs along the way. The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron will ensure they have plenty to do whilst in New Zealand to support this. For visiting superyachts the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron also offers full logistical support to ensure their time in New Zealand is as stress free as possible. They simply contact to have anything required arranged.

Dates are to be confirmed for the America's Cup Christmas Regatta, but it is expected to take place sometime in December 2020/January 2021, and the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series in January /February 2021.

The biggest event of the year is the 36th America's Cup match which will see its opening weekend in Auckland on March 6th and 7th 2021.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) General Manager, Destination Steve Armitage says 2021 is going to be an unprecedented year for the region.

"Auckland is gearing up to host a mega year of events starting with the 36th America's Cup, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadrons 150th and finishing with APEC Leaders' Week. There will also be a diverse array of international sporting events such as the Women's Rugby and Cricket World Cups, World Softball Championships, the national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini, along with the exciting annual events calendar," he says.

"We're looking forward to welcoming the world here and showing off Auckland's stunning natural attributes, culture and city sophistication."

There are also two more globally recognized events that are in the pipeline, as RNZYS Vice Commodore Aaron Young explains - "We have formally invited the 52 Super Series fleet to join us from Europe for an official 52 Super Series regatta, as well as the 12m fleet to join us from Europe and USA to celebrate our big year with us. Whilst shipping is a considerable cost for both of these fleets to get to NZ, we are hopeful that Kiwis will get to see them both racing here in 2021."

Writer and sailing historian Ivor Wilkins is currently putting together a beautiful coffee table style book that will chronicle the entire 150 year history of the RNZYS, as well as including the 150th year celebrations, which will be released on the 2nd of October 2021. The Squadron is also in the works to have a special commemorative coin, and other precious memorabilia that will be available for all to purchase and cherish.

Other events that the RNZYS are working towards include; The Youth America's Cup, 150th Ball, monthly conservation planting project at Kawau Island, Guest Speaker & Chef Series, International Classics Regatta, Sub Antarctic Island Cruise and an RNZYS Youth Training Programme Alumni event and an International Navy Challenge before APEC.

"The team at the RNZYS are very busy working behind the scenes to get all of the planned events fixed in the calendar. Entries are now open for the major events, so stay tuned for more dates and details to be announced in the coming weeks." - RNZYS Vice Commodore Aaron Young.

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