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Cannons, dolphins and an overall winner on the last day of the NZ Millennium Cup

by Isla McKechnie/ Albatross PR 31 Mar 22:21 PDT 1 April 2021
Final day 2021 Millennium Cup - Bay of Islands - March 2021 © Jeff Brown

The final day of the NZ Millennium Cup was noticeably lacking in breeze, though entrants didn’t let that dampen spirits.

While the race committee worked to plan a race around the conditions, the fleet headed to Motuarohia Island to make the most of the beautiful weather; and the opportunity to swim with dolphins.

Unfortunately at 3pm the announcement was made to cancel racing for the day.

“Due to the unstable nature of current weather conditions, and the time which it would take to get underway before the cut off point, we will now display AP over A; no more racing today,” was the declaration from principal race officer, Harold Bennett.

The cancellation of today’s racing left plenty of time for competing yachts to enjoy some of the best of the Bay of Islands. The local dolphin pod has become a much-loved feature of the regatta and crew were thrilled to be joined by them as they cooled off in the turquoise Bay of Islands waters.

The race day turned into a fun day as crew dived into the waters of Motuarohia with curious dolphins watching on as they swung from halyards and dived from bow sprits.

Returning to the race’s HQ in Russell, Aschanti IV cruised through the other yachts already at anchor before Catalina shot off a cannon and whipping across the Bay towards Waitangi. With sails up and sailing strongly, spectators on the shore of Russell, Paihia and Waitangi were treated to the sight of the 1956 Burmester-built yacht in full flight.

Prizegiving was held at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel where Miss Silver was crowned the 2021 winner. The 36.2 metre Alloy Yacht won three of three races which were handicapped by the ORCsy using the PCS system; a first in superyacht regattas.

“The spirit of this regatta is like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” said Sean Whitney, captain of Catalina as the formalities came to an end and celebrations got underway.

The regatta, which has run from 28-31 March, is one of the must-do regattas on the world superyacht circuit and has garnered a reputation as a fun, hospitable, but fiercely competitive regatta. The Cup marks the final stanza in an exhilarating season of racing in New Zealand.

The regatta was first held alongside the 2000 America’s Cup and is now in its 15th year. It’s the longest running superyacht regatta in the South Pacific and has built a reputation for its camaraderie and fierce competition.

Planning is already underway for next year’s regatta, returning to Russell and the Bay of Islands from 14-17 February, 2022.

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