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Millennium Cup: Perseus^3 makes her presence felt on Day 1

by Isla McKechnie 24 Feb 18:41 PST
NZ Millennium Cup - Day 1 - Auckland - February 24, 2024 © Robert Gleed

The New Zealand Millennium Cup is underway and Perseus^3 has taken the win on Day 1.

The big Perini Navi was unstoppable as she took to the Hauraki Gulf course, with blue skies and a breeze filling in to welcome her to racing in Auckland.

Orams Marine race day marked the opening of the regatta, which runs from 23-26 February. It’s the first time the Cup has been raced on Auckland’s waters in a decade, and also marks the event’s inaugural multihull division.

That multihull division was a source of entertainment on the radio, and on the course with fiercely-contested racing. At the end of day, at Yachting Developments happy hour and prize giving, multihull entry Outnumbered picked up the prize for best finish.

“It’s our first time in New Zealand,” said Outnumbered’s owner. “And we’re in love with the country, we love the people.”

The day’s racing was across Course 1A which took the fleet out to Auckland’s iconic Tiri Tiri Matangi island, and around the rare native birds which call it home.

Starting under the looming volcanic cone of Rangitoto, the course sent the fleet 20 NM to the bird sanctuary and back again. Perseus^3 was first over the start line, crossing just before the horn sounded to cheers from onlookers.

“The highlight was the start, we had such a good start; and upwind was pretty damn good,” said Tom Dodson onboard Perseus^3.

“I love being here in New Zealand, but what I love most about our boat is we have these warriors who sail it here. When we race we bring the greatest,” added the owner of Perseus^3.

“We’ve been fighting the Kiwis in sailing for years. And if you can’t beat them, hire them on your boat. We’ll be coming back every year,” he added.

Though the NZ Millennium Cup fleet wasn’t ready to hand Perseus^3 an easy win.

“We had an awesome beat up to Tiri Tiri Matangi and made gains on Perseus^3 on the run. It was a brilliant day out there, the crew all had a fantastic time” said North Sails’ Richard Bicknell, onboard Janice of Wyoming.

Perseus^3 rounded the Tiri Tiri Mark first, followed by Janice of Wyoming and Sassafras; the latter two of which quickly raised their spinnakers and began gaining ground.

But it was Perseus^3 which would take Orams Marine Race Day 1's win, followed by Janice of Wyoming and then Sassafras.

In the multihull division competition was just as intense.

“There were some discussions on the course,” noted Kotuku’s Garry Lock.

“We’re really happy with how the race went, and both Kotuku and Outnumbered didn’t lay the Shearer Rock mark so we were having some adventures out there. But when the breeze filled in, it was great sailing and we were really happy with the day.”

At the day’s prize giving and happy hour, sponsored by Yachting Developments, spot prizes were dished out to the gathered owners, captains and crew.

Sassafras nabbed a bottle of Mount Gay rum for a faultless start, alongside Outnumbered’s nod for best finish, and a special mention to principal race officer, Harold Bennett.

Overall results for the day place Perseus^3 in the lead, followed by Janice of Wyoming and Sassafras, while in the multihull division Outnumbered leads Kotuku and Cat+Ion.

Racing continues on Sunday and Monday, as the yachts battle for top spot in Auckland.

For results and more information see www.millenniumcup.com.

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