This week saw the 9th edition of the New Zealand Millennium Cup. The regatta, held from 24-27 January saw eight yachts compete - a steady growth since its inception in 2000 - Antaeus, Cavallo, Farfalla, Janice of Wyoming, Pumula, Silvertip, Steinlager 2 and Tawera. Tawera the winner in 2016, retained her title and once again took the honours for all three days of the event.
The regatta, now considered a yachting calendar stalwart, is seen as a relaxed contest compared to those in the Caribbean and Europe, with the friendly New Zealand spirit echoing throughout the entire event. Strong winds and ideal weather conditions characterised the 2017 edition of the race with the Bay of Islands playing a perfect host for the event.
This rise in yachts wintering in New Zealand highlights the positive role superyachts have to play in local economies, directly or otherwise. The regatta illustrates the facilities available during winter season in addition to promoting the cruising grounds and ample tourist opportunities in the area. As Craig Park of Orams Marine - platinum sponsor of the Cup - explains, “As more yachts come to New Zealand and enter the regatta more local companies have the opportunity to be involved in servicing the yachts and as such, showcase their abilities.”
The significant economic impact of the regatta also contributes to the positive nature of the event, with Orams Marine boasting a busy winter refit period, working with Janice of Wyoming and Farfalla who are both took part in the Cup. “The busy refit season is ongoing evidence of more large vessels coming to New Zealand and the regatta is the beneficiary of those increased numbers,” notes Park.
With six sailing yacht deliveries forecasted for 2017, two in 2018 and only one in both 2019 and 2020, according to data compiled by The Superyacht Intelligence Annual Report, the trend for sailing yachts is decreasing. Much of the appeal of the regatta scene is the close involvement with the owners of the yachts; as sailing yachts take up a small percentage of the current market, this level of commitment to the regattas showcases the skills of dedicated sailors within the industry.
The positive response the Millennium Cup proves the regatta is a welcome addition to the sailing calendar for owners and crew, as well as offering tangible economic benefits for those ashore.
Images courtesy of Breed Media.