Glowering clouds greeted the fleet of the 2016 NZ Millennium Cup as they assembled around the Bay of Islands morning on the first day of the regatta.

Wind conditions meant race officials selected a short course for racing. Course three would take entries from the mouth of the Bay of Islands, around the Orams Marine buoy, out to picturesque Roberton Island with its distinctive horseshoe lagoon, before flinging them out to Ninepin Island, back to the Orams Marine buoy and then off to the finish line.

Classen-built Shamoun was first over the line at 11.30, blasting a fast path down to the start, made all the more impressive for the last minute leap aboard by a crew member from a tender flying alongside. With a quick flick around the committee boat she was off and racing for the mouth of the Bay.

At 12.05, Janice of Wyoming stormed for the line, bearing down on the committee boat with an aggressive bent that left no doubt as to her intentions in the race. Yachting Developments-built Silvertip followed at 12.20, and the race was on.

Janice of Wyoming was beating a wide line to the first mark, while the rest of the fleet had tacked earlier and were beating a line for the Orams Marine buoy, on the northern side of Roberton Island. The rising of Shamoun’s distinctive red spinnaker signalled that the first across the line had been the first to round the mark, though she was being hunted down by a fleet hungry for line honours.

By the second mark, Steinlager II had overhauled the fleet, with 27.5-metre Kealoha close behind, then Allegro; looking aggressive in chase.

However, there was a larger threat coming from behind. Janice of Wyoming outstripped Tawera and Shamoun as they rounded the mark and was off with the leaders in her sights. The 40m made a sharp tack to beat upwind after the leaders, who had already executed a neat turn towards the Ninepin.

Approaching the Ninepin, Tawera fell prey to Janice of Wyoming, and then the fleet was off and racing for the last mark and then home.

Kealoha held her lead in the Millennium Cup division as they turned down the Bay, but it was not to be. Janice of Wyoming had sailed a powerful race and, on the stretch for home, with the big cowboy spinnaker flying, she crossed the line a triumphant first.

 All images courtesy of Jeff Brown.

Silvertip was flying down towards the line, but Kealoha held her lead to take second place, with Silvertip close behind. Tawera’s big white spinnaker with the distinctive blue motif was visible on the horizon as she and Shamoun appeared behind the islands of the Bay to the spectators on the line.

It was Tawera who crossed the line ahead however, to cheers from the committee boat. Shamoun was charging for the line to bring the day’s racing to a close. The Claasen classic sped for the line with all the grace you’d expect from the last classic superyacht built in the 20th century.


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