The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron will be marking its 150th anniversary in 2021 alongside the America’s Cup. This means a packed year of events and celebrations, offering an exciting opportunity for visiting superyachts to experience the best of what New Zealand has to offer.

“The 150-year legacy of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is worthy of more than just one event at one time,” says Aaron Young, vice commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. “So we are marking this with a year of celebratory events and occasions, the pinnacle of which will be the hosting of the 36th America’s Cup. New Zealand is certainly the place to be in 2021 and visitors to Auckland during this time are in for a treat like never before when it comes to celebrating our rich sailing heritage.”

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is particularly looking forward to hosting many visiting superyachts and owners. “A full calendar of events from December 2020 through to April 2021 means fun on and off the water,” adds Young. “Owners and visitors can expect good down-to-earth and relaxed ‘kiwi’ hospitality. Our amazing and unique cruising waters around New Zealand are a must for any visiting yacht and we are doing all we can to make sure visitors won’t want to leave too quickly.”

“Our amazing and unique cruising waters around New Zealand are a must for any visiting yacht and we are doing all we can to make sure visitors won’t want to leave too quickly.”

The celebrations kick off with a race to Kawau Island on New Year’s Eve 2020, followed by the Kawau New Year’s Day Regatta, both of which are expected to attract the attention of visiting superyachts. An exciting and diverse calendar will then begin, including superyacht regattas in both the Bay of Islands and Auckland, as well as a superyacht fishing competition to ensure motoryachts are involved in the action. The Squadron also expects a number of J Class Yachts to come to New Zealand, with planned sailing in the Bay of Islands in February and Auckland in March.

To ensure that yachting and various associations are properly represented during this auspicious year, the RNZYS set up a 150th anniversary committee to roll out this series of events and regattas. The committee is working closely with Emirates Team New Zealand and supporting associations such as NZ Marine.

“We appreciate that New Zealand is a long way to come for a lot of yachts – it’s a destination – and we want to make it as enjoyable as possible for owners and crew,” says Peter Busfield, executive director of NZ Marine Industry Association. “As well as a month-long event calendar, part of the plan has been to build up facilities, optimise the country’s existing business potential and work with the government to ensure we are a user-friendly destination.”

A rendering of the America's Cup superyacht village

New Zealand has a long-established marine industry renowned for maintenance and refit, and this is being enhanced by the development of berthing and facilities in anticipation of an influx of yachts in 2020/21 for the America's Cup. As well as being able to take advantage of New Zealand’s yacht-friendly regulations that allow foreign-flagged vessels temporary entry for up to 24 months and the ability to charter in its waters, yachts will have access to new infrastructure including a superyacht marina in the Bay of Islands, a superyacht village in Auckland for the America’s Cup, a new 320-tonne travelift at Vessel Works in the Bay of Plenty and a new 720-tonne travelift at Orams Marine in Auckland. DYT Yacht Transport is also putting on extra sailings to bring yachts to New Zealand for 2020/21 and take them back to Europe in time for the summer in the Mediterranean.

Having considered the lessons learned from the berthing and anchorage arrangements at the last America’s Cup in Bermuda, NZ Marine will be organising a superyacht VIP programme for yachts anchored in Auckland Harbour during the event. “From the registrations of interest that we have already received, we are expecting around 160 superyachts over the America’s Cup period,” says Busfield. “With only 100 berths available, that means there will likely be around 60 yachts at anchor, so we are working on a VIP programme to give those yachts easy access to the village and marinas and make their experience as smooth as possible.”

The America’s Cup has a longstanding superyacht following and, with the Pacific rising in popularity as a superyacht destination, the 36th edition is sure to see an increase the numbers of yachts in the region in the lead up to, during and after the event. Some yachts will also be planning to make the most of the trip south and extend their itineraries to the nearby cruising grounds around Fiji, French Polynesia and Australia. This will be an important time for the Pacific because many destinations are ramping up their superyacht offering in anticipation of increased activity and, for superyacht owners, the buzz forming around the region makes it an optimal time to visit.

For more information on cruising in the Pacific, be sure to get your copy of The Pacific Superyacht Report. Click here to purchase your copy.

Image: The Millennium Cup in Auckland by Ivor Wilkins


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