The three-day Millennium Cup in New Zealand brought some hard, close racing between the impressive fleet of superyachts
Under a canopy of billowing clouds, a fleet of eight superyachts lined up for the 2016 Millennium Cup in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. First to the line was the 33-metre Classen-built Shamoun, followed by the 28-metre Tawera, and then Antaeus, Allegro and Steinlager II, with Kealoha, Silvertip and Janice of Wyoming (below) following.
The appearance of Shamoun’s distinctive red spinnaker signalled that she was round the first mark, but by the second mark Steinlager II had overhauled the fleet. Coming on strong was the 40-metre Alloy Yachts Janice of Wyoming. On the stretch for home, with her big cowboy spinnaker flying, she crossed the line a triumphant first. Silvertip was flying down towards the line, but Kealoha held on to take second place, with Silvertip close behind.
A sunnier day, and a longer course (26 miles, as opposed to first day’s 19 miles), greeted the fleet, though light winds made for a cagey start. The yachts finally built up speed to move around the course once again but then the wind shifted from a westerly to a north-easterly as the fleet ran from the Orams Marine Buoy to the Motuterakihi Island Buoy. Although last off the start line, Silvertip overtook most of fleet to claim second place overall. The winner was the Alloy Yachts Tawera (below), with Kealoha third.
Overall, four boats were now tied for first place overall on five points each, giving owners and crews much to discuss at the evening barbecue and drinks at race HQ.
A lack of wind meant a delayed start to the last day’s action. With Shamoun in the lead, Kealoha gradually overtook Tawera as they bore down on the fourth mark, and the race soon developed into a tight battle. Shamoun led until the yachts approached the mouth of the Bay of Island, when a sudden drop in wind allowed the fleet to gain ground. Kealoha and Tawera were now neck and neck, before a neat gibe from Tawera took her across the line, just seconds in front of Kealoha, to win the Millennium Cup. Shamoun followed, with Janice of Wyoming, and then Yachting Developments’ Silvertip (below).