International superyacht market heads to New Zealand ahead of NZ Millennium Cup
The 2020 edition of the New Zealand Millennium Cup has been attracting unprecedented interest from the international superyacht market as it heralds the start of a bumper series of superyacht events leading into the 36th America’s Cup. The most-recent big name to come onboard is Italian superyacht powerhouse, Benetti Yachts, which joins last month’s signing, Royal Huisman.
"Benetti is very pleased to join the New Zealand Millennium Cup. Sailing is a global sport and leisure culture enjoyed by many and as a global brand in the maritime sector we are pleased to support the yachting community in this way," says Peter Mahony - Asia Pacific general manager at Benetti Yachts.
"With the 36th America’s Cup fast approaching for New Zealand, we see the opportunity for superyachts to explore the amazing South Pacific and we hope this will include many Benetti yachts.
"We look forward to the regatta and wish everyone involved a wonderful and memorable event."
The 2020 regatta will be raced from 29 January to 1 February and is rapidly building towards a bumper edition with New Zealand’s summer yachting season already showing signs of being busy, as America’s Cup fever hits. A large American sponsor is due to join the major Italian and Dutch signings from the past two months, with an announcement expected early in January. "It’s a point of pride for New Zealanders to take excellent care of their guests, or manuhiri," says organiser Stacey Cook, "and we’re all looking forward to opening up our very special part of the world to our international yacht and sponsor visitors.
"We see the addition of Benetti to the sponsorship family as a significant milestone for the event as we build towards 2021. It’s very rare for a motoryacht builder to be involved with an event that is built around a sailing event. It demonstrates the high level of interest we are receiving from the global superyacht industry and underpins the value we are creating for owners, guests and business both on and off the water." "We always advise refit clients to book well in advance as the yard is invariably full through the New Zealand season of August to May," says Platinum sponsor Orams Marine’s Craig Park." "At the moment, that’s even more important than ever. It’s great to see so many yachts taking the time to cruise through the Pacific and make their way to New Zealand and we’re looking forward to introducing more of our international colleagues, peers and friends to the beautiful Bay of Islands when racing begins in February." Royal Huisman build Sassafras will return to the race, as will fellow past competitors Silvertip, Tawera, and Janice of Wyoming, and new entrant Kawil will take to the water. Entries have also rolled in for 2021 with Cilliam and Black Sails already entering, along with Janice of Wyoming, Sassafras and Silvertip. Additional sponsors have returned to the regatta including Doyle Sails, Smuggler Marine and Bay of Islands Marina as gold sponsors, COAST, Breed Media, North Sails/Southern Spars and Electronic Navigation Limited (ENL) as silver sponsors, and Holton Marine, Power Equipment and Attest Ltd as friends of the industry sponsors. At the prize giving of the 2019 edition in February the owner of entrant, Freya described the regatta. "It’s fantastic to come to this beautiful place, in this beautiful country, in the beautiful Bay of Islands. I’d like to say thank you for the hospitality and the wonderful, wonderful time."
The regatta will take place amongst the 144 islets of the Bay of Islands in New Zealand’s Northland; a sub-tropical playground that has been a home to sailors since the earliest Māori voyagers arrived in New Zealand. Its headquarters will be in the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel which received New Zealand’s first liquor license in 1840. "There’s no better place in the world to sail," said Marcus Blackmore in 2018, owner of the year’s champion Ammonite. The notice of race was released earlier this year by the organising authority; the New Zealand Millennium Cup Committee and the New Zealand Marine Export Group Inc. under the auspices of the Russell Boating Club, and can be found on the NZ Millennium Cup website. Millennium cup.com/notice-of-race.html