Five sailing yachts battled in the Bay of Islands hoping to be crowned champion in this year's Millennium Cup. The 2021 field consisted of 36.2 metre Miss Silver, 28-metre Tawera, 34.2 metre Sassafras, 44 metre Catalina and 31 metre classic Aschanti IV of Vegesack.
The best photos from The New Zealand Millennium Cup 2021
Locals weren't the only spectators to enjoy the racing. A pod of dolphins also joined in with the regatta, shadowing the bows as they navigated through the Bay of Islands racecourse.
Drama was in high supply during the fast and furious racing schedule, which comprised Orams Marine Race, Boat International Race Day and Royal Huisman Race Day. Spectators witnessed close battles between Miss Silver and Tawera, light winds that caused the final race day to be cancelled and finally the Rum Barrel Skiff Race, which provided plenty of entertainment.
The race course
The technicalities of the race course challenged the crews as they aimed to turn and tack with total precision in the bay. Reading the conditions well, slick crew work and strong tactical decisions helped Miss Silver secure first place.
Camaraderie and team spirit were in generous supply during the regatta, with crews on every yacht working hard to pull together and celebrating their achievements at the event's prizegiving.
After racing through the Bay of Islands, the worthy winner at the end of the competition was team Miss Silver, who won all of the three races that took place. The victor, delivered by New zealand shipyard Alloy Yachts in 1995 beat runner up and returning competitor Tawera by just a few seconds.
Enthusiasm was high amongst competitors and spectators throughout the competition, even when races were called off. Highlights of the 2021 regatta included marine life apperances and the shooting off of canons from the yachts. “The spirit of this regatta is like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” described Sean Whitney, captain of Catalina.
Next year’s edition will return to the waters of Russell and the Bay of Islands on February 14, 2022.