Tawera crowned winner of New Zealand Millennium Cup 2019
by Miranda Blazeby
As the end of the first day’s racing drew to a close, the 28.1 metre ketch, which previously won the regatta in 2017, was tied for first place with 27.1 metre Nautor’s Swan Freya, followed by Thalia and Silvertip.
With the 34 metre Royal Huisman Sassafras forced to withdraw at the end of the first day, citing technical problems, just four yachts remained in the competition.
On the second day of racing, the Boat International Race Day, the four remaining competitors took to the water in challenging conditions. But at the end of the day, it was Tawera who slid into first place on corrected time, with Freya in second, Silvertip in third and Thalia in last place, after receiving a time penalty for crossing the start line early.
Racing continued on Saturday morning with the NZ Marine Race Day. Light winds delayed the start of racing, reducing the number of scheduled races from two to one. With cloud building over the bay, the wind was finally blowing and the fleet took to the water two hours late at 12.50pm.
The starting sequence saw Tawera and Thalia at the front of the fleet, ahead of Freya and Silvertip.
Local fishermen watched on as Freya was accompanied by a dolphin pod as she rounded the Orams Marine Mark, with Silvertip close behind and Tawera out to port behind her. Thalia came next, taking a wide line around the mark.
As the fleet approached the Nine Pin marker, Tawera streaked ahead and proved uncatchable, finishing in first place and becoming the overall winner of the 2019 New Zealand Millennium Cup.
Later in the evening, the crew and owners celebrated at the annual prizegiving hosted at the Duke of Marlborough.
The owner of Freya summed up the event: "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.”
Meanwhile, organisers of the event have revealed they are already receiving entries for the 2020 and 2021 editions of the event, including confirmation from the J Class Association.
Organiser Stacey Cook said: “We know having the strikingly-elegant classic yachts race alongside the NZ Millennium Cup will add an extra dimension to our racing.”