As stated by Ed Dubois of the prestigious UK yacht design studio, Dubois Yachts: One billion dollars. That’s what the New Zealand industry has meant to him.
“We have built over 40 yachts in New Zealand, representing over $NZ1billion-worth of construction. The country is therefore a central part of our background as yacht designers and we’re delighted to be involved in the NZ Millennium Cup,” says Dubois.
The much-lauded designer will be on hand in Auckland come February when superyacht Ohana, luxury yacht Silvertip and sailing yacht Janice of Wyoming take to the waters of the Hauraki Gulf to compete in the regatta – all yachts that bear the mark of his skill.
Not only is Dubois excited to see the yachts on the course though, he’s looking forward to spending time with New Zealand’s industry figures.
“The New Zealand yachting industry has evolved like no other over the last 25 years.
“When we first had one of our designs built by Alloy Yachts, they were just 30 people. They now represent one of the leading yacht builders in the world and their example is being followed by Fitzroy Yachts, Yachting Developments and the excellent supply companies such as Southern Spars and North Sails – with many others supporting this amazing industry.”
The Cup, which will run to the International Superyacht Rule of handicapping yachts to ensure every entrant has a shot at the podium, also draws praise from Dubois.
“The New Zealand Millennium Cup stands out for being particularly well run and having a very friendly atmosphere. Sailing in the Hauraki Gulf, particularly in February, is always a delightful experience. Sailing in New Zealand is one of the most natural pastimes for the host country nationals one can think of in the world. To be part of the ‘scene’ and know that New Zealand has been so successful both with racing yachts (America’s Cup, Volvo Race and in the past, the Whitbread Race) and also is now at the very forefront of yacht building, is a wonderful thing to be part of.”
But the real question – who does he think will sail away victorious?
“Depending on the weather, either Ohana or Silvertip will probably take line honours. Ohana is long (just on 50 metres) and if there’s a good breeze, her size will win through. If it is lighter weather, then Silvertip’s composite construction and efficient rig with excellent sails will probably win the day.”
Two new entrants have just announced they’ll be joining the line up. Local yacht S/Y Sea Toy is stepping up to the plate, as is sailing yacht Zefiro; built by Southern Wind Shipyard and launched in Cape Town in 2009. The naval architecture is the work of Farr Yacht Design, with an interior by Nauta Yachts, and the 100ft yacht’s owner and crew are looking forward to challenging two time champion, S/Y Silvertip.
This is the first NZ Millennium Cup for Zefiro yacht as it will be for brand-new and much-anticipated superyacht Ohana, while luxury yacht Janice of Wyoming is coming back for more.
International sponsors are showing their support of the event with Gurit, Lufthansa Private Jet, Mulcahy Engineering, Whiting Power Systems and Robinson joining Dubois as recent comers. Sturge Taylor and Associates Ltd. and Insurance Brokers International have taken on the crucial and not altogether thankless role of bar sponsors of the opening cocktail party.
Yachting Developments, builder of 2012 and 2009 winner, Silvertip, is platinum sponsor of the event. Gold sponsors are Fitzroy Yachts, Waterfront Auckland, Alloy Yachts, and luxury lifestyle company, Touch of Spice. Onboard to show their support as silver sponsors are Doyle Sails and Smuggler Marine. Bronze sponsor is Gurit Asia Pacific with official apparel partnership in the hands of Events Clothing.
Ensuring the regatta maintains its legendary standards of hospitality, Mt Gay Rum has once again come to the party as hospitality partners along with Stoke beer, while The Superyacht Group and Ocean Media have thrown their weight behind the NZ Millennium Cup as official media partners.
The NZ Millennium Cup kicks off with a cocktail party and briefing for captains and owners on 14 February. Racing begins 15 February and will be punctuated with social events and entertainment, to cap off days on the picturesque Hauraki Gulf, before closing on 17 February.
The NZ Millennium Cup is fast becoming the premier superyacht regatta of the South Pacific. This is a private invitational event; it is advised to contact Amy Welch, Amy@MillenniumCup.com, to request further entry information.