BY APB Staff on 22 Feb 2024

The New Zealand Millennium Cup returns to Auckland for the first time in a decade, marking the start of the city's inaugural ocean festival.

Photo credit: Robert Gleed, NZ Millennium Cup Auckland.

The New Zealand Millennium Cup returns to Auckland this week. Photo: Robert Gleed, NZ Millennium Cup Auckland.

The southern hemisphere’s longest-running superyacht regatta gets underway this week in Auckland.

The final countdown is on to the New Zealand Millennium Cup 2024, which will see striking superyachts gather to race in Auckland from this Friday (23 February 2024) to Monday 26 February 2024. This year’s cup is a standout edition of the event, marking the start of Moana Auckland; New Zealand’s ocean festival, which also encompasses the Auckland Boat Show 2024.

With the festival creating a month-long celebration of Aucklanders’ connection with the ocean, the harbour city makes the perfect backdrop for the NZ Millennium Cup to return to after years of racing around New Zealand and the world.

For the first time in a decade, the New Zealand Millennium Cup will be raced on Auckland’s waters. The fleet will be taking on conditions which have been enjoyed by the world’s leading yachtsmen in America’s Cup and Round the World races, and experiencing the beauty of a harbour which turned a nation into sailors.

Returning to the regatta’s roots will also see the competing fleet moored in the central city, with the regatta’s social events at the stern.

“It’s a return to the intimate, fun racing we’ve always been so proud of, and we can’t wait to share our beautiful city with the racing fleet,” says organiser Stacey Cook.

Millennium Cup Regatta 2020. Jeff-Brown

Millennium Cup Regatta 2020. Photo: Jeff Brown

Two racing divisions have been devised to add to the intensity of competition, with the NZ Millennium Cup fleet including yachts like 60 metre Perseus^3, and a multihull division which will feature a showdown between sister yachts Cat+Ion and Kotuku.

Perseus^3 was built to race specification, and we’ve enjoyed building her reputation on the course across the world’s great superyacht regattas,” says Burger van der Walt, captain of Perseus^3. “With a race crew which has become known for its spirit and camaraderie, we’re looking forward to bringing Perseus^3 to New Zealand’s waters and letting her show her ability during the New Zealand Millennium Cup.” 

The yacht will join other early entries to the race, including Royal Huisman’s Sassafras, the crew of which say they are looking forward to competing after the regatta’s recent hiatus.

“The team on Sassafras is excited at the prospect of racing in the New Zealand Millennium Cup after a two-year hiatus,” says Matt Lovett, captain of S/Y Sassafras. “The Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf offer a world-class sailing venue, with the backdrop of the City of Sails, home of the holder of the America’s Cup. We look forward to competing with visiting yachts and crews, to make the New Zealand Millennium Cup 2024 the best yet.”

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