The first day of racing of the New Zealand Millennium Cup kicked off today, and sailing commentary legend, Peter Montgomery described it as akin to racing in paradise.
“If this isn’t heaven, then it’s just next door,” he said as he handed out the day’s prizes at the Propspeed-sponsored NZ Millennium Cup function, following racing at the Bay of Islands’ Duke of Marlborough Hotel.
Janice of Wyoming was recognised for her consistently-strong starts, while the welcome back prize went to Sassafras, third overall to Silvertip, second overall to Adele as well as best start, and first overall went to Kawil.
Each accolade was toasted with Mount Gay Rum dark and stormies, and Allan Scott wines after a hot, competitive day of racing for Orams Marine Race Day.
Kawil was the first away in race one, as the fleet got underway on course nine, starting at Tapeka Point. Sassafras followed, then Janice of Wyoming, before Adele and finally Silvertip crossed the start line following the five minute start sequence.
Rounding the Orams Mark, the fleet hadn’t yet started to bunch. All rounded close to the Orams boat, towering above it, before heading across the Bay below the Ninepin.
Kawil was first at the Ninepin, rounding strongly and raising her kite with distances closing between the fleet behind her. Sassafras followed behind her, unveiling a beautiful, brand new kite to the applause of spectators.
Not to be outdone, Janice of Wyoming’s cowboy spinnaker revealed her presence – after a quick dip – though that couldn’t hide the fact she was gaining on Sassafras.
Adele’s big kite saw her storm up the last leg for second place hot on the heels of Kawil, with Sassafras over the line after Adele, then Janice of Wyoming and Silvertip.
The second race of the day saw the yachts take on course 11 to starboard, heading from the Boat International Ninepin Mark, to Bird Rock to the Royal Huisman Whale Rock Cardinal Buoy.
Rounding Bird Rock for home, Kawil and Silvertip were neck and neck while Adele, Janice of Wyoming and Sassafras were well-matched behind them. Kawil wasn’t able to hold onto her lead; Silvertip overhauling her as they headed for the line.
However it was Kawil that placed first overall on corrected time, followed by Adele, then Silvertip, Sassafras and Janice of Wyoming.
The 2020 regatta is raced from 28 January to 1 February and, as it has for the past several years, take place in the Bay of Islands.
This iteration of the regatta will be repeated into 2021 where it will evolve again as the J Class Association will join the event, to create a bumper regatta where up to 40 yachts are expected.