Tawera crowned NZ Millennium Cup winner

The 11th edition of the NZ Millennium Cup has ended in the 28-metre ketch, Tawera, winning the world’s most southerly superyacht regatta.

“There’s a special feel to this regatta,” race officer of the day, Harold Bennett, said. “The amazing sense of togetherness, the way the competitors get working together and complement each other – it’s the Corinthian way of our sport.

“Racing has been really good and I’m impressed with the help of both Bruno Finzi and Zoran Grubisa of the ORC on the handicapping side. We’re looking at modifications and changes for next year, but we’re really happy with where this is heading.”

Rating system ORC’s chairman, Bruno Finzi, said: “I thank the boats for hosting me through the week. We learned a lot from you and I hope next year we come back with something even better.”

The last day of the Cup challenged competitors, with light airs delaying the start for close to two hours. As a result, one race was held rather than the planned two, but with cloud and wind building over the bay, a start was announced at 12.50pm and the fleet was off and racing.

Running ahead of the building cloud and a flock of curious shearwaters, the starting sequence was Tawera, Thalia, Freya and Silvertip.

It was day of steady progress and the sight of big yachts stretched across the Bay of Islands, interspersed with local fishermen enjoying the spectacle.

Freya stretched out a lead, but not for long. The local dolphin pod joined her and she made a very tidy rounding of the Orams Marine Mark with Tawera far out to port behind her. Silvertip was ahead of her and taking a close line to the mark for another smooth rounding.

Tawera followed suit, her bowman in a white sarong, much to the applause of the spectator fleet. The classic, graceful lines of Vitters’ build Thalia was next – taking a wide line around the mark and casting a strong silhouette against one of the empty, white sand beaches of the Bay of Islands.

From there it was off to the Nine Pin and home, but there was no stopping Tawera’s run and she was crowned as the 2019 winner of the NZ Millennium Cup.

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