Millenial Cup Regatta January 2015
24 March 2015 | Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Each January Opua hosts a regatta that brings yachts from all over to compete. This year, 2015 there were about 8 super yachts and about 75 racing boats that spent a week here and raced 3 races.
There were three divisions and with 3 simultaneous race courses spread out in different parts of the Bay of Islands.
We had friends who invited us to come out with them to view the competition. We anchored just to the side and windward of the starting line and spent several hours observing the races.
At first the winds were disappointingly light with very little action but over the few hours the wind piped up to 20 to 25 knots and we got to see several boats in moderately heavy weather. What I really wanted to see was the start of the super yacht race. I imagined the fleet lining up on one tack as they headed for the line. Unfortunately, that never came to pass. It seems that these boats are far too expensive to put in harms way like that so what they do is they have individual starting times, according to their handicap. Theoretically they are all supposed to finish at the same time but that didn't happen and all we saw were individual yachts sailing by us as they started with the starting line all to themselves...yuk!
Several of the yachts were huge but obviously not designed to go fast. However, there were about 3 serious race boats that made our viewing particularly enjoyable.
Over the years, we have been to several locations where there were mega yacht races. Each time though it was so crowded that if we were to give up our anchor position to go out to view the race we would struggle to find another free place to drop the hook when we came back. I do think that some of the races we missed were set up with formal starts and lots of jockeying for pre-start position
There are more pictures in the gallery