The 2020 edition of the New Zealand Millennium Cup (29 January – 1 February) has attracted unprecedented interest from the international superyacht market – heralding the start of a bumper series of superyacht events leading into next year’s 36th America’s Cup.

The most-recent big name to come onboard is Italian superyacht powerhouse, Benetti Yachts, which joins last month’s signing, Royal Huisman.

“Benetti is very pleased to join the New Zealand Millennium Cup,” says Peter Mahony – Asia Pacific general manager at Benetti Yachts. “With the 36th America’s Cup fast approaching for New Zealand, we see the opportunity for superyachts to explore the amazing South Pacific and we hope this will include many Benetti yachts.”

“We see the addition of Benetti to the sponsorship family as a significant milestone as we build towards 2021,” adds organiser Stacey Cook. “It’s very rare for a motoryacht builder to be involved with a sailing event, but it demonstrates the high level of interest we are receiving from the global superyacht industry.”

The Royal Huisman build Sassafras will return to this year’s race, as will previous competitors Silvertip, Tawera and Janice


of Wyoming. The 34m Kawil is a new entrant. Entries have also rolled in for 2021 with Cilliam and Black Sails already entering, along with Janice of Wyoming, Sassafras and Silvertip.

This year’s regatta once again takes place in the Bay of Islands, with race headquarters in the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel – it received New Zealand’s first liquor license in 1840. It’s the world’s most southerly superyacht regatta and is gaining a reputation as a must-do regatta for yacht owners who like to get off the beaten track.

The 2021 edition of the event runs from 15-18 February 2021, followed by a J-Class Regatta from 22-24 February.

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