The Millennium Cup, the South Pacific’s premier superyacht regatta, takes place among an archipelago of 144 islands known for dolphin pods, big-game fishing and world-class diving, from January 29 to February 1. New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, as it’s known, is also an exceptional sailing area, with constant winds and beautiful scenery. And while the races can be enjoyed from land in Russell, where the competition begins—Eagles Nest, a resort perched high above the town, offers exceptional views of the course—chartering a yacht will put you as close to the on-water action as possible.
Aspiring sailors can watch from the 189-foot Twizzle, a pedigreed sailing vessel by Royal Huisman with space for nine guests and 11 crew. The yacht offers a large exterior lounge for watching the competition, a protected alfresco dining area below and a contemporary interior by Todhunter Earle. Athos, the 203-foot, classically styled sailing yacht from Holland Jachtbouw, offers even more space, with five cabins for 12 guests and a 10-person crew. The yacht, built in 2010, had a refit in 2016; its 36-foot beam creates exceptional interior space, including a large master suite with a private deck, plus sweeping upper decks perfect for watching the races, dining and holding social events.
When the races have been run, visitors can share in evening celebrations at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, play golf against a dramatic Pacific backdrop at the David Harman course at Kauri Cliffs, dive in an area Jacques Cousteau called one of the world’s 10 best dive sites or visit the region’s many vineyards. Or take advantage of New Zealand’s diverse cruising grounds and venture down to the South Island for an entirely different experience. Unlike for the cup competitors, there’s no rush.