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An heroic effort by Perseus^3 sees her win the 2024 NZ Millennium Cup

Though light airs proved a challenge for 498 tonne Perseus^3, they weren’t enough to stop the Perini Navi’s charge.

Millenium Cup Regatta 2024 – Image Jeff Brown

The 2024 NZ Millennium Cup has crowned a winner.

The final day of racing on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf saw the fleet competing in light air on a course which gave them 23nm for one last push to reign supreme.

The yachts took off from Motutapu, to the Noises, then D’Urville Rock, Rakino, the Haystack, and home again, though over the substantial length of the course they weren’t able to shake clear of each other.

Perseus^3 crossed for home first while behind her, Janice of Wyoming, Sassafras, Cat+Ion and Kotuku clung together in a drag race.

Yesterday’s grey, moody Auckland sky was brightened as Janice of Wyoming unfurled her cowboy spinnaker. A sight that’s become a favourite for spectators, the bucking bronco flying above this iconic yacht has become synonymous with the spirit of fun, all-in racing the Cup embodies.

But they couldn’t catch Perseus^3. Having dominated racing on the first day, won line hon-ours on day two to Sassafras’ win on corrected time, and charged out strongly on day three, Perseus^3 couldn’t be stopped.

“I love being here in New Zealand, but what I love most about our boat is we have these war-riors who sail it here. When we race we bring the greatest,” said the owner of Perseus^3.

“We’ve been fighting the Kiwis in sailing for years. And if you can’t beat them, hire them on your boat. We’ll be coming back every year,” he added.

Millenium Cup Regatta 2024 – Image Jeff Brown

The multihull division was tight, at times tense, and too close to call at others, though ultimate-ly Outnumbered took out the honours in her first NZ Millennium Cup.

“It’s our first time in New Zealand,” said Outnumbered’s owner. “And we’re in love with the country, we love the people.”

“It’s been great to have the boats back and the regatta running, with the additional bonus of having the very impressive sight of Perseus ^3 on the course,” said principal race officer Harold Bennett.

“The sight of those three big yachts powering up and crossing together, is a sight I’ll never forget. We haven’t seen a finish that close before over successive NZ Millennium Cup’s. It’s a privilege to work for these boats and a privilege to work for this team,” said Bennett.

Sassafras, winner of day two’s racing and long-term competitor in the Cup was gracious in ceding victory to Perseus^3.

“It’s been 20 years doing this regatta. And we want to thank our crew – they’re the best look-ing – and the most effective.”

The regatta’s famed camaraderie was on show, with ship’s cannons firing, battle songs blar-ing and plenty of ribbing between competitors on the track. However at day’s end, with sails lowered, the lifelong friendships formed at this southern-most of superyacht regattas emerged on the central Auckland race dock.

That camaraderie earned Perseus^3 a second nod; the Spirit of the Regatta rum barrel.

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