One of only seven ‘Royal Yacht Squadrons’ in the world, The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) will celebrate an illustrious history spanning 150 years in 2021. The year coincides with its hosting of the 36th America’s Cup regatta and a full year of on and off water events planned.
Formed in 1871, The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's sesquicentenary marks a legacy of world-class performance that is globally unrivalled in sailing history. As the proud winner of all of the major International yachting trophies, including winning and successfully defending sailing's most coveted prize, the America's Cup. The RNZYS has a heritage that the whole of New Zealand can be very proud of and are invited to take part in during 2021.
Rear Commodore of the RNZYS, Aaron Young, says "the 150 year legacy of the RNZYS is worthy of more than just one event at one time, so we are marking this with a year of celebratory events and occasions, the pinnacle of which will be the hosting of the 36th America’s Cup. The stars have aligned for a huge year for us”
To ensure that the sport and the various associations are represented as widely as possible during this auspicious year, the RNZYS has established a 150th anniversary committee who have been charged with rolling out a series of exceptional events and regattas. Auckland's Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf will be center stage for a series of sailing spectacles, the likes of which will not have been seen before and are sure to capture the attention of visitors and enthusiasts from around the globe. The committee are working closely with Emirates Team New Zealand along with central and local government agencies, as well as various supporting associations such as NZ Marine to assist. RNZYS also plan to invite other local and international clubs to not only assist but also participate in the various activities throughout the year.
"New Zealand is certainly the place to be in 2021 and visitors to Auckland during this time are in for a treat like never before when it comes to celebrating our rich sailing heritage," says Mr. Young.
The lineup of events is yet to be 100 % finalized but will be launched with the New Year's Day Regatta at Kawau Island that is tipped to attract the attention of visiting superyachts who already have Auckland firmly within their sights over this period.
Other events will include:
- Great Barrier Island cruising race / rally from Kawau and Auckland – that will include superyachts and potentially J Class.
- Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta
- 36th America's Cup will run from December 2020 through March 2021 – Emirates Team New Zealand will represent the RNZYS.
- J Class (120 ft plus classic racing yachts) Fleet have been invited by RNZYS and Emirates Team New Zealand to attend the event. They will have their own regatta in Auckland during the America’s Cup period as well as another one likely to be in the Bay of Islands.
- 12M Class have been invited by RNZYS with support from Emirates Team New Zealand. Many of these are ex-America’s Cup boats such as the famous Kiwi Magic – KZ7
- The Classic Yacht Association NZ and Australia have been invited by RNZYS with support from Emirates Team New Zealand.
- An offshore race from Australia (Sydney) arriving mid-January 2021. Hosted by RNZYS in partnership with an Australian club following the Sydney to Hobart race.
- An offshore race to Australia from Auckland – early June 2021 to join the Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Regattas - run by RNZYS in association with an Australian club
- National or World match racing regatta – RNZYS have won the rights to host World Youth Match racing regatta 2020 currently so this is an evolution of this event.
- RNZYS Youth Training Program (YTP since 1987) graduate and Alumni regatta – the world’s most successful youth training sailing programme has had over 1000 graduates, many of whom have or currently compete at the highest level internationally.
- A Trans-Tasman regatta between Australian and NZ leading yacht clubs – 10 clubs competing in NZ with 40 - 60 sailors (non-youth)
- Navy Regatta – international Navy’s invited.
- Auckland Regatta – Auckland’s premier keelboat regatta
- International Council of Yacht Clubs (ICOYC) regional conference – Asia Pacific region
- The Squadron Ball
- A Royal visit has been requested
- Royal NZ Navy and Sir Peter Blake Trust youth leadership and conservation exercise
The final act of the year will see a 150th Anniversary Book currently being put together by Ivor Wilkins as author – this record will include all the events of 2021.
Onshore, visitors to the RNZYS will enjoy an array of land-based entertainment and celebratory events in what General Manager Hayden Porter describes as a “celebration of our sailing and a maritime history that is unmatched anywhere in the world.”
2021 will be an extraordinary year for New Zealand; the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand in what we are sure will underpin another 150 years of success on the water
Formed in 1871 by The RNZYS was granted Royal patronage by the British Admiralty in 1902 and with it the right to fly the blue ensign. The RNZYS is the official home of the America’s Cup after Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), representing the RNZYS, won the oldest sporting trophy in the world at the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017.
Americas Cup 36 will run from December 2020 through March 2021 where Emirates Team New Zealand will represent the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.