Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron calls on 150 year legacy to lead 2021 celebrations

Auckland's waters will be centre stage in 2021 for a series of sailing spectacles including the 36th America's Cup.

Auckland's Waitemata Harbour and Hauraki Gulf will be centre stage in 2021 for a series of sailing spectacles that are sure to capture the attention of visitors and enthusiasts from around the globe.

Set to be an extraordinary year for New Zealand, 2021 will mark the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s (RNZYS) 150th anniversary and Emirates Team New Zealand will be attempting to defend the America’s Cup.

To celebrate the rich history of the RNZYS a full year of on and off water events are being planned starting with the battle for the Auld Mug. 

Formed in 1871 and now one of only seven in the world, The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's sesquicentenary marks a legacy of world-class performance that is globally unrivalled in sailing history. The RNZYS was granted Royal patronage by the British Admiralty in 1902 and with it the right to fly the blue ensign. As the proud winner of major International yachting trophies, including winning and successfully defending sailing's most coveted prize, the America's Cup.

With the Waitemata Harbour as its backyard, it’s not surprising that the RNZYS has been so successful. An incredible setting to sail in, the Waitemata Harbour features volcanic vistas, beautiful city views and helped give Auckland its nickname, ‘The City of Sails’. The Waitemata Harbour connects the city’s main port and the city waterfront before opening into the Hauraki Gulf with its abundant marine wildlife and the Pacific Ocean beyond.

The RNZYS has established a 150th anniversary committee to roll out a series of exceptional events and regattas. Local and international visitors will easily be able to find a waterfront vantage point to enjoy action on the water, be it exciting trans-Tasman events or the highly anticipated 36th America’s Cup.

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”.

The committee are working closely with Emirates Team New Zealand along with central and local government agencies, as well as various supporting associations 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.

Onshore, visitors to the RNZYS will enjoy an array of land-based entertainment and celebratory events.

The lineup of events is yet to be 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 that already have Auckland firmly within their sights over this period. 

Event Highlights

  • Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta
  • Americas Cup 36 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.
  • 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.
  • A Trans-Tasman regatta between Australian and NZ leading yacht clubs – 10 clubs competing in NZ with 40 - 60 sailors (non-youth)