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In 2010, Julianna Barbieri and Hugh Piggin, set out to create a commercially viable sailing race in the U.S. With countless hours of work, in May 2011 their vision became a reality with the first running of the Atlantic Cup. The Atlantic Cup has since gone on to attract multiple Fortune 500 sponsors, top tier sailing talent and a global audience that continues to grow with each edition of the race.


Since the formation of Manuka SEM and the Atlantic Cup, Manuka SEM has helped to manage and grow multiple events, brands and athletes in the marine industry including the Pineapple Cup-Montego Bay Race, The Pabst Blue Ribbon Northeast Fishing Tournament and the Newport and Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regattas.


In addition, Manuka SEM sets the bar for sustainable event management within the sport of sailing.  From creating the most sustainable sailing race in the U.S. to overseeing the sustainability planning for Vestas-11th Hour Racing in the Volvo Ocean Race, the team at Manuka SEM fully understand how to integrate sustainability into an event of any size. 


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Hugh Piggin

Co-Founder & CEO

Hugh has been racing sailboats almost his entire life. In 2008, he developed the concept for the Atlantic Cup, which is now recognized as the premier short-handed offshore race in the U.S.


His personal motivation for starting Manuka comes from his many years of working with European sailing programs and witnessing the amazing success grand prix races have in Europe and how much need there is for professional marketing, sponsorship and race management in the United States.

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Hugh holds a degree from the University of Auckland in Geography and Psychology.

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Sam Holliday

Sponsorship & Marketing

European Consultant

Based in London, United Kingdom, Sam has been involved in offshore and grand prix yacht racing for a number of years as a sailor, team and commercial manager and as the Managing Director of SHG Consulting .


Sam has been heavily involved in the offshore racing class Class40 and has represented teams and commercial partners at many world class events including the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Route du Rhum and Sail Arabia the Tour. 

Sam holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in International Business and wrote his dissertation on 'An investigation into a company's return on marketing investment within the world of offshore and grand prix yacht racing.' 

Julianna Barbieri

Co-Founder & Advisor

Julianna is a two-time Emmy Award winner who has worked extensively on some of the U.S.'s biggest sports events. 

Her expertise is in marketing, branding and sponsorship where she has helped to guide and grown the Manuka SEM properties from concepts to internationally followed events. 

Julianna holds a Bachelors of Science in Television Production from Ithaca College and a Masters of Science in Sports Business from New York University.


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Sailing - Sponsorships - Sustainability - Strategy - Marketing - Event Management

Tel: +1 401 662 9261



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