Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shosholoza officially lodges America's Cup challenge in Geneva

[Source: South African Sailing] The South African flag will once again fly high at the next edition of the world's premier sailing event, the America's Cup, following the lodging of a second challenge in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday (Wednesday).

Team Shosholoza founder and managing director Captain Salvatore Sarno confirmed by telephone last night that he had personally lodged a Notice of Entry and submitted the required performance bond and necessary certification with the Swiss Société Nautique Genève (SNG), the defending yacht club of the 2007 America's Cup winners Team Alinghi.

Speaking with the same characteristic passion and commitment as he did four years ago when he lodged Africa's first ever challenge for the America's Cup, Captain Sarno confirmed that Cape Town's Royal Cape Yacht Club would again be the South African challenge club.

As in 2004 his bold move comes with no signed sponsor to back his ambitious vision of pursuing a second South African campaign.

"I am looking for a proudly South African sponsor and I am positive that we will find one to support the African dream to bring the Cup home," said Sarno.

"We want to present ourselves as a testimony for South Africa's capacity to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup. We showed a different side of South Africa at the last Cup and everyone liked what they saw. We want to remain the country's best ambassadors on one of the world's most influential platforms. We will be making sure that everyone wants to come to South Africa for the soccer." said Sarno.

Team Shosholoza were hailed as victorious first timers when they bowed out of the competition in 7th place in May this year after three years of relentless training and competition.

"We showed what novices can achieve. We earned the respect of our competitors by punching way above our weight and our indomitable spirit captivated hearts and inspired millions around the world. Now we want to do another campaign. It would be silly not to. We have acquired a lot of knowledge; our crew have achieved a level close to the best in the world. We are hungry to get better results! We want to win.

"In life you must have courage. If you don't have courage you will get nowhere,” said Sarno who often says that “impossible” is a word that does not exist in his vocabulary.

Alinghi did not give a venue or a date when the protocol for the 33rd America's Cup was announced earlier this month.

"But my personal feeling is that it will be in Valencia and I think we can expect an announcement from Alinghi next week," said Sarno.

He said Team Shosholoza's second campaign budget would depend on the next America's Cup being a two year event culminating in 2009 and on the event being held in Valencia, the Spanish host city for the last Cup, where purpose built infrastructure is already in place.

"I wanted to submit our challenge early because I believe this next America's Cup will attract more challengers than the 11 that contested the 2007 Cup. I also want to make sure that we maintain our present base in Valencia's Port America's Cup as previously this was allocated according to the date of presentation.”

If the South African challenge is accepted it will be the second South African America's Cup challenge in the 156 year history of the event. Team Shosholoza will also be the first challenger to challenge Alinghi after the Spanish Club Nautico Espanol de Vela. The Spanish are the "Challenger of Record" as they were the first to challenge Alinghi when the Swiss won the 2007 America's Cup in Valencia, Spain, earlier this month.

The Commodore of the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, Mr Craig Middleton, said it was an honour to be the Challenge Club of the South African entry at the 33rd America's Cup.

"We are extremely proud to once again to be South Africa's representatives at the next event," said Middleton.

The Royal Cape Yacht Club is one of the oldest and best known yacht clubs in South Africa. Famous for its warm hospitality the club is situated at the foot of Table Mountain on the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Town - Africa's century’s old tavern of the seas.

Royal Cape Yacht Club has generated entries in many international events including the Whitbread, the BOC, the One Ton, 1/2 Ton and 3/4 Ton World Championships. Locally it is the centre of offshore yacht racing in South Africa. It is the trustee of the Lipton Cup in South Africa and is well known for their summer Table Bay Week regattas and high profile trans-Atlantic Cape to Rio yacht races. .

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