Shosholoza refutes media claim that team has "gone bust"
[Source: Team Shosholoza] Team Shosholoza has issued a statement categorically denying reports in the international media at the weekend that the team has “gone bust.”
Team managing director Captain Salvatore Sarno said that on the contrary a busy schedule was planned for 2008 and the structure of the team hadn’t changed since July last year.
“Our helmsman Paolo Cian will continue to lead Shosholoza in the 10 events of the 2008 World Match Racing Tour. In fact Paolo is third on the ISAF match race rankings and was runner-up at last week’s tour qualifier, the Marseille International Match Race in France. It was the first big event for Shosholoza this year.
“Shosholoza RSA 83 and her crew is also scheduled to compete in two Italian regattas this year. In June we will be at the popular annual Velalonga in Naples, a traditional sailing regatta open to all classes of boats. In October we will be at Trieste’s spectacular Barcolana, which with over 2000 competing yachts is the largest sailing race in Europe..
“We also plan to compete in a series of America’s Cup Grand Prix events, if and when they take place," said Captain Sarno.
“In South Africa our naval architect Alex Simonis and his team is working on our new AC 90 campaign yacht. We are going ahead even though the rules and dimensions might change. But we want to be ready and prepared.
“In Valencia, Spain, we continue to operate from our base in Port America’s Cup with the same skeleton staff we've had since July last year when Shosholoza was accepted as a challenger for the next, 33rd , America’s Cup," said Sarno.
He said MSC Crociere was still on board as chief sponsor of Team Shosholoza. Breil of Milan, a new sponsor announced in November last year, is currently structuring their new marketing campaign around Team Shosholoza.
Captain Sarno was responding to an article by Greg Ford first published in New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times at the weekend (16 March) that claimed : “South African and German syndicates that sailed in the last Cup and had entered the 33rd edition, on the provision it went ahead in 2009, went bust during the week. Although court action was pending they could not hold on any longer and there is strong suspicion Britain's highly-touted team, bankrolled by Sir Keith Mills, will be the next to fold.”
Ford’s article explored the ramifications of the dispute between America’s Cup defenders the Swiss Team Alinghi and the American team BMW Oracle Racing currently being decided by the New York Supreme Court.
It also discussed the subsequent writ issued by Team New Zealand against Alinghi for breaking an agreement that the next America’s Cup would be held in 2009.
“I can’t speak for the other syndicates but nothing has changed for us," said Sarno. "We can only call for a full re-grouping of the team once we know the outcome of the court case and once we have fixed dates for the next America’s Cup."
“The disarray in the America’s Cup is regrettable but it gives us more time to secure our position, especially since we are still actively seeking a South African title sponsor.”