The organizers of theAntarctica Cup have confirmed that Cape Town is their preferred Southern Hemisphere Start/Finish port for the second of their series of 'Nation vs Nation' yacht races circumnavigating the Great White Continent.
The second race is scheduled to take place in 2007. The inaugural race will start/finish from Auckland.
This follows the granting of an exclusive Country Franchise Owner License to represent South Africa in the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race Series to Boating Partners of South Africa Pty Ltd, a company involved in the South African boatbuilding industry and the sport of international ocean racing.
David GANT, Chairman of Boating Partners, said "The Antarctica Cup Race can be described as the first real 'World Cup of Ocean Racing' as it comprises of national teams competing against each other at the highest level and in the globe's most hostile sailing environment with each crew member being of the same nationality as the country being represented.
Unlike most international yacht races, the Antarctica Cup gives us an opportunity to put together an all South African crew to compete in identical boats against teams from other countries. Australia, New Zealand, and Britain have already indicated their intentions to participate"
Gant said that participation in international ocean racing and hosting starts, finishes and stopovers in South Africa, such as the Volvo and Global Challenge races, had huge positive economic impacts on the local economy and that the SA Boatbuilding Industry would be invited to compete to build the future Antarctica Cup Class Mk 02 fleet of identical high performance Maxi-Boats with an estimated value of some USD 3.5m per boat. The inaugural fleet will be built by the New Zealand and Australian boatbuilding industries.
Gant said that funding for a South African team would be sought in the international market place as there was a huge appeal amongst global corporations and wealthy individuals for the concept of 'owning your own international ocean racing team' as it were. "The huge prize money on offer also makes investment in this race attractive".
"Although the SA business community remains skeptical about the benefits of backing international ocean racing, there is a growing awareness here, as there is internationally, that the sport of ocean racing is becoming a very attractive platform from a marketing, communications and public relations point of view so we will certainly be seeking SA support for this exciting challenge."
Antarctica Cup Chairman, Bob WILLIAMS said that South Africa had a proud history of international competitiveness and welcomed South Africa's participation in this 'premier and exclusively Southern Hemisphere event'.
"The media coverage of the event will be phenomenal. Each boat will house a fully equipped media suite operated by a dedicated media person aided by aircraft and satellites to collect media data off the boats for processing into daily news items for worldwide distribution. We will also be conducting a massive Internet Youth Education Program surrounding the race and the Antarctic environment and are launching a Big Boat Sailing Training Academy which we hope will also have a base in Cape Town"