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27 August 2005, 12:00 am
Team Shosoloza Are Victorious
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America's Cup 2007
Malmo, Sweden

Wild rejoicing on the Öresund: Team Shosholoza has won its first America's Cup victory - and, what's more, against the clear favourite, the home team Victory Challenge (SWE).
As the coal black yacht with its colourful design shot across the finishing line at 1.45 pm local time, there were goose bumps on the North (Romeo) course. There was even loud applause from the support boats accompanying the competition, like Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing, when the 17-man crew of the Shosholoza carried off their first victory in the 26th race of the Louis Vuitton Acts.

After a hotly contested pre-start, the team led by helmsman Chris LAW (GBR), strategist Ian AINSLIE (RSA) and navigator Marc LAGESSE (RSA) had already secured themselves an initial advantage on crossing the start line and went on to extend their lead on the first tack. Through clever tactical decisions they succeeded in keeping the Swedish 'Orm' in check and defending their lead impressively right up to the finish.

Chris LAW had already announced at breakfast 'today will be victory day'. The elation over the first point on Friday afternoon was all the greater as the team had attracted attention on Thursday with some good starts, yet been unable to convert these into victories in its unequally matched duels with cup giants Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing.

'We are pleased that we worked our way out of the difficult initial phase so well. Our boat's speed was very satisfactory', reported Tim KRÖGER, boat captain and aft grinder for Team Shosholoza. 'At the finish, we felt unbelievable relief more than anything else. When you've suffered such a long series of defeats, the first point feels especially good.'

Christan RÄTSCH, head of marketing at T-Systems, the business customer division of Deutsche Telekom, experienced the race on the North (Romeo) course live. The representative of the Shosholoza Official Chief Sponsor said: 'We stood beside our team during the bad times, now we're enjoying the good times with them too.' Crew member Marcello Burricks from Simon's Town near Cape Town, who accompanied the race on Friday on the safety boat, exclaimed ecstatically: 'It's not only a historical moment for us, but for all South Africans. Now we're really getting hungry.'

Kolja Drewitz (As Amended By ISAF) Image: © AC Media
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