Following completion of all entry formalities on Thursday, 4 June, AC Management, on behalf of the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), is proud to announce that the Royal Cape Yacht Club has become the third challenger for the 32nd America's Cup.
Pierre-Yves FIRMENICH, President of the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), accepted the challenge on behalf of his club, the Defender of the America's Cup.
This challenge marks the first time an African-based team has participated in the America's Cup. The Royal Cape Yacht Club joins the Golden Gate Yacht Club and the Circolo Vela Gargnano as official Challengers for the 32nd America's Cup.
Captain Salvatore SARNO is the driving force behind South Africa's maiden America's Cup challenge. Italian born, he has lived in South Africa for 14 years, first arriving as a ship's officer on a freighter picking up a load of granite in Durban.
"South Africa is a modern, dynamic, exciting country, and we want to show that to the world,"
Captain Sarno said, explaining his reasons for putting together the Shosholoza team. "The America's Cup is the most sophisticated sporting event in the world. It's a perfect fit."
"We want to show that on the boat, black and white can work together, do well, and have success together. We want to be part of the renaissance of South Africa."
The team will make its first public appearance in Europe in Marseille, on 7 June, at a press conference promoting the Marseille Louis Vuitton Act, Act 1 of the 32nd America's Cup - Valencia. Team Shosholoza plans to race in all three Acts this year.
The team name, Shosholoza, is a word with roots deep in South African culture. It is a worksong with a long history with mine workers, and others engaged in hard, physical labour. As a word, it is understood to mean, 'go forward' or 'make way', an appropriate sentiment for an America's Cup team. The song was used to great effect by the home South African crowd in the 1995 Rugby World Cup that was won by the South African team over New Zealand (the Kiwis had a better year on the water, winning the America's Cup for the first time that same year).
The South African America's Cup Challenge has already been working for several months from its base in Cape Town. It has purchased one of the Prada boats from the Louis Vuitton Cup winning team of 2000, and has been sailing on Table Bay for several weeks.
World-champion South African yachtsman Geoff Meek has been appointed skipper of the team. A five-time South African Yachtsman of the Year, Meek also has America's Cup experience as the alternate skipper for the British team in training for the 1986-1987 America's Cup.
Adding experience to the team is sailing manager Paul STANDBRIDGE, who filled that role for the GBR Challenge in 2003. Standbridge also brings experience from five Round the World Races, among other world-class offshore campaigns.
The Shosholoza team plans to build two new boats for the 32nd America's Cup, and to that end has already enlisted designer and naval architect Jason KER. The team is currently planning to launch its first new design on Freedom Day in South Africa, 27 of April 2005.