Americas Cup: Challenge at sea not in the court says Shosholoza boss

Friday, 07 September 2007

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“Quite a number of people are querying directly with me or with our PR representatives, reasons why I have lodged so early the South African entry for the 33rd Americas Cup and why I have not publicly protested against the new protocol as many other team leaders have done.

A lot of speculations have been whispered around and even written in some specialized magazines. In order to avoid such a kind of thing I have decided that my crew, Shosholoza fans and the media deserve an explanation which will certainly help to understand my actions:

Team Shosholoza is a small team who has reached a good marketing, commercial and sporting success. To keep what we conquered we have no other alternative that to participate with a new campaign to the next event. On the 9th of May on the day of our last race I announced this officially. Unfortunately, our sponsor has indicated that they intend to participate to the next Cup as Supporters only, which means that with a much lesser economic involvement.

In view of the above we need time to explore the South African Corporate Company Market to get another solid Main Sponsor and additional Supporters. The Corporate Companies do not like to sponsor a “project” they want something that exists already physically. There were no other alternatives than to lodge the new entry as soon as possible and start to work.

On the 18th of July I was in Geneva at MSC Head Office for business and I lodged our Notice of Entry to SNG (Societe Nautique de Geneve ), as I planned several weeks before.

About the new Protocol I do not have the same concerns of Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC)/Oracle I have participated in the America’s Cup well knowing that it is the Defender that dictates the rules and, in my opinion, all the Challengers want to win the Cup and then dictate their own rules. This is what I will do. 

The new class rules will help significantly the small team. We at Shosholoza are all very excited and our design team is pushing me to not accept any compromise, to defend the new class rules and to not be worried, because there is plenty time to conceive, design, build and test the new boat.

This two boat testing prohibition will help the small teams and reduce the budget for the A teams. Most probably, small amendments are still to be done to the new Protocol and I am sure that the Challenger of Record and SNG will together provide the means to do this. Generally, it was time to make a change and I am very positive for the future of the competition, therefore, I totally disagree with any kind of negative comments wherever they come from.

I am not a shipping magnate, or a tycoon, as sometimes I have been described. I am a workaholic man, who spends 12 hours per day at his desk for the day by day job and for the weekend brings home the documents, which he could not see during the week and particularly the accounts of Team Shosholoza.  I have no time to play and/or to plan intricate legal issues fabricated in the mind of a $10,000 lawyer. I am a good seaman, a true one, who loves and respects the sea with it’s simply rules and its limpid clearness.  At sea I learned that if I want to win a regatta, I must fight with my crew to have my boat cutting the finish line before the boat of my opponent. If I do not succeed and still I want to win, I will challenge again the winner with another boat, another crew, but always at sea and not in the New York High Court Room.

This legal dispute is highly damaging my campaign for acquiring new sponsors and my plans to start working with my design team. Team Shosholoza has quite a large number of possible main sponsors interested to came on board and has already the confirmation of at least four medium sponsors/supporters, who are ready to sign a contract, but are now on stand-by awaiting clarity on what will happen.”

Captain Salvatore Sarno


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Last Updated ( Friday, 07 September 2007 )