T-Systems sponsors yacht race

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T-Systems, the business customer brand of Deutsche Telecom, has entered into a 20 million euro (R100 million) sponsorship of Shosholoza, SA`s challenger to the America`s Cup yacht-racing event.

According to T-Systems SA MD Wolfgang Jakob, this is the largest sponsorship ever of a South African team by a foreign-owned multinational company. The sponsorship will be spread over two-and-a-half years and include the design and building of two hi-tech yachts and three masts, and the training of the 17-member crew.

The two yachts will include one training and trials boat that will be launched in April and is being built in Stellenbosch. The actual racing yacht will be launched next year after the final design has been tweaked.

"T-Systems caused some consternation when it announced it had decided to sponsor the South African entry into the 2007 America`s Cup over the German entry 'Fresh 17`. However, we feel the emotion around the South African team would be far better for us. It also demonstrates our commitment to the country," Jakob says.

He adds that the sponsorship is cost-efficient for T-Systems, as the South African team`s budget is only a fifth of what some of the overseas teams asked for.

The 32nd America`s Cup will be held in Europe for the first time in 150 years in Valencia, Spain. Team Shosholoza will be the first team from Africa. The Swiss are the current cup-holders.

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