When captain Salvatore Sarno was growing up in southern Italy, he spent hours sitting at the top of a hill near his home in Salerno trying to catch a glimpse of the sea 20km away.
The young Sarno dreamed of sailing, of one day becoming the captain of a ship.
Now, as chairman of the Durban branch of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the diminutive Sarno looks at Durban Harbour through his office window and dreams of winning the America's Cup.
Sarno, who arrived in Durban 20 years ago on a ship delivering granite, is the man behind South Africa's maiden cup challenge Shosholoza. A team who initially just wanted to bring a piece of Africa to the cup have now set their sights on a place in the semifinals when the challenger series starts on April 16.
Shosholoza's renewed spirit comes after they put aside their pledge to remain solely South African and brought experienced Italian sailors Paolo Cian and Tommaso Chieffi into the afterguard.
They have also given their sleek, rainbow-coloured yacht RSA83 a make-over.
Sarno said the move away from a totally South African crew was a team decision.
"I called a meeting with the crew and asked them whether they preferred to be 100 per cent South African and continue to sit at the bottom of the table or be 80 per cent local and win races.
"Unanimously they decided that I could even go to 70 per cent. They were tired of losing after mistakes made by the afterguard.
"Now we have a good team, the non-South Africans have integrated themselves perfectly into the spirit of the team."
Sarno's interest in the America's Cup began five years ago. He was already involved in sailing and had a black crew on his J/33 in Port Elizabeth. Through his business travels, which took him around the world, he realised how little people knew about South Africa.
"People would ask: 'So how many elephants do you see between the airport and your home?" Sarno told a South African sailing magazine.
"I realised we need to show South Africa in a different light. So I thought 'why not show the world what our country can achieve and show that we can mount a respectable challenge in one of the world's greatest sporting events, the America's Cup?"'
Sarno scraped together the initial funding and recruited the sport's first racially mixed team, which included young men from dusty black townships who had never seen the sea.
He then bought the old Prada boat ITA48, which became the first cup yacht to sail in South African waters.
The team's technical manager, Manuel Mendes, said when the boat arrived from Italy, it was like unwrapping a birthday present.
"It was the true start to the campaign,' Sarno said. 'I thought 'Lord be good with us - the ocean is so big and our boat so small'."
In March 2004, Sarno stood in Geneva and waved the South African flag having signed official documents. Team Shosholoza, an old Zulu mining term that means 'go forward', were in the America's Cup.
With a budget of just $43 million, nearly $100 million less than Team NZ's, Shosholoza wanted to symbolise the new optimism in South Africa in that they could take on the world with enthusiasm, passion and team spirit.
In 2005, they were the first team to launch a 2007 generation boat, RSA83. They had planned to build a second but a lack of funds cancelled that.
RSA83 was relaunched last week with a new bow. The sails and rigs have been updated.
Skipper Mark Sadler, a top South African dinghy and big boat sailor, said they have tried to keep up with the other teams. "We are pretty positive we have done all the right things to have a competitive boat now."
The bow now resembles those on the Team NZ boats.
"That has been a trend that most probably started with Team NZ at the beginning of last year," Sadler said. "BMW Oracle Racing, the Spanish boats and us have boats very similar to that and Alinghi have sort of followed it as well.
"We have done some research and come up with our own version that we think will be good for the conditions in April."
While hull shapes are important, most of the development in this cup is expected to be in the sails and rigs. Bigger downwind sails have been introduced along with inflatable battens in the headsails while twisting rigs and jumperless rigs are two concepts some teams have experimented with.
"That [sails and rigs] is where we have made our best progress," Sadler said. "We have got Brett Jones [Australia] who sailed with Oracle in the last cup. He has brought lot of experience to our team and our sail programme has made the biggest leap over the last year. We have stuck a new rig in the boat which has been a big improvement."
In last year's racing Shosholoza gained three mid-fleet finishes in the pre-regattas and they finished in seventh place overall in the season. They remain in ninth place on the challenger ranking table but are just five points behind Areva Challenge and +39 Challenge.
"When we started in 2004 it was like some sort of adventure being involved in this," Sadler said. "But as the team has developed, it has gone from something we were just competing in to suddenly being a full-blown America's Cup team expecting to get some results.
"The passion this team holds for sailing and the way that everyone is feeling about trying to make the most out of their sailing... it is not business as usual. It is to do as much as you can and show the world what you have got."
Yacht club: Royal Cape Yacht Club
Country: Republic of South Africa (RSA)
Sail Number: RSA83
Team Established: 2003
Head of Team: Captain Salvatore Sarno
Skipper: Mark Sadler
Helmsmen: Paolo Cian
Afterguard: Ian Ainslie, Tommaso Chieffi, Marc Lagesse
Designer: Jason Ker
Current Challenger ranking: 9 (of 11 teams)