They're the first-ever African team to compete in the America's Cup since the race began 155 years ago.
"It's a massive opportunity for everyone sailing on this boat," says skipper Mark Sadler, "because we never would have dreamed of ever being able to go to the America's Cup — ever.
Sadler's team, most of whom had never seen an America's Cup boat until a few years ago, are now taking on the yachting world's best — with their fighting spirit, bright colors and distinctly African name.
The sailors have no trouble living up to their name Shosholoza, a Zulu word meaning "to move forward." They've been moving forward and up the America's Cup rankings, taking the sailing world by surprise.
Now the team that began as an underdog — with only a fraction of the million-dollar budgets most of the other teams enjoy — is consistently beating some of the most elite sailing teams in the world. The South Africans are currently ranked sixth in the America's Cup.
It's a personal triumph for crew member Marcello Burricks. Sailing freed him from the life of violence and gangs that was all he'd known growing up in a bad area on the outskirts of Cape Town.
"I love the sea, and you feel free every time you get onto that board," he says. "The sail sets and off you go."
By the time he was just 13, the soft-spoken young boy had been stabbed five times. That was when one of his teachers, Madge Waries, offered to enroll him in a sailing program for disadvantaged children.
"He was standing on the stoop and he had this look on his face and I just turned around and said to my mommy, 'I think I'm going to ask that child,' " she says.
Waries had no idea sailing would awaken such a passion in Burricks. That's where Burricks' talents first caught the eye of the America's Cup team.
Today, when Burricks comes back to help, he's a hero to a whole new generation of sailors.
"It's my home away from home," he says. "It's where I came from, so I understand what the kids are going through."
For Burricks and Team Shosholoza, the journey to the America's Cup has been an African dream. He says that at first, no one took them seriously:
"Before, they would send their B teams to race with us," he says. "Then we started winning some races. Now they are getting the A+ teams to go sailing with us.
Winning the America's Cup would be a long shot for Shosholoza. But victory for this team is about far more than where they finish the race.