America's Cup: Magnate enthuses on 'most beautiful regatta'

By Paul Lewis

Oracle's Larry Ellison, enjoying with skipper Jimmy Spithill (left) their victory yesterday, describes the AC72s as "amazing". Picture / Oracle
Oracle's Larry Ellison, enjoying with skipper Jimmy Spithill (left) their victory yesterday, describes the AC72s as "amazing". Picture / Oracle

Oracle Team USA nearly gave billionaire backer Larry Ellison a seizure. "There's a guy hanging off the wingsail. What's going on?" he wanted to know just before yesterday's deciding race in the America's Cup.

"It's two minutes to the start and there's a guy up the mast, putting glue on it. Glue? I mean, glue? My stress levels went up knowing that there's something wrong with the wingsail and who's to know if the glue will hold for the entire race.

"When USA 17 crossed the line, I don't think anyone knew."

Ellison appeared in public for the first time since the regatta began. He was giving little away about plans or venue for the next race - or how much he'd spent on defending the Cup - but he was more eloquent when asked to review the match and the worst moments.

Video


"The worst thing for me was the capsize [of Artemis] and the loss of Bart Simpson. It was such a freak accident but sailing is such a small community and all of us took that very hard.

These boats were meant to be extreme but they were not meant to be life-threatening. Like I say, a freak accident but I was obviously very upset.

"There was a lot of criticism about these boats but I didn't think I personally should respond; it was up to the guys [the Oracle crew] to say what these boats are like on the water and show that and let people judge for themselves what we have done.

"So I kept my mouth shut and let the boats and the sailors demonstrate whether our decision [on the AC72s] was right or wrong. I think what we got was the most beautiful regatta I have ever seen."

Asked what he thought of the fact that many Americans were "rooting" against him and for Team New Zealand, Ellison said: "I think that's the great thing about sport. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You can root for a team or a person or you can root against them or him. That's everyone's privilege."

On a venue for the next Cup, he said: "Personally I would love it to come back to San Francisco... But we need to sit down and talk with officials and see whether it is possible to come back here."

Ellison said he had already had an application from a syndicate to be challenger of record (COR) but would not divulge it yet. It is likely to be from Swedish syndicate Artemis, COR for this regatta.

On the possibility of using the AC72s again, Ellison said: "They are amazing. People not interested in sailing are suddenly interested in sailing. I think young kids will try sailing because of this. They might try a Hobie cat or something like that.

"I think this will make sailing just a bit more extreme for the viewing audience - and I have to say that the viewing audience for this America's Cup exceeds all the other America's Cups combined.'

Video


Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker had different views.

"Sailing the AC72s has been the most exhilarating and fun sailing I have ever done but we have been very fortunate that we haven't had any incidents or calamities and that we haven't injured anyone.

"You know the risk associated with these boats and that it is very high."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 22 Sep 2014 10:47:17 Processing Time: 1284ms