Silicon Folly: How To Make an "Extreme" Sailboat Race Dull and Deadly

Ken Layne · 08/19/13 12:00PM

It was going to be the greatest outdoor sports spectacle in history: weird giant sailboats racing against each other in the grand natural amphitheater of the San Francisco Bay all summer long, with hundreds of thousands of happy spectators watching from the Bay's 400 miles of shoreline. At least that was the idea when billionaire and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, after winning the right to choose this year's location for the America's Cup sailing competition along with his victory in 2010's race, chose the bay instead of the more customary open ocean. Instead, it's a giant flop with "races" that usually consist of a single awkward catamaran bouncing around by itself in the fog.

Ken Layne · 05/09/13 03:30PM

The first America's Cup 2013 disaster is underway: the racing sailboat Artemis has capsized in the San Francisco Bay near the America's Cup pier. One of the eleven crewmembers has died.

Rival billionaires go to court over three-hulled superyacht

Paul Boutin · 08/30/08 07:40PM

Larry Ellison's $10 million monster trimaran, designed to dominate the America's Cup race, may have been built in vain. Ellison and Swiss / Italian pharmaceuticals billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli have dragged a fight over the century-old race's rules into the courtroom. Even the New York Times has trouble explaining what the argument is about, so I've made you a briefing:Bertarelli created his own team, Team Alinghi, by raiding the hot Team New Zealand in 2000. Alinghi has easily won the two most recent America's Cup races. In response, Ellison's own BMW Oracle team built the trimaran. Now, Bertarelli wants to increase the allowed size of the boats and make the race an every-other-year event. Ellison's lawsuit, filed by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, seeks to replace the official challenger for the next race, the Spanish group Desafio Espanol, with BMW Oracle. The suit claims Desafio Espanol is an "invalid challenger" because it has not held a regatta in accordance with America's Cup regulations. Desafio Espanol claims a regatta it held in Spain does too qualify. An arbitration panel agreed with that last year. Bertarelli says he's trying to improve the race's popular appeal. Ellison says Bertarelli is trying to manipulate the rules to hold onto the cup against the threat of Ellison's new boat. The New York Supreme Court will hear the case in October. (Photo by Getty Images/AFP/Gilles Martin-Raget)

Larry Ellison and fellow billionaire trade accusations of rigging the America's Cup

Jackson West · 03/24/08 07:00PM

The America's Cup is the world's premier opportunity for the ultrariches to prove whose is bigger. But if you think the race has anything to do with sailing, you'd be mistaken — it's about who can muster the most capital. This year the victor could be rigged by lawyers, not sailors, thanks to a spat between billionaire software tycoon Larry Ellison and billionaire biotech tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli.