September update: Eating America’s Cup Crow

I’ve been slagging on Oracle’s Larry Ellison for a long time now, but I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. He’s managed to yet again come out on top through cheating, throwing money around but ultimately by putting the best team together, both sailing and design.

Kudos to British sailing with the introduction of Ben Ainslie to Oracle’s crew a compelling reason for the amazing comeback from an 8 to 1 deficit.

Ellison made the whole world of nay sayers, myself included, admit that his choice of sailboat class was not a mistake but a raving success.

americas cup win

I first became aware of Ellison in the 80s when the company I worked for, Informix, had arguably the best database technology at the time. Like team New Zealand we were beating Oracle every time in performance benchmarks. That’s when I first saw Larry pull one of his now famous Attila the Hun tricks when he stole our whole R&D core group out from under us and left us flat in the water. Cheating? Yup. But did he win? Yup. Informix is ancient history while the Oracle juggernaut sails on.

August posting – The America’s Cup: Super Sized Sailboats

Well it looks like Larry Ellison (my former boss) has finally outdone his own ego with the AC72 class sailboats

Thanks to Scott Hess ( for photo

Thanks to Scott Hess ( for photo

set to race in next week’s America’s Cup finals between teams New Zealand and Oracle.  I suppose it’s culturally consistent that the first America’s Cup held in the U.S. in decades coincides with the super sizing of the boat class to such an extent that the race is out of reach now for all but three teams.

Way to go Larry! Maybe you could learn a little from the more appropriately sized international sailing competition held in North Wales this summer, the UK/USA Challenge.modelboats 016 The tension was palpable as competitors arrived on the west shore of Llandudno for the semi-annual two day competition.  The customary secrecy around hull and keel designs was maintained with the utmost diligence. modelboats 008 Especially exciting was the start of each race, the crack of the starter’s gun, the elegance of the boats underway, modelboats 023 butt crack                                                       (excepting the occasional butt crack)
The races themselves were accented by harried boat owners running along the shore with poles to push wayward boats back into the fray.  Early on I saw some sails with the initials SF. modelboats 013Come to find out 80% of the US team hailed from my former stomping grounds of San Francisco where they have a model boat club on Spreckles Lake in Golden Gate park. I felt nostalgic thinking back to days when Erica and I lived just off the park and would walk, bike or roller blade to Spreckles Lake where occasionally we would see model sail boats. The San Francicsco club is the oldest in the US and the only one still not using radio control (which goes well here since the British club doesn’t either).

I suggest that Larry Ellison by court order have his sail racing confined to Spreckles Lake, if the model boat club would lower its standards and have him. oracle