|Billionaire Ellison sings praises of super cats after America’s Cup comeback triumph
Billionaire Larry Ellison (pictured) said the America's Cup series had changed the face of sailing after his Oracle Team USA completed a great comeback Wednesday.
The 34th edition of the prestigious yacht race had threatened to descend into chaos earlier this year following the decision to switch to the super-fast AC72 catamarans.
Ellison said however that the move to AC72s had been vindicated by the dramatic finale to the race, AFP reports.
“There was a lot of criticism about these boats,'' Ellison said.
“I felt I should keep my mouth shut and let the boats and the sailors demonstrate whether the vision was right or wrong.
“This regatta has changed sailing forever,'' Ellison said. “It was the most beautiful regatta I have ever seen.''
Many now wonder if the sport will ever return to using slower yachts.
“This is absolutely off-the-graph,'' said Richard Spindler of West Coast sailing magazine Latitude38. ``This is the most exciting yacht racing ever seen, inside the Cup or out.''
“I think the AC72s have found a sweet spot with the people,'' said regatta director Iain Murray. “They were challenging, exciting, and provided a great platform for these races.''
As winner, Ellison will get to dictate the location and types of boats used in the next America's Cup.
“I'd love to come back to San Francisco; I have a house here,'' Ellison said. “But we are going to sit down and talk to the officials in San Francisco and see if it will be possible to come back.''
He joked that the next Cup would be around the Hawaiian Island of Lanai, which he recently bought.
Ellison, ranked third richest person in the United States due to his business software company Oracle, is believed to have poured more than US$100 million into the team.
“It costs about the same to win as to lose, and it is certainly better to win the Cup,'' Ellison said while skirting precisely how much he spent to keep the trophy.
“I don't think anyone thinks about the money.''
He even paid US television giant NBC to broadcast coverage of Cup races.
More than one million people visited the America's Cup Park set up on a pier at the race course finish, according to California officials.