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Larry Ellison’s Wednesday Dilemma

Thanks to two America’s Cup races being slated for today because there was too much wind yesterday, Oracle Team USA’s Larry Ellison has conflicting commitments. On the one hand, there are the two critical races scheduled for this afternoon that he surely doesn’t want to miss. On the other hand, Oracle software has to give its quarterly report at about the same time as the start of the first race. Ellison often gives the report himself. If he doesn’t, it’s likely to send a ‘sailing is more important to me than my company’ message. Shareholders wouldn’t be impressed, and it could cost Ellison — who still owns more than 20% of Oracle — tens if not hundreds of millions in the value of his Oracle stock. You and we should have such problems.

At this critical point in the Cup finals, New Zealand leads 7 to 1, and needs only 2 wins to take the Cup back to Auckland. Oracle will have to win 8 races to keep the Cup here in the United States.

Normally not one to get ahead of himself, Kiwi honcho Grant Dalton told the press that if the Cup goes back to New Zealand, it’s almost certain there will be two changes. First, in order to attract many more participants, it’s going to cost much less to mount a campaign. Dalton says he’ll consult with other possible participants, including one from the U.S. not named Oracle Team USA, to see what kind of boats they want to race in. Dalton is open to monohulls as well as multihulls, although having been to sailing’s version of Paris, it’s going to be hard to ever go back to the farm. In addition, Dalton will push for some kind of nationality requirement, although the details haven’t been worked out yet. While requiring most if not all of the sailors on a team to be from the country they are sailing for wouldn’t be a hardship on traditional sailing powers, but it would make entries from China, Korea and other developing countries non-competitive and therefore not very interested.

Anyone care to take a guess what’s going on in the following video? 

Answer: It was part of the Helly Hansen fashion show put on during an Artemis function last week. It included a woman in a Helly Hansen bikini doing a routine on a pole, but the lens on our camera got too foggy for reproduction. The show was as different from the norm as the 34th America’s Cup is different from its predecessors.

You may have heard that the America’s Cup officials have floated the idea that if both teams agreed, they could sail in winds in excess of the current limits. Perhaps because of nearly flipping in that earlier race, the word is that the Kiwis aren’t so hot on the idea. With yesterday’s strong front having passed through, it’s likely there will be two races today, despite the fact that there will still be a considerable ebb.

Don’t miss the racing today — if the Kiwis win two, it’s over, and we won’t see boats racing like this again for years . . . if not decades.

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