How billionaire Larry Ellison and his Oracle team succeeded in returning the America's Cup, the premier prize in global yachting, to the United States.
Victory came in 2010 when USA-17, Ellison's state-of-the-art, carbon-fiber composite boat regained the cup after failures in 2003 and 2007. San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Guthrie’s (The Grace of Everyday Saints: How a Band of Believers Lost Their Church and Found Their Faith, 2011) splendid elaboration of the victory also encompasses the history of the race and the competitors and their boats from its beginnings in the mid-19th century. She marks off clearly which parts of the team's success were due to luck, which to money, and which to skill and superior technology, and she ably captures the parallel competition between men and their boats and the power of nature working through ocean and weather. Guthrie presents the successive challenges Ellison had to overcome as he developed the skills, the team and the technology that could tame the waves and human competition. Part of her story involves the organization of a kind of insurrection in the elite world of yacht clubs. Working with radiator mechanic Norbert Bajurin, commodore of San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, Ellison took on both privilege and inherited wealth, as represented by Ernesto Bertarelli and his Swiss Team Alinghi, which had won in 2007. Their 2010 rematch brought together some of the same leading competitors from Ellison's first attempt in New Zealand in 2003. Guthrie crisply sketches the complex process that was required for Ellison to establish his own position in the top ranks of yachting and organize the winning team in 2010.
A thriller of a tale and a worthy scene-setter for this summer's trophy defense in San Francisco Bay.