America's Cup race goes to American ingenuity

American software tycoon Larry Ellison won the America’s Cup yacht race Sunday, using the latest technology to bring the cup back to the US for the first time in 15 years.

Heino Kalis / Reuters
BMW Oracle owner Larry Ellison lifts up the trophy after winning the 33rd America's Cup in Valencia, Sunday.

American software tycoon Larry Ellison won the America’s Cup yacht race in the Mediterranean Sunday, defeating the defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland.

It’s the first time a US team has taken home the cup since Dennis Conner lost it in 1995 to Team New Zealand.

Victory, as it often does in this race, went to the team with the technological edge.

Mr. Ellison’s tri-hulled behemoth vanquished bio-tech billionaire Ernesto Bertarell’s catamaran two days in a row, in the best of three races.

This is a rich man’s event, with this year witnessing the most expensive entries in the contest’s 159-year history. Each team spent more than 100 million ($138 million) in pursuit of the most advanced, state-of-the-art sailing technology.

Oracle’s captain, for example, wore dark glasses hooked to a computer that projected on the lenses information about the wind speed, direction, and sail loads.

Both boats tapped aeronautical and material science engineers to create carbon-fiber aquatic missiles able skim the surface of the ocean at three times the speed of the wind.

On Sunday, the Oracle – a black-and-white trimaran with a 223 foot vertical wing span – spent much of the day skating on just one of its hulls, as the other two became airborne.

It’s final margin of victory: 5 minutes, 26 seconds.

The America’s Cup will return to US soil for the first time in 15 years, where it will be displayed by San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club.


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