Larry Ellison’s ORACLE Team USA won the America’s Cup in Valencia as a challenger in 2010 and defended it successfully in San Francisco in 2013. Both matches were two of the most remarkable in recent times. The 33rd Match in Valencia in 2010 was a so-called “Deed of Gift Match” featuring two extraordinary yachts, multihulls built to the 90ft LWL maximum-limit permitted by the Deed. Ellison’s 113’ trimaran USA 17 defeated Alinghi’s massive catamaran in the match 2-0. USA 17 was powered by a wing-sail towering over 220 feet tall—larger than a wing of a Boeing 747 or an Airbus A380.
Ellison stayed with multihulls for the 2013 defense on San Francisco Bay. Steered by Jimmy Spithill, ORACLE Team USA staged an astonishing comeback, winning eight straight races after being down 8-1 in the first-to-nine-wins series.
The 34th Match in San Francisco transformed the America’s Cup in several important ways. Foiling multihulls were introduced, racing was brought inshore, and races were reduced from 90 minutes to 30. Another important legacy of this match was the creation of graphics which could be applied to the live broadcast showing course boundaries, wind direction and strength, and a gain and loss advantage line to boost understanding for non-sailing fans.
Ellison began his America’s Cup career with the 2003 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger trials in Auckland and then raced in the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia. His run of five America’s Cup campaigns ended in 2017 when the Kiwis avenged their 2013 loss in Bermuda. An avid sports fan, Ellison also owns the Indian Wells tennis tournament, often called the Fifth Major, and the SailGP series raced in 50’ foiling catamarans.