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on 23 September 2013
This is a good and enjoyable book that describes how Larry Ellison (the "billionaire" head of Oracle) campaigned to win the Americas Cup, with failures in 2003 and 2007 culminating with a win in 2010. The "mechanic" is Norbert Bajurin who, as commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, provided the club required to mount a challenge.

The book is clearly based on extensive interviews with the various protagonists, strung together chronologically to describe how the challenges were put together and also how the races themselves were fought. It gives some interesting insights into the life of Larry Ellison, and also reveals just how tricky it is to assemble and hold together the world-class team required to win this sort of challenge.

I found it a little disappointing that the book is mostly about personalities, with the boats themselves - the most extraordinary racing machines ever created - getting only minor mentions. I confess to being biased since I am an engineer, and thus interested in the technicalities, but nevertheless I think the book would have been better had it contained more about the design and construction of the boats, and also about how the crews learned to sail them.

To give just two examples: The Dam Busters: (Pan Military Classics Series), or Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys, both manage to combine the technical with human interest while explaining extraordinary endeavours, and are truly outstanding books as a consequence.

Don't let me put you off buying it, this is a good book, but it could have been better.

Incidentally at the time of writing (Sept 23rd 2013) the cup is currently being fought over once more with the defenders, team Oracle for America, 3-8 down in a "best of 9 races" match against New Zealand. I wonder how it will turn out?
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on 16 September 2013
Disclosure - I work for Oracle (I bought the book though)

Great story about the America's Cup and the twists and turns of putting a team together and competing.

You also get some insights in Mr Ellison's life and thought processes along the way but it's really about putting teams together, racing boats and turning a boat race into worldwide spectacle and the differences between financing and helming/crewing on a boat.

I used to sail & race dinghies & yachts but you don't need to race boats to get this book (though it would help if you know the sharp end from the blunt end as there are some race descriptions which really come to life if you have sailed yourself).

Many favorite parts of this book but I don't wish to spoil it.

I would buy this book again / recommend it.
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on 16 January 2015
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