the billionaire and the mechanic

The Billionaire and the Mechanic: How An Unlikely Duo Won Sport’s Oldest Trophy

Rachael Gosnell
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May 29, 2013

the billionaire and the mechanicJust in time for the 2013 America’s Cup, The Billionaire and the Mechanic brilliantly captures the ongoing challenges of the prestigious race, telling the vivid story of  cutting-edge boats and the vast teams required to bring them to the start line in this riveting tale of competition, tragedy and triumph.

Author Julian Guthrie captures the incredible tale of an unlikely partnership between Larry Ellison, cofounder and CEO of Oracle Corporation, and Norbert Bajurin, a car radiator mechanic.  In 2000, Ellison is determined to win the esteemed America’s Cup race, yet lacks the requisite yacht club sponsorship for his bid when negotiations with the tony St Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco fell apart. Bajurin, commodore of the blue-collar Golden Gate Yacht Club down the street, makes a sponsorship offer in a desperate attempt to pull his club back from the brink of bankruptcy. For a yacht club known more for its beer-can races than prestigious racing yachts, it seems an unlikely match.

Yet Ellison’s acceptance of Golden Gate Yacht Club sponsorship launches the unlikely duo into a dramatic attempt to capture the oldest trophy in international sports, the America’s Cup. Weaving the history of the storied race effortlessly into the novel, Guthrie guides the reader through an incredible quest for the Cup that traces its history to the finest yachts in the world since it was first awarded in 1851.

This dramatic tale follows the lives of those involved in the America’s Cup challenge, offering unparalleled insights into their personal battles, dreams and accomplishments. Guthrie exposes the bitter rivalries in the race, wrenching losses, and logistical nightmares that can only belong to a race that embodies the pinnacle of sailing. The book deftly captures the spirit of the competition and the never-ending quest to design the perfect boat and man it with the best crew.

Having watched the BMW Oracle Team in 2009 as they prepared in San Diego to yet again challenge the world’s finest teams, I can attest to the absolute awe that Ellison’s yacht inspired. Incredibly complex and the product of years of design, engineering and training, this boat revolutionized the America’s Cup race and was Ellison and Bajurin’s unlikely connection as they sought their place in yachting history.

As the 2013 America’s Cup challenge comes to San Francisco, this book is a must read for anyone wishing to better understand the complex and storied history of the race and personalities- or anyone who seeks an exhilarating tale of human spirit and the quest for victory.

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