Billionaire considers Hawaii for next America's Cup

Larry Ellison considers Honolulu as venue for next America's Cup

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The America's Cup trophy will be on display in Honolulu next month. Governor Neil Abercrombie and others hope that the next yacht race will also be in Hawaii.

Billionaire Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA captured the championship last year during a thrilling comeback. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Ellison indicated that the 2017 competition would likely take place in the islands. The report was based on an excerpt from Chronicle staff writer Julian Guthrie's book, "The Billionaire and the Mechanic: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing's Greatest Race, the America's Cup, Twice."

"We've tried to make the most favorable impression we can as to Hawaii's ability to work with him (Ellison) in a positive way for Hawaii's benefit," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

There is already a lot of speculation about the upcoming race.

"If Ellison brings it down to, as he has been talking about, a smaller boat, it makes it more affordable and you could have much wider participation," said Scott Bradley, commodore of the Waikiki Yacht Club.

Ellison owns most of Lanai, but the island lacks the necessary infrastructure. Some supporters believe that Waikiki would be the perfect backdrop.

"These boats are high performance and you don't leave them in the water after a race so basically you need hardtop and cranes, and Hawaii's got the facilities to do that," said Bradley.

The San Francisco race generated $364-million in economic impact, falling far short of the initial projection of $1.4 billion. Figures released last month reportedly revealed the city ended up losing $11.5 million dollars.

"I never want to comment on what anybody else did or did not do or their relationships," said Abercrombie. "If it should come to Hawaii, the worldwide publicity on an ongoing basis would be invaluable. You can't put a price on it."

Other possible changes include preliminary regattas around the world, with the last qualifying race, the Louis Vuitton Cup, being held in Hawaii.

"The sailing community is just abuzz with excitement with just the possibility, so everybody's talking about where it could be done and what could happen," said Bradley.

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