POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 26, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 8:55 a.m. HST, Jan 26, 2014
SAN DIEGO >> The next America’s Cup could be sailed off a Hawaii beach, on San Diego Bay or in some other port instead of returning to a San Francisco Bay course bordered by the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.
Russell Coutts, the CEO of America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA, told the Associated Press on Saturday that sailing officials are talking with other venues about hosting the 35th America’s Cup in August 2017 because San Francisco officials haven’t offered the same terms as they did for last summer’s regatta, which ended with the American syndicate staging one of the greatest comebacks in sports.
Coutts, a five-time America’s Cup winner, said he’s not prepared to rule out San Francisco as host of the next regatta. “They might have a change of heart. I don’t think they will, but they might,” Coutts said by phone from France. He is in Europe talking to potential sponsors.
Hawaii’s chances of hosting the America’s Cup match, a warm-up regatta or perhaps an early round of challenger eliminations appear to be on the rise because of the relationship between Larry Ellison, the software billionaire who owns Oracle Team USA, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Coutts said he hasn’t had discussions with Abercrombie. When asked if Ellison had spoken with the governor about the America’s Cup, Coutts said: “Yes, I expect that Larry has had a discussion.”
Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp., bought 98 percent of Lanai in 2012 and has put millions of dollars into renovating two resorts there. He has plans for further development on what’s also known as Pineapple Island.
Abercrombie spoke glowingly last summer about Ellison’s involvement with Lanai, saying: “I can’t think of anything that I’ve been involved with in decades, on a magnitude of this nature, that has been more pleasant and productive and cooperative than the relationship that at least we in the state have had with Mr. Ellison and his people.”