SAN FRANCISCO
06/05/2013 12:33 pm ET

America's Cup: When Billionaire Sets Rules, It's An Exclusive Race

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SAN FRANCISCO — Victory in the America’s Cup of 2010 gave Larry Ellison, the tech titan who had spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to capture sailing’s ultimate prize, the right to set the rules for this year’s regatta.

Mr. Ellison, whose Silicon Valley software company, Oracle, has made him the world’s fifth-richest man, decided to bring the race home to the postcard-perfect, television-friendly San Francisco Bay, promising a sporting event that would showcase the city and transform its waterfront. But another decision — calling for the design of extremely expensive, sophisticated and fast 72-foot catamarans that would, for the first time in the history of the 162-year-old competition, fly above the water in high winds in a maneuver known as “foiling” — immediately raised worries about cost and safety.

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