The Billionaire and the Mechanic
How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing's Greatest Race, The America's C
By Julian Guthrie
(Grove Press, Hardcover, 9780802121356, 304pp.)
Publication Date: May 2013
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The America’s Cup, first awarded in 1851, is the oldest trophy in international sports, and one of the most hotly contested. In 2000, Larry Ellison, co-founder and billionaire CEO of Oracle Corporation, decided to run for the coveted prize and found an unlikely partner in Norbert Bajurin, a car radiator mechanic who had recently been named Commodore of the blue collar Golden Gate Yacht Club.
Julian Guthrie’s The Billionaire and the Mechanic tells the incredible story of the partnership between Larry and Norbert, their unsuccessful runs for the Cup in 2003 and 2007, and their victory in 2010. With unparalleled access to Ellison and his team, Guthrie takes readers inside the design and building process of these astonishing boats, and the management of the passionate athletes who race them. She traces the bitter rivalries between Oracle and their competitors, including Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli’s Team Alinghi, and throws readers into exhilarating races from Australia and New Zealand to Valencia, Spain.
With new television coverage and huge media, the America’s Cup is poised to be bigger than ever, and The Billionaire and the Mechanic is a must-read for anyone interested in the race or this remarkable story.
Julian Guthrie is an award-winning journalist and staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle. She is the author of The Grace of Everyday Saints: How a Band of Believers Lost Their Church and Found Their Faith. She lives in San Francisco.
[An] excellent book
The story of Mr. Ellison’s decade-long effort to win the Cup and bring it back to the U.S. under Golden Gate’s flag is worth telling, and Julian Guthrie, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, tells it well.”Angus Phillips, The Wall Street Journal
"Julian Guthrie's riveting book takes readers deep into uncharted realms, from the extremes of the ocean to the sublime connection between two singular men. The Billionaire and The Mechanic is a wondrously detailed story, beautifully told, by a writer who understands both the intricacies of human nature and the immensity of the natural world." Susan Casey, author of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean
Surely the most comprehensive book ever written about an America's Cup challenge, The Billionaire and The Mechanic will surely be must reading for any yacht-racing aficionado." Frank Deford
From the opening scene in this bookand scene is the appropriate word for its cinematic beginningthe reader is swept along on heart-thumping rides on swift, dueling sailboats, past an assemblage of characters worthy of Dreiser, past the shoals of deceit worthy of Dickens, and coming to rest on the formidable character of billionaire Larry Ellison, who has the will-to-win of his best friend, Steve Jobs, and of a mechanic, who made winning possible. Julian Guthrie writes as if with a magic wand, holding the reader spellbound.”Ken Auletta
"This is one helluva great read. Larry and Norbert - beautiful dreamers both, men with faith in their ability to convert them to reality. This book is fascinating; it informs, educates and entertains about the longest continuously contested trophy in all of sports. This is a must read for lovers of sport, and particularly for sailors.”Bob Fisher, author of An Absorbing Interest: The America's Cup - A History 1851-2003
"Larry Ellison's America's Cup victory was as improbable as it was inevitable. The same is true of his alliance with radiator repairman Norbert Bajurin. In this absorbing page-turner, Julian Guthrie tells us how they came together to make history." G. Bruce Knecht, author of The Proving Ground: The Inside Story of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race
The Billionaire and the mechanic is pumping with adrenaline and yet full of subtle, surprising details about both sailing and one of the most mysterious, controversial characters on earth. This book is tirelessly reported and Guthrie has a rare writing gift to tie it all together into a work of literary journalism that reads like a thriller.”Jaimal Yogis, author of The Fear Project
"If you're interested in the America's Cup competition, or in sailboat racing generally, you'll love this book. Julian Guthrie's taut and fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the colorful personalities, the risky development of astonishing new boats, and the hair-raising racing tactics of Larry Ellison's long campaign to win the trophy is necessary background reading." Derek Lundy, author of Godforsaken Sea: A True Story of Racing the World's Most Dangerous Waters
”Guthrie’s interviews with the reclusive 68-year-old were a feat in themselves (Ellison rarely agrees to them) [but] The Billionaire and the Mechanic is about more than just Ellison. It’s a look at the competitive and high-tech world of the America’s Cupone in which obsessive boat builders search for ultralightweight carbon-fiber custom blends,’ hire million-dollar athletes to run their teams, and take each other to court over where races can be held.”Men’s Journal
An up-close tour of how the world’s fifth-richest man spent hundreds of millions of dollars, and hired and fired the best sailors on Earth, to win.”Daniel Fisher, Forbes