Skip to content

Larry Ellison’s wrecked America’s Cup yacht is reborn as an airplane

Nov 7, 2012, 3:10 PM EDT

Comments Off

Not the airplane pictured here exactly, but it will be of the same ilk. The Flugtag is Saturday in San Francisco (McCovey Cove), and one of the makeshift flying vehicles to be launched into the bay will be a miniature version of an $8 million America’s Cup yacht.

That’s because Larry Ellison wrecked his boat last month, when the Oracle Team USA racing catamaran AC72 capsized in San Francisco Bay and was swept out to sea during an America’s Cup tuneup race. (Sad tune on bosun’s whistle here). So the Oracle team is taking parts of the boat and making a smaller version in the form of an airplane, to be entered in the Flugtag.

What’s a Flugtag? It’s a competition in which homemade, non-motorized airplanes are launched into the water from 30-foot platforms. They have ‘em all over the world, and the next one happens to be in SF. The one pictured above is from a Flugtag in Vienna, Austria.

The Flugtag – German for flight day – generally draws teams of goofballs and super nerds intent on gliding over McCovey Cove for a split second longer than their rivals. The Flugtag, which is staged at venues around the world, is often shown in Red Bull television commercials.

“We’re gonna pitch-pole right off the platform,” Oracle Team USA sailor Shannon Falcone predicted, describing an elaborate sailboat crash that sends the boat tiller over teakettle – exactly what wrecked the big AC72 boat in October.

“So everybody will have a replay of what happened when the big boat crashed,” Falcone said with a smirk.

“Sitting at lunch, I saw a (video) feed of the Flugtag, and I thought maybe we could do that,” said Falcone, 30. “I thought it would be a good way for us all to come together. … Everyone’s in for watching me go down in flames.”

Oracle’s new boat for next year’s America’s Cup won’t be ready until Feb., so the team has to have something to do in the meantime.