Persian Gulf location picked by Swiss
US America’s Cup supremo Larry Ellison has questioned the safety of a Persian Gulf port picked as the site for the America’s Cup showdown between his American-based crew and defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland, AP reports.
Ellison, the Oracle Corp. founder and CEO who owns BMW Oracle Racing, said he’s never been to Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, which was named last week by Alinghi as the port for the best-of-3 showdown starting Feb. 8 for the oldest trophy in international sports.
“I don’t exactly know what to say,” Ellison said during the official presentation of his crew and the giant trimaran it will sail. “I think they picked it because it’s very light winds. I’m a little bit concerned because it’s less than 100 miles from Iran, so we’re all concerned about the safety of our crew and our shore crew and everyone setting set up there.”
Ras al-Khaimah, or RAK, is on the southern end of the Persian Gulf and not far from the Strait of Hormuz, which separates the peninsula from Iran.
“People say, ‘Oh my God, the Emirates, that’s where Roger Federer trains for tennis and that’s where Formula One races,’ ” said Ellison, who will sail aboard the 90-foot trimaran. “Not this part of the Emirates. There’s an oil depot, we’re concerned about electricity, we’re concerned about a lot of things. We’re concerned about the proximity to Iran.
“I know a lot of people in the UAE. We like them a lot. Oracle does do a lot of business with the UAE. Nothing bad to say about the UAE at all, but we are concerned about the suitability of this particular venue for a race like this.”