Sunday, September 30, 2007

That's Larry!

In a modern day twist on the "Prince and the Pauper" the Marin Independent Journal ran a story recently on..."the gold collar-blue collar partnership of Larry Ellison and Norbert Bajurin - the billionaire and the mechanic..."

Says the journalist...."
At first glance, the two men seem to have little in common."

Um, well yes. How many of us truly have something in common with the
fourth-richest person in 2007, a man who Forbes reports as having a net worth of $26 billion? Well there is the "common" interest in sailing...only with Larry its not so common.

Reminds me of my Ellison sighting story. I was crewing for John Sweeney in a vintage America's Cup regatta on the SF Bay circa 2003. I had the mast position on US-11 Stars & Stripes. At first I was taken with the glamor of it all but I have to say, honestly, that vintage AC boats not only require a lot of $$ to keep up but they also begin to make scary noises in wind above 15 knots. Luckily during my brief tenure only one block blew up with no lasting harm done.

Anywhoo...we were reliving the race at the yacht club bar in Sausalito. I was on the deck overlooking the harbor and glanced over to the bar to see if the time was right for another drink run...people three deep stood chattering around a skinny man obscured save for his pale, hairless legs shod in old school topsiders, black dress socks pulled to mid-calf. He may have been out of sight but his voice wasn't. We could clearly hear him bellowing at his entourage, all of them to a one wagging their heads in unison.

"Who in the hell is that?" I asked, guessing at some local dignitary or sailing legend gone to seed.

"Ah c'mon dude," my new found mate sneered in disgust at my lack of savvy. "That's Larry."

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