Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team has been found guilty of spying on the Italian team by an international jury of sailing experts, reports Julia Prodis Sulek at the Mercury News. The penalty shouldn’t hurt too much: they have to give up five days of practice and pay a $15,000 fine. That couch change for billionaire Ellison, one of the world’s richest men with a net worth of about $41 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Plus, as Sulek notes, spying is almost standard practice for the America’s Cup tournament, as everyone tries to gather intel on the competition. Even so, the Oracle team was found to have taken it a little too far with Italy’s Luna Rossa 72-foot catamaran in New Zealand waters in November. Oracle’s team apparently violated the rule that forbids competitors to sail within 200 meters of each other.
The loss of five days hurts the team more than the fine. They already lost a lot of practice days after the catamaran capsized in San Francisco Bay during a practicing session in October.
The $8 million boat was so badly damaged in that accident that the crew turned a big chunk of it into an aeroplane of sorts and entered it into a crazy event called the called Flugtag. That’s where people launch handmade flying contraptions off a 30-foot-tall platform to see how long they’ll fly before hitting the water.