The founder of one of Australia’s most successful family wine-making businesses has thrown down the gauntlet to Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA for the next America’s Cup yacht race.
Bob Oatley, 85, founder of the Rosemount Estate wine label, and his eldest son Sandy, made the challenge to the Oracle founder’s team immediately after it snatched victory from the New Zealand team at the 34th America’s Cup event last week.
The race was the 30th anniversary of Australia’s first America’s Cup win with xxAustralia IIxx, which ended the US’s run of 25 consecutive victories.
Sandy told Reuters: “We’ve been watching the 34th America’s Cup and watching the catamarans racing around San Francisco Bay and seeing some of our fellow Australian sailors participating and seeing what a shame it is that Australia doesn’t have a team to compete in this arena.”
Oatley, worth a reported $945 million, has long been a keen sailor, winning Britain’s Admiral’s Cup, and four Sydney to Hobart races – considered the world’s most difficult long-distance race – with his series of Wild Oats maxi yachts.
Rosemount Estate was sold to Southcorp Wines in 2001, which is now part of brewery group Foster’s, Oatley has since founded another eponymous wine label and has interests in hospitality and luxury tourism, owning Hamilton Island, part of Australia’s Whitsunday Islands on the Great Barrier Reef.
The challenge was formally issued via the Hamilton Island Yacht Club to the Golden Gate Bridge Yacht Club.