While the rich like to brag that they lunch at the yacht club, the really, really rich apparently boast that they never go near the place.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, for one, avoids his own Golden Gate Yacht Club, despite the fact he and his employees spend hundreds of dollars in dues
there, and even though the club happens to be sponsoring the 2013 America's Cup, with Ellison as defending champion.
"I'll see Larry flying in his private jet over the club more than I'll
see him come to the club," the Wall Street Journal quoted Yacht Club commodore Norbert Bajurin as saying. "When we need to talk, I go down to his neck of the woods."
In a Thursday Q&A with the WSJ, Bajurin says Ellison saved San Francisco's smaller yacht club from financial ruin during the early 2000s. At the time, Ellison was in negotiations with the St. Francis Yacht Club over details for launching an America's Cup challenge.
When talks fell through, "I got in touch with the CEO of the [Oracle] racing team, and I said, 'I hear you are looking for a yacht club," Bajurin said.
"There were benefits for both of us.The club with its headquarters near Marina Green, is more modest than the ritzy St. Francis Yacht Club. Now, the scrappy little club is slated to host to the biggest event in sailing -- and it's faced with the task of figuring out how to pay for it.
Larry had a club that was now listening to his needs. And he made 100
members of his team members of our club. The dues over the next year
basically wiped our $450,000 debt out clean," he said.
"We need to get sponsors. That's the next big step. With
this economy, money is hard to find, and people who do have money out
there are not spending right now. It's an uncertain time. We can do it.
It's just going to take some time," Bajurin said.