As OneWorld starts delving down the back of the sofa for something, anything to help finance their campaign, Oracle Racing quietly began her second phase of sail training yesterday

The minefield of tech stock investment is proving very difficult to cross. Cisco Systems, formerly the biggest company in the world, gave Wall Street a profit warning a couple of days ago and that won’t have helped matters. But while Craig McCaw recoils at the full financial horror of what’s going on, Larry Ellison, the billionaire owner of Oracle, is still chin-up, taking on all-comers.

From their winter base in Ventura, California, the two Oracle Racing boats were launched yesterday, to begin their second phase of sail training after the first six-month phase in Auckland last year. Ellison is determined to get his money’s worth from these handsomely-paid sailing hotshots and after a morning of fitness training, both boats will leave the dock before noon and return late afternoon, five days a week, for six months.

The Auckland phase was interrupted for several weeks when the keel abruptly took up station at the bottom of Hauraki Gulf during training. The boat, USA-61 – formerly Paul Cayard’s AmericaOne, was saved after several hours of improvisation by the crew but the keel was lost and although the experience probably did quite a bit for crew bonding, it was an expensive exercise in time and money terms. Not to be repeated according to skipper Chris Dickson.