Emirates Team New Zealand competes in a fleet race during the America's Cup World Series on October 6, 2012 in San Francisco, Calif. - 

The America's Cup is officially underway in San Francisco. The world's most prestigious sailing competition has been compared to NASCAR -- but instead of cars, competitors race with Formula One-speed mega yachts.

In her book, "The Billionaire and The Mechanic: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing's Greatest Race," journalist Julian Guthrie tells the story of Oracle CEO's Larry Ellison and his unlikely partnership with Norbert Bajurin, the owner of a radiator repair shop.

She also gives some credit to Ellison for changing the America's Cup to the spectacle it is today.

"I think [he was] trying to come up with a boat that would appeal to the major networks to get network coverage for the first time in the history of the Cup. To do that they needed to make it fast. You have to make these boats really stunning visually, and you have to make them big enough that they look really good on TV."

Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal