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Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Douglas Smith was tossing back a brew in 1995 when he and his buddies – world famous sailors Paul Cayard and John Kostecki – came up with an ambitious plan: Win the America’s Cup. And now they have their chance. The first of the qualifying races is Oct. 18. As a deal and development guy, Smith doesn’t get his picture in the paper, and he doesn’t get to race. “I’m not good enough to be in the back of the boat with the brains, and I’m too old to be at the front of the boat at the center for speed and power,” said the 45-year-old corporate lawyer. Serving as general counsel to the America One team, Smith helped raise $34 million and inked the sponsorship papers. One of the 11 total contenders vying for the chance to beat current cup holder New Zealand, America One is a true Silicon Valley creation. The sponsors include Hewlett-Packard, United Technologies, Telcordia and SAIC. Sadly, Smith hasn’t ridden the waves since April when he took his own boat out of dry dock and took a turn in the pre-trials for the U.S. Olympic team.

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