Argo Challenge has Legs

Lynn Fitzpatrick BAADS staff commodore Herb Meyer and Paul Cayard
Argo Challenge
The Argo Challenge has been working 24/7 in Europe and from the West Coast of the United States to transform Idea Argo into a reality. We have one vision, one value and one dream. We want to compete in the 34th edition of the America's Cup on under the same terms as the other challengers.

Argo's many activities since the December 31st announcement that the America's Cup will be held in San Francisco in 2013 include:

Introducing the Argo Challenge to the City and County of San Francisco through the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The office showed its willingness to embrace our effort with the hope that the America's Cup has a diversity of challengers and and as many challengers as possible. The Argo Challenge, in particular, is a compelling effort that resonates with San Francisco's values.

The distribution of Argo Challenge materials was facilitated to the City's department heads directly involved with the America's Cup and further introductions were made to departments such as the Mayor's Office on Disabilities whose mission is ensure that every program, service, benefit, activity and facility operated or funded by the City of San Francisco is fully accessible to, and useable by, people with disabilities.

The Argo Challenge met with representatives the Bay Area Association of Sailors with Disabilities (BAADS) and other outstanding organizations that work with people with disabilities, including a ballet company whose troupe includes disabled dancers and dancers who perform ballet in wheelchairs. We also met with organizations involved in travel and other athletic activities. All of these organizations embraced the Argo Challenge and agreed to work with the challenge to develop a San Francisco Bay Area collaborative effort to reach out to other organizations, funding sources, partners and benefactors locally, regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally to garner more support for the Argo Challenge and participants individual needs. Collectively, we identified a Bay Area athlete to be considered for the team and to assist in our meetings and be a spokesman in the Bay Area and elsewhere.

Argo toured the waterfront and identified prospective base locations and other training resources and alliance partners.

The proximity of the UCSF campus to the Argo Challenge base with its hub of bio-tech and stem research initiatives and the nucleus of private ventures in the immediate area, Argo is confident that synergistic arrangements can be made with our future San Francisco neighbors.

We met with the San Francisco academics who have voiced their support the creation and construction of a Marine Science Career Academy as an integral, comprehensive component of the event and as a permanent model educational resource. For starters, we recommended that they look to The Greal Project, started by Lars, Torben and Axel Grael and Marcello Ferreira, which has touched thousands of underprivileged Brazilians, has been recommended as a model. We acknowledged that our team is civic minded and our members speak, teach and volunteer regularly.

Argo will be as cooperative as it can with the Bay Area organizations and the educational system to be a showcase for education, science, technology, healing, recovery and overcoming setbacks. The Argo Challenge welcomes a dialogue with ACEA about housing an interactive learning facility on its base.

Argo Challenge met with other organizations and service providers who were interested in working with Argo over other challengers and the ACEA because they want to be affiliated with an organization that sends a universal message and will have sustained visibility throughout the 2.5-year build up to the finals of the America's Cup.

Argo Challenge provided content to international sailing periodicals and has placed articles, which will be published eminently.

Argo Challenge had discussions with a major news network and provided information on the team to editors. Argo will work with the media to generate interest in the Argo Challenge team during US Sailing's Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta, the only ISAF World Cup event to take place in North America.

Many of our team members will be competing at the event, including Lars Grael, who will be sailing the Men's Olympic Class keelboat, the Star. Lars has the best record of any skipper in the combined 2009 and 2010 Star World Championships. He was third in 2009 and fourth in 2010. Only the Olympic gold medalists, the ISAF #1 ranked team and the ISAF World Sailor of the Year and two-time Olympic gold medalist and older brother to Lars, beat our distinguished skipper.

Argo Challenge has had preliminary meetings with significant sponsors who have direct ties to the disabled community and whose decision makers are avid sailors.

Argo Challenge has had preliminary discussions with a Hollywood publicist about a reality TV series on the team.

Argo Challenge has a copyright number on a screenplay about the team.

Argo Challenge has the endorsement of the foremost inclusive sailing program in the United States, if not the world, Shake a Leg Miami ('SALM'). It has agreed to work with us in any way we ask to facilitate our efforts, including introducing us to prospective sponsors and programs at various centers of excellence in neuro-spinal injury and rehabilitation, particularly in the Miami, FL area.

Team Paradise, a world-renowned program based at Shake a Leg Miami and run by Olympic Gold Medalist and World Sailor of the Year, Magnus Liljedahl, has agreed to work with us. Team Paradise provides coaching and equipment to Paralympic sailing teams from all over the world.

Shake a Leg Miami, Team Paradise, the Wounded Warrior program and Argo Challenge will be having a party on Sunday, January 23rd and the Argo Challenge will be presented to all attending. We will have an announcement and expect media attention. We plan on having collaborative meetings and meetings with prospective sponsors while in Miami.

Argo Challenge will be visible at the MOCR because Lars Grael's Star will have the Argo graphics on it as will a TRIAK that Lynn Fitzpatrick will be demonstrating throughout the regatta and using to access the water.

The MOCR represents an opportunity for the Argo Challenge to complete its athlete profile packages, take photos and video and scout for team members and coaches. It will also give us the opportunity to inform all of the sailing federations attending the event of our seriousness in fielding an America's Cup team.

Many more meetings, introductions and inquiries have been made since January 5th. Suffice it to say, Argo Challenge has been embraced by virtually everyone in the San Francisco Bay Area and an America's Cup campaign that represents one of the pillars of this America's Cup that is being staged in San Francisco Bay's amphitheater in the area of the United States that has set precedent in addressing the needs of those with disabilities. Including the Argo Challenge in the America's Cup represents wise political sensibility and business acumen.

Argo contacted Lt. Governor and Ambassador to the America's Cup, Gavin Newsom's office and forwarded preliminary information about the Argo Challenge. The Lt. Governor's office replied that the he has a scheduling conflict with the Miami events, but would like to be included in future events.

The Argo Challenge has the talent and ambition to become not only the greatest asset of the 34th America's Cup, but a leader in demonstrating cooperation, technology, accomplishment and all of the good that can be achieved when a team strives to test its limits.

The Argo Challenge wants to win the America's Cup and it wants to spread its message that we can compete on par with the best sailors in the world on the fastest boats in the world.

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