America’s Cup Argo Challenge Gets IFDS Support.


One of the benefits of Oracle Racing starting with a new sheet of paper for the America’s Cup is that challenging teams perhaps start from a more level playing field. Of course the America’s Cup, like many sports is unlikely to be won at the first attempt and for some, sport provides bigger returns than just the glory of holding up the cup and any financial returns.

The Argo Challenge is a project that deserves to gain widespread support. Early versions of the campaign were made impossible by the fight between BMW ORACLE and Alinghi, but now, the project is gaining momentum again. The team have made a series of appointments to add more commercial firepower to the impressive team of athletics already on board and the International Federation of Disables Sailors has also added their support to the campaign.

The challenge statement says:

Argo is moving forward in many directions at breakneck speed in order to make our Challenge within the Challenge deadline of March 31s. We are raising the initial funding necessary to register for the America’s Cup, pay the bond, purchase an AC45 and do everything else associated with organizing and supporting a team for this tremendous opportunity to show the world how empowered people of varying abilities are.

International Federation of Disabled Sailors Supports Argo

Argo Challenge received a strong vote of confidence from IFDS, the International Association for Disabled Sailing, which is the governing body within ISAF, the International Sailing Federation, charged with overseeing the sport of sailing for people with disabilities.

After meeting with Argo representatives during US Sailing’s Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta, the IFDS board enthusiastically offered its support. IFDS President, Linda Merkle stated in her letter to the Argo Challenge:

“I am most pleased to inform you that IFDS (International Association for Disabled Sailing) is delighted to support the efforts of the Argo Challenge to develop a racing team for the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco. The goal to develop a team of sailors and sailors with disabilities is certainly compatible with our mission of inclusion, equity and opportunity for our sailors.”

Lynn Fitzpatrick, Communications and Marketing Officer for Argo Challenge said:

“The IFDS vote of confidence is significant in that it provides the Argo Challenge with a wealth of experience and an international network to help ensure that we are employing best practices as we recruit the team, design and build the racing and support boats and facilities, and move forward in training and competing. We couldn’t be more pleased with the relationship,”

New Management Appointments.

Mark A. Hillman will become Argo Challenge Treasurer. Mr. Hillman is founder, President and Chief Investment Officer of Hillman Capital Management (HCM), an investment advisory company.┬áMark is also a sailor from the Annapolis area, and has America’s Cup experience. Mark served as Treasurer of the Severn Sailing Association (SSA) for two years and was an in-house sail maker for Canada One during in 1983.

Walter Raineri has been announced as Tax Counsel & Spokesman. Mr. Raineri, a partner at Fenwick & West LLP and a gifted athlete. Although blind, Walter competes at a top level in a variety of sports and excels at everything he does.

Ashley Tobin becomes Argo Counsel and Rules Advisor.┬áTobin was with BMW Oracle Racing from its initial campaign in 2003 through 2010 when the team won the America’s Cup. Ms. Tobin’s role at BMW ORACLE Racing included negotiating the BMW deal for each of the three campaigns. With BMW Oracle Racing, Tobin was primarily responsible for the legal aspects of the BMW sponsor relationship and was also a member of the Protocol Group.

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