It was May, 9th 2013 when Andrew Simpson lost his life in San Francisco at age 36, trapped in the tangle of cables and carbon under the just collapsed Artemis Racing AC72. That was the most tragic incident in the history of the America’s Cup and a great loss for the entire sailing community. Since then, the figure of ” Bart “brought together many sailors for an impressive work of fundraising started through the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.
The most famous event is the Bart’s Bash, the annual regatta with races sailed worldwide simultaneously in a path of equal length. The 2016 Bart’s Bash was held last weekend organized by 363 yacht club in 58 countries with a global 7.306 sailors involved. Another huge success for an event that helps to remember the British Olympian, 2008 Gold and 2012 Silver medallist as Iain Percy’s bowman in the Star Class. The main goal is to collect funds for the foundation. This year 35,141 Pounds has been collected to date but the organizers are waiting for more in the next days.
The most represented class was the Laser, with 246 sailors, followed by Topper and Optimist. Best sailors country was UK with 2.882, followed by South Africa and Ukraine. Best club was Kiev Yacht Club, in Kiev, Ukraine.
Here a portrait of Bart by Luca Devoti:
Bart for all friends was a real sailing lover, a true champ that sailed well alone in lasers first and than in finns. I remember him proud on the Finn Gold Cup podium at the Cadiz Isaf Worlds in 2003 next to Ben Ainslie and Rafa Trujillo. From 2005 to 2007 he was an important member of the afterguard of +39 getting into AC life with a very difficult challenge, as +39 was heavily underfunded, though legendary some races specially the one were TNZL got beaten in Marstrand.
His best was though helping out Iain Percy in winning gold in Qingdao at the Games and silver in London. Him and Percy were friends first and than sailors. They have been one of the most complete crews in sailing history, Bart having a real eye for tactics and strategy and always taking the positives in every situation and keen to throw also the odd party in when needed. Then came the foiling monsters and a fatal bareaway took him away from all of us, sail on Andrew.