Tributes from around the world are pouring in for British Olympic hero and double Olympic medalist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, who was tragically killed when Artemis Racing team’s AC72 capsized on San Francisco Bay on Thursday afternoon.
Simpson had competed at the highest levels of sailing, winning Olympic Gold and Silver medals with skipper Iain Percy in the Star class in back-to-back Olympics.
Andrew James “Bart” Simpson was born Dec. 17, 1976, in Chertsey, Surrey, southwest of London.
Simpson’s sailing career began at the age of 7 along the south coast of England when he raced Optimist dinghies with Sir Ben Ainslie, who has become one of the greatest Olympic sailors of all time, and Iain Percy, who would become his skipper in the Star class. They would go to win Gold and Silver medals at the Olympic Games.
Simpson joined Artemis Racing earlier this year as a strategist, a few months after the team promoted Percy to the position of sailing team director. Previously, he sailed in the America’s Cup with Percy with Italy’s +39 Challenge in the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup off Valencia, Spain.
Simpson is survived by his wife, Leah, and their two young children.
Following yesterday’s tragedy, notes of condolence have been posted around the world:
Torbjörn Törnqvist, Chairman of Artemis Racing, said, “Our thoughts are with Andrew’s family, who suffered a tragic loss yesterday—of a son, a father, and a husband. As our friend and teammate, Andrew “Bart” Simpson was central to Artemis Racing, both in the course of racing and our lives. His presence and personality was a binding force and he will be missed. Right now, the primary focus of Artemis Racing is on the well-being of our team members and their families, and the America’s Cup competition will remain second to that.”
Paul Cayard, CEO of Artemis Racing, said, “Our prayers are with Andrew Simpson’s family, his wife and kids, and also the rest of my teammates. It’s a shocking experience to go through, and we have a lot to deal with in the next few days in terms of assuring everybody’s well being.”
Iain Percy OBE, long-term friend and Artemis Racing team mate commented via the British Sailing Team, “Yesterday I lost my closest friend of over twenty five years, the friendliest and kindest man I have ever met. I cannot believe he is no longer with us. Now all our thoughts should be with his wife and two amazing boys who meant the world to him. Andrew has more friends than anyone and we will continue to support his family with all our hearts.”
Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee said, “Andrew Simpson was a hugely accomplished sailor and Olympian. He died pursuing his sporting passion and our thoughts are naturally with his family and friends and of course his fellow crew members who must be devastated by this tragic accident.”
Carlo Croce, President of the International Sailing Federation said, “ISAF would like to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Andrew Simpson’s wife, family and the Artemis Racing Team. A fine yachtsman, wonderful man and ambassador for the sport of sailing, Andrew will be deeply missed by those who knew him personally and those he inspired.”
John Derbyshire, RYA Performance Director shared his opinion of Simpson’s loss: “We’re devastated by the news from San Francisco. Andrew is someone I’ve worked closely with since the age of 16 – he was a great talent and a key figure in our World Class Program over many years culminating in his well-deserved Olympic success. He was a huge inspiration to others, both within the British Sailing Team and across the nation, and our deepest sympathies go out to his family at this terrible time.”
Jimmy Spithill, skipper ORACLE TEAM USA, posted, “Our thoughts are with Andrew Simpson’s family and friends and the team at Artemis Racing. We’ll miss u mate.”
From Luna Rossa Challenge, “Team Luna Rossa is devastated and shocked for what happened to Artemis and expresses its deepest condolences to Andrew’s family, a friend and a sportsman that no one of us will ever forget.”
Emirates Team New Zealand is shocked by the tragic death of Artemis Racing crew member Andrew Simpson in a training accident today on San Francisco Bay. Managing director Grant Dalton said the team extends its condolences to Andrew Simpson’s family, friends and to the Swedish team.
Russell Coutts, CEO, ORACLE TEAM USA, posted, “My deepest sympathies to Andrew Simpson’s family, friends and the whole Artemis Racing Team during such difficult times. These days are really sad days for the sailing community.”
Ben Ainslie, JP Morgan BAR, posted, “This is such a tragedy. Andrew was such a wonderful husband, father, friend and one of the nicest people you would ever meet. The only solace I can find is that he died doing something he loved. I have such fond memories of growing up sailing together as kids and then as adults. I will miss him so much. My thoughts and prayers are with Leah, their two boys and their family.”
Energy Team posted, “Everyone at Energy Team is reeling from the shock of hearing of the terrible loss of Andrew Simpson and we would like to offer our condolences to his family and friends.”
The members of Team Korea are shocked and saddened by the loss of Artemis sailor Andrew Simpson. Too young to leave this world. We feel pain for his family and friends. Fair winds Bart. http://youtu.be/LsnGz7HfVkc