Who was Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson?

Published on May 10th, 2013

Training onboard America’s Cup challenger Artemis Racing, crewman Andrew “Bart” Simpson, a British double Olympic medalist, died May 9 when the team’s AC72 catamaran capsized on San Francisco Bay. That was when Bart’s life ended… but where did it start?

Andrew Simpson (Dec 17, 1976-May 9, 2013) caught the sailing bug when he was a young boy, despite being born in 1976 in the landlocked town of Chertsey in Surrey.

While visiting his grandparents in Christchurch, Dorset, he took to the waves with his parents when he was just four or five in their Sea Flyer boat, according to the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

Even at such tender years he raced through the surf faster than his father, and it was not long before he had a boat of his own in which to hone his craft.

Simpson, known affectionately as “Bart” after the television character, grew up racing two boys who would become Olympic legends in their own right – Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy, the latter being his childhood Lego-building friend, sailing partner and best man at his wedding.

Last year Simpson told the RYA and the British Sailing Team: “They are both fantastic sailors. Sometimes you thought you were lucky to be sailing against those guys because they’re such good sailors and sometimes I’d beat them although more often than not they would beat me.

“They’re that little bit better for reasons I learned later in life; that they worked harder at it, not necessarily because they’re much more talented.”

At the start of his career Simpson sailed in the Laser class, plugged away for many years behind Percy and Ainslie in the Finn class, before moving to sail Finns himself.

In 2001, having missed out to Percy for Olympic selection the previous year, he took silver at the 2001 Finn European Championships, following it up with bronze at the World Championships in 2003.

He missed out to Ainslie for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and the following year joined the America’s Cup challenger +39 Challenge as helmsman.

With Ainslie so dominant, Simpson teamed up with Percy in 2007 in the Star class, TeamGB said. The partnership flourished immediately, and the pair won World Championship bronze. – Read on

MATES: Iain Percy, long-term friend and Artemis Racing teammate with whom Andrew Simpson won his Olympic Star gold and silver medal…

“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.”

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