America’s Cup: Final hearing in death of Andrew Simpson

Published on May 21st, 2014

An inquest into the death of British Olympic medalist Andrew Simpson (36 yr) occurred on May 21, 2014 in Bournemouth, England. Simpson had lost his life in an America’s Cup training accident with the Swedish Artemis Racing team on May 9, 2013.

Andrew had been trapped under the hull of the AC72 after it flipped near Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. Significant structural damage to the boat occurred during the incident.

Attending the inquest at Bournemouth Coroners Court was yachting journalist Bob Fisher. Here is his report…

The Deputy Coroner of the County of Dorset, Mr. Richard Middleton, made short work of the Inquest into the death of America’s Cup sailor Andrew Simpson. He announced: “This is the final hearing” and spent sixteen minutes over his report to five family members and twice that number of journalists in a closed courtroom.

In what amounted to a résumé of the evidence of three SFPD officers and Adam May, a member of the Artemis Racing Team who was on board when the accident that led to the death of his teammate occurred. It mostly covered, in painful detail, the timescale and the position of the Swedish AC72 on that fateful day, May 9th last year.

From this, the Deputy Coroner, announced that the death of Andrew Simpson at 1341 PST on May 9th last year was due “directly as the result of an human act.” He gave the cause of death as: “blunt trauma with drowning.”

There was no attempt to apportion blame, nor was there any attempt to explain the cause of the accident beyond the fact that the Swedish AC72 was bearing away in 20 knots of breeze in choppy waters, apart from one hint, from Adam May’s report that: “the port hull dug in and folded.” No blame for this was apportioned.

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