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Olympic Champion Yachtsman Andrew Simpson Mourned After Fatal Capsize

posted 10 May 2013, 06:53 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 10 May 2013, 06:53 ]

2008 Olympic Star Class yachting gold medallist Andrew Simpson mourned after he drowns in San Francisco Bay during America's Cup training.

AT SEA (ROYAL YACHTING ASSOCIATION) - The British sailing community was mourning the death of Olympic champion Andrew Simpson after the 36-year-old drowned when his vessel capsized in San Francisco Bay during training for the America's Cup on Thursday (May 9).

Simpson, who won gold in the Star class at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, died when he became trapped as the 72-foot (22-metre) catamaran the Artemis,Sweden's entry in the America's Cup, overturned.

Simpson, nicknamed 'Bart' after the cartoon character, also won a silver medal at the London Olympics last year, again in the Star class, and was a close friend of four-times Olympic champion Ben Ainslie.

A statement from Ainslie's Oracle team, which was also testing its AC72 on San Francisco Bay read: "Today is a sad day for all of us in the sailing community.

"Andrew Simpson was a great person, a terrific sailor, and a good friend to all of our team.

"Our thoughts are with his family and the entire Artemis team. He will be dearly missed."

Simpson's twin-hulled boat was performing a so-called "bear-away" manoeuvre, turning away from the wind, when one bow dropped under the water's surface, and the vessel flipped over, America's Cup spokesman Tim Jeffery told Reuters.

Simpson, who was working as the team's tactician, ended up trapped beneath the boat in the water for around 10 minutes and had to be pulled out by rescue divers, who tried and failed to revive him.

The incident was believed to be the first fatality in connection with the America's Cup since the early 1990s, when a crew member from a Spanish team died in a training accident off the coast of Mallorca in the Mediterranean.