Two-time British Olympic medalist Andrew “Bart” Simpson died Thursday when the Swedish America’s Cup syndicate Artemis Racing’s AC72 catamaran capsized, trapping him under the boat, while training on San Francisco Bay for this summer’s racing.
Simpson, 36, and 10 other crewmembers were thrown into the water around 1 p.m. when the 72-foot cat capsized a half-mile from Treasure Island in what the Coast Guard described as winds “just a little above normal,” according to The Guardian newspaper.
Artemis’ port hull broke off just forward of the rudder/aft beam attachment, according to The Daily Sail. The Guardian said Simpson may have been under the boat for as long as 10 minutes.
Click play for a Sky News report on the accident.
“Despite attempts to revive Simpson, both afloat and subsequently ashore, his life was lost,” Artemis Racing said in a statement on its website.
“The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened,” said team CEO Paul Cayard. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.” He leaves behind his wife, Leah, and infant son Freddie.
A second crewman , New Zealander Craig Monk, also was injured. He was treated at the hospital and released.
A popular and longtime member of Great Britain’s Olympic sailing team, Simpson had raced in the Laser and Finn classes. He won Olympic gold crewing for boyhood friend Ian Percy in the Star class in Beijing in 2008 and silver in Weymouth, England last year.
“We’re devastated by the news from San Francisco today,” said John Derbyshire, the Royal Yachting Association’s performance director. “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."
America’s Cup officials promised a full investigation.