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Sail-World.com : A year after the Artemis incident, the sailors tell of the pain
A year after the Artemis incident, the sailors tell of the pain

'Iain Percy (right) and Andrew Simpson (GBR), acknowledge the crowd at the medal ceremony for the Men’s Keelboat (Star) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.'    onEdition ©

A year after Andrew Simpson drowned, the sailors tell Ian Stafford about the pain of dealing with their friend's death and how opening a sailing centre in Weymouth is helping his name live on.

Iain Percy has flown in from California, Ben Ainslie from China, united in friendship and grief, and as determined as they have been in the pursuit of gold to ensure that Friday plays another part in guaranteeing that their best friend's name – and impact – lives on.

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR), pictured in the Men’s Keelboat (Star) event in The London 2012 Olympic -  onEdition ©   Click Here to view large photo
Sir Ben Ainslie arrived Wednesday from racing in the Extreme Series in Qingdao, the 2008 Olympic venue where he won the third of his magnificent four Olympic gold medals. Iain Percy, a double Olympic champion, arrives Friday morning from the San Francisco base where he leads Team Artemis in the pursuit of America's Cup glory.

Both are home for one reason: to be in Weymouth for the opening of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. It is the latest stage in the extraordinary rise of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation borne out of the universal love from their sport following the tragic drowning of 'Bart' Simpson on 9 May 2013 in San Francisco Bay when Artemis capsized on a training run. He was 36.

The new centre – officially opened on Friday in the company of Ainslie, Percy, other key members of the British sailing community and, perhaps most poignantly of all, Simpson's widow, Leah – is designed to provide the chance for children of all ages and backgrounds to sample not just the sport of sailing, but opportunities to work in the sailing industry.

'It would have been almost the perfect day for Bart,' Ainslie explains. 'It meant so much to him to provide the chance for all to sail or gain employment in the business. Ridding the sport of any remaining elitist perceptions was a huge goal for him, and he'd devote much of his time to helping others, advising anyone who asked. I just wish he was here to see it. I'd give anything for that.'

The Foundation has raised more than £500,000 so far and, apart from Friday's event, will also stage 'Bart's Bash' on 21 September, a synchronised series of races worldwide designed to annually encourage as many people as possible to get out on to the water, and to keep the memory of Simpson burning brightly. It hopes to break the world record as the race with the most participants.

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Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Ian Percy (r) and Andrew Simpson (GBR), Star Gold medal winners. -  Guy Nowell ©   Click Here to view large photo


Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Gold medla winners, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR). -  Guy Nowell ©   Click Here to view large photo


The Star medallists from Qingdao, Star class Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA); Andrew (Bart) Simpson and Iain Percy (GBR); Fredrik Loof and Andres Ekstrom (SWE) -  http://www.ingridabery.com!©_Ingrid_Abery  


July 28, 2012 Iain Percy and Bart Simpson, GBR Star Two Man keelboat -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson earned a Silver medal in today Star-class medal race -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR), who won the Silver Medal in the Medal Race Men’s Keelboat (Star) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. -  onEdition ©   Click Here to view large photo

Andrew Simpson -  Sander van der Borch_- Artemis Racing ©   Click Here to view large photo

Andrew Simpson and Iain Percy racing at the 2012 Olympics in Weymouth -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo

Iain Percy and Bart Simpson cross the finish line in the Medal race of the Star class in the 2012 Olympics to win the Silver Medal, having led the fleet going into the final race. -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo

Iain Percy and Bart Simpson salute the crowd before the Medal Race of the 2012 Olympics. The gold start of the top of the mainsail is for a former world champion, the gold circle at the bottom is for the fleet leader in the Olympic event -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo

At what proved to be his last Olympic medal - Andrew 'Bart' Simpson (1976-2013) pictured at the Medalists’ Media Conference 2012 Olympics -  © Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo


by The Independent


  

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12:01 PM Sat 10 May 2014GMT


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