Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 728x90

Sail-World New Zealand- May 9, 2013

by . on 10 May 2013
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, Star - Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011 © Richard Langdon/Skandia Team GBR
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for May 9, 2013

Tragedy hit the 2013 America's Cup with the death of double Olympic Medalist, Andrew 'Bart' Simpson.

He was a member of the British sailing elite, that sadly has now lost two of its number, with 1996 Olympic Silver Medalist John Merrick's death in a car crash in 1997, and now that of Bart Simpson.

Bart was part of an era of achievement by Great Britain, that will never be matched again in sailing.

Two of the world's Sailing families are in mourning for one of their own. The Olympic family for having lost a double Medalis; and the America's Cup sailing family for having lost a great competitor, who looked set to become part of the next British America's Cup Challenge.

At Sail-World we mourn the passing of one of the characters of the sport, as well as one of its great achievers, and our condolences to his family and many friends.

Of course, the world of sailing is in shock at today's turn of events.


Death is sadly part of our sport, maybe more so than most, with the notable exception of mountaineering.

Every sailor that goes on the water must accept that no matter what safety precautions are taken, there is a chance they may never come back.

That is part of the risk we all take - from the novice Optimist sailor, to the Volvo Ocean Racer.

But that does not ease the shock, when a sailor gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and serious injury or death results.

Part of the attraction of sailing is taking on the elements, but also tempered by the sober knowledge that you never get a second chance with the sea.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]
Only sailors understand the attraction of sailing in light winds and strong. Those outside the sport judge us by different standards, and with the benefit of hindsight.

The question is where to from here?

Already two inquiries are underway, one by the San Francisco Police Department. Quite where those go is quite unclear at this stage.

There will obviously be a lot of issues raised, and things that could have been done better. Losing two boats, and one death, in the course of eight months is not a good look in the eyes of the public or officialdom.

The point is that the AC72's are new boats, a new type of sailing, and we will all learn from it. Those lessons may go right through the sport.


Nevertheless the America's Cup Regatta must go on.

There are stringent safety provisions, which are already in place for the racing, It seems those were substantially in place for the fatal training session.

There is little that can be done in the racing itself. Maybe the wind limit will come back to 30kts. Anything else is going to affect teams that have designed and prepared for the regatta.

The bottom line, if a team feels that conditions are too dangerous, or they are not prepared, is not to race.

Yes, they will lose the point, but in the Louis Vuitton Cup Qualification Round with all three competitors at least going directly into the Semi-Finals, there is not a lot at stake.


While one team may lose the point, by the same token the other team has to complete the course to win the point, and in the process may lose their boat. That is a risk that is always inherent in high performance sailing.

One thing is for sure, after today's tragic events, no-one can blame a team for electing not to race.

And in the same vein, everyone that goes on the water knows what the risks are. That a combination of a sudden gust of wind, an unusual wave, some gear breaking, and just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, could cause injury or cost you, your life.

Very sadly, Andrew Simpson has joined a long list of very experienced sailors who have lost their lives at sea, pursuing the sport they love - Hans Horrevoets, Rob James, Eric Tarbarly and Larry Klein to name but a few.

We'll update on this story as it unfolds. Stay tuned to www.sail-world.com

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

sailworldnzl@gmail.com

Stay up with the latest sailing news, as it happens, on our website www.sail-world.com/nz

Southern Spars - 100Wildwind 2016 660x82Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

Brawn v Brain? The Bar or The Room?
Interesting questions and can they possibly be linked in any way. Interesting questions and can they possibly be linked in any way. Is it just the one connection, or could there indeed be several ways to address this conundrum? Well the route of the answer could be SailX, the online inshore racing game.
Posted on 7 Jul
Foiling into the Windy City
. .
Posted on 10 Jun
Practice makes perfect?
There are a lot of us who try to get out on the water whenever we can. There are a lot of us who try to get out on the water whenever we can - be it a club race, a weekend open or a championship. The general feeling is that the more we sail, the better we get, but is that actually the case?
Posted on 27 May
World's most popular boat revisited and big news from Volvo Ocean Race
x x
Posted on 1 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Medals in Rio dress rehearsal...Cup coup for Team NZ
Sail-World New Zealand editorial from the newsletter of August 25, 2015 on the Pre-Olympics and America's Cup. Sail-World New Zealand editorial from the newsletter of August 25, 2015 on the Pre-Olympics - Pollution and Kiwi performance plus the imminent passing of Construction in Country rules in the America's Cup.
Posted on 29 Aug 2015
Alvimedica score Leg win at last..Abu Dhabi confirms Overall Volvo win
. .
Posted on 23 Jun 2015
A Big Day for Womens Sailing...Volvo Leg 8 finish
. .
Posted on 11 Jun 2015
Technology revolutionises Offshore coverage, Volvo heads to Finnistere
x x
Posted on 9 Jun 2015
Volvo Ocean Race – 40-45 Knots at the End of the World?
x x
Posted on 5 Jun 2015
America's Cup- The End of the Beginning
We are now in the Year of Cup - in fact, in just over five months, the first racing will be under way in the Louis Vuitt We are now in the Year of Cup - in fact, in just over five months, the first racing will be under way in the Louis Vuitton Cup. The end of January also marks the end of the first limited sailing period - where test sailing and racing by the AC72's is limited to just 30 days.
Posted on 30 Jan 2013