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Racing sailor and gold medalist Andrew "Bart" Simpson dies in Artemis capsize

Andrew Simpson MBE, winning the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games
Pascal Lauener-Reuters

British Olympic champion Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, gold medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, died on Thursday after Swedish America's Cup challenger capsized during training and testing for the America's Cup race on San Francisco Bay.

According to Coast Guard reports, Simpson was underwater for approximately ten to fifteen minutes before being recovered and brought to shore where unsuccessful CPR was performed by EMT crews. Simpson's job on the Artemis boat was listed as "strategist."

Andrew James Simpson MBE was born December 17, 1976. Nicknamed Bart, Simpson was a British sailor born in Surrey and lived in Dorset. He won a gold medal for sailing during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as crew for skipper Iain Percy in the Star class. He competed again in the Star sailing class during the 2012 Olympics in London, winning a silver medal.

In 2009 Simpson was appointed as a Member of the British Empire. After the olympics, Simpson raced in various international sailing match racing events, including Team Origin, before being signed to the Swedish America's Cup Artemis team.

This is the first fatality involved with the 34th Defense of the America's Cup, which begins this summer on San Francisco Bay. Prior to the Artemis capsize today, Team Oracle's first generation AC72 boat capsized in similar conditions on the bay.

Winds on the bay were recorded at a steady 22 knots, with gusts to 31 knots, or approximately 25 to 35 mph during the time of the Artemis capsize. The 72-foot AC72 America's Cup catamarans, using hard wing main sails instead of the more common soft sails, are generally designed for sailing in winds less than 25 knots.

Each America's Cup team is limited to two AC72 boats, and the Artemis boat that capsized was the first of their two boats, the second having been delivered to their Alameda base on Tuesday.


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