The Bart Squad will see children mentored by their heroes

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation has officially launched in memory of the Olympic gold medallist whose tragic death shocked the sailing community.

Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson died on 9 May this year while training for the 34th Americas Cup and hundreds of people filled Sherborne Abbey on 31 May for his memorial service.

In the build-up to the service, it was announced that a sailing charity to benefit children would be set up in Andrew’s memory – now this dream has become a reality.

Supporting the next generation was something Andrew was extremely passionate about.

Founded by Sir Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy OBE and Andrew’s wife Leah the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation aims to work to honour Andrew’s life and legacy by encouraging youngsters into sailing and to enjoy the water as much as he did.

The Bart squad

At grassroots level it will encourage children to visit their local sailing clubs and ‘give it a try’ by providing equipment and coaching, with support from Olympic medallist regional mentors.

The Foundation will support deserving children from their first experiences on the water. Through a mentoring programme with some of the world’s best sailors, the children will eventually be competing at major international events as members of the ‘Bart’ squad.

Through their sailing experiences the charity will help to develop their life skills, but importantly it will also assist the children into employment in the sailing community through apprenticeships with partners including sail makers, boat builders and other marine companies.

Starting with a test close to Andrew’s hometown in Dorset, the program will grow to other areas of the UK and worldwide.

There has been a great deal of hard work from many of Andrews friends

and family to get this charity up and sailing and the Trustees would

like to thank everyone that has helped achieve this fantastic

achievement.

Launch event

On Sunday, 8 September, an inaugural fundraising event was held in San Francisco to compliment the launch of the Foundation.

The event, which also celebrated the life of Olympic Champion and America’s Cup sailor Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson was held at the Exploratorium and was hosted by Sir Ben Ainslie, Lucy. M. Jewett, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Iain Percy and Torbjörn Törnqvist.
 
An auction was held in aid of the Foundation with items including a signed bike from Sir Bradley Wiggins’ victorious Tour de France campaign last year, the opportunity to have Sir Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy OBE as your afterguard in a regatta, a five-night holiday on a Caribbean Island, various America’s Cup opportunities of a lifetime – ride on the chase boat, fire the starting gun, ride on the ACLive Cat during a broadcast and race.

To find out more about the auction visit www.andrewsimpson-auction.com/

Find out more about the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation at www.andrewsimpsonsailing.org

Pictures: Andrew Simpson; Andrew and Iain Percy sailing their Olympic Star keelboat; The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation logo