The Olympic gold and silver medallist has died at the age of 36

Double Olympic medallist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson has been hailed as a ‘much loved’ inspiration who will be ‘sorely missed’ following a fatal tragic accident in America.

Tributes are pouring in for the Beijing 2008 gold and London 2012 silver medallist who died after a training

accident involving his Artemis Racing AC72 boat in San Francisco today.


Father-of-two Andrew, who was known as Bart by his teammates,

was one of the 11-man crew aboard the AC72 catamaran when it

capsized during training on San Francisco Bay ahead of this summer’s

America’s Cup

The 36-year-old became trapped underneath the boat and despite attempts to

revive him, by doctors afloat and subsequently ashore, his life was

lost.

Andrew had been living in Sherborne, Dorset with his wife Leah and two young sons Freddie and Hamish

before moving to San Francisco for Cup duties in recent weeks.

Artemis Racing chief executive officer Paul Cayard said: ‘The entire Artemis Racing team is

devastated by what happened.

‘Our heartfelt

condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.’

Mr Cayard addressed the

media at the team base in Alameda and added: ‘Our prayers are with Andrew Simpson’s

family, his wife and kids, and also the rest of my teammates.

‘It’s a

shocking experience to go through, and we have a lot to deal with in the

next few days in terms of assuring everybody’s well being.

‘The boat’s under control, but that’s not the first of our concerns. We’re focused on the people.

‘That’s what we’re working with and on and we’ll give you more information when we’re able to.’

A great talent

Andrew represented Team GB in the Star keelboat fleet at the past two Olympic Games, achieving gold and silver medals with his best friend and helm Iain Percy.

Royal Yachting Association (RYA) performance director John Derbyshire said: ‘We’re devastated by the news from San Francisco today.

‘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 Programme 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.’

RYA Olympic manager Stephen Park said: ‘Andrew was a fantastic sailor who got the best out of everyone he

sailed with. He was much loved and will be sorely missed by everyone in

our close knit team.

‘Our thoughts today are with Andrew’s family.’

A statement from the America’s Cup said:’The thoughts of everyone involved with the America’s Cup are with the

family of Andrew Simpson and the members of Artemis Racing.

‘Andrew was an immensely popular and respected member of the sailing

community, and his two Olympic medals were testament to his talent.

‘His easy-going personality made him loved by many; always friendly, always smiling and always supportive of others.’

Carlo

Croce, President of the International Sailing Federation described Simpson as ‘a

fine yachtsman, wonderful man and ambassador for the sport of sailing.’

He added: ‘Andrew

will be deeply missed by those who knew him personally and those he inspired.’

Andrew’s British sailing teammates have paid tribute to him.

Weymouth’s

double Olympic medallist windsurfer Nick Dempsey tweeted: ‘Going to miss you Bart.’

Olympian

Kate Macgregor

tweeted: ‘In

complete shock! Such a kind, talented sailor. An inspiration to us all.

‘You were always there when we needed

advice or had a bad day, you and your wise words will not be forgotten. RIP

Bart.’

London 2012 silver medallist Luke

Patience and double Olympic medallist Joe Glanfield wrote on their team Facebook page: ‘A devastating loss.

Andrew Simpson you moved mountains and did what so few can. A total

inspiration. We will miss you always.’

Read the British Sailing Team tribute here.

(Pictures: Andrew Simpson portrait. Picture: Skandia Team GBR

Andrew Simpson and his son Freddie. Picture: Laura Kitching

(Andrew Simpson racing with his best friend and helm Iain Percy)