The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

May 10, 2013

British sailor dies during America's Cup practice

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Andrew "Bart" Simpson had already garnered an Olympic gold medal in sailing in 2008 and a silver at last year's games when Artemis Racing came calling with a chance to win yachting's top prize — the America's Cup.

"Moving the family to San Fran for 6 months is pretty hectic!!!," Simpson tweeted in March. "The cup should be fun though!!"

On Thursday, the British sailor drowned when Artemis' high-tech catamaran capsized and trapped him underwater for more than 10 minutes while on a practice run in the bay.

Simpson, 36, served as the Swedish team's strategist.

"The entire Artemis team is devastated by what happened," CEO Paul Cayard said in a statement on the team's website. "Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew's wife and family."

Cayard didn't take questions during a brief news conference Thursday evening and didn't return telephone calls.

The British Olympic Association described Simpson as a "treasured and accomplished member" of its teams.

"Andrew Simpson was a hugely accomplished sailor and Olympian," International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, a former Olympic sailor from Belgium, said in a statement to The Associated Press. "He died pursuing his sporting passion and our thoughts are naturally with his family and friends and of course his fellow crew members who must be devastated by this tragic accident."

British newspapers reported that Simpson is survived by a wife and an infant child.

Artemis Racing said doctors "afloat" with the team and on shore were unable to revive Simpson after he was freed from the wreckage. The other sailor suffered minor injuries, and the rest of the crew of about a dozen people was accounted for and taken back to their dock in Alameda.

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