Andrew Simpson MBE 1976-2013
Andrew Simpson MBE died too early at the age of 36, in an accident on board the Artemis AC72 yacht in San Francisco Bay. Andrew, better known as ‘Bart’ to many in the sailing world, was a fine, accomplished sailor, a loving family man and an inspiration to many. Sailing was his passion as well as his profession. He started sailing when he was just four years old, on a Seafly dinghy with his father. He was soon sailing in the RYA youth squad. Chief coach, Jim Saltonstall, took pleasure in watching how Andrew “enjoyed learning to sail better all the time”. He sailed while at Hall Grove School and then at Pangbourne College. His sailing didn’t stop when he went to study economics at Queen Mary College, University of London.
After university Bart took up racing a Laser dinghy, achieving considerable success. He was a key member of the new wave of British talent that arrived on the Olympic scene in the late 1990s. However, his career really took off when he switched to the heavyweight Finn class. He successfully campaigned alongside his lifelong friends Iain Percy and Ben Ainslie and was always a strong support to the British Sailing team during its golden era.
When Percy won Gold in 2000 he said that the medal was “half Andrews”. Bart’s real sailing success came in the Star class keelboat. Sailing with Iain Percy they dominated for over five years from 2007 until 2012, winning countless titles including World and European championships to add to their Olympic Gold and Silver medals. In 2009, Bart was appointed an MBE following his Beijing success for services to sailing. Off the water, Bart was a family man. He adored his wife Leah and young sons, Freddie and Hamish.
Throughout his career Bart always managed to get the balance just right; a fiercely competitive sportsman but at the same time an exceptionally loving husband and father. After the Olympics in 2012, Bart joined the Swedish America’s Cup team, Artemis. He was known as a real team player and was immediately a crystallising force, bringing people together and extracting their very best.
At the time of the accident, Bart was enjoying the campaign and had relocated his family to San Francisco for six months. Bart is greatly missed by all that knew him, and many who were inspired by him, but never met him. His memory lives on in the Andrew Simpson Foundation, in the Sailing Centre named after him in Weymouth and in his wife Leah, and two beautiful sons, Freddie and Hamish – both of whom share his wonderful smile.