Following the Big Red Boat

Sailors around the world are mourning the loss of Andrew "Bart" Simpson. And we at SpinSheet are no different.

We are committed to bringing you the most up to date information surrounding Team Artemis, the America's Cup, and the family of Bart, but for a little while we are going to take a step back from the reporting and simply let others tell the tale. We'll update this page as more information comes in. If you knew Bart, have something to say, or want us to post a relevant article, please email it to duffy@spinsheet.com. And be safe out there.

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From Iain Percy, Andrew's partner in winning the silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in the Star class:

Yesterday I lost my closest friend of over twenty five years, the friendliest and kindest man I have ever met. I cannot believe he is no longer with us. Now all our thoughts should be with his wife and two amazing boys who meant the world to him. Andrew has more friends than anyone and we will continue to support his family with all our hearts.

From Geoff Ewenson, Andrew's training partner for the 2004 Olympic Games in the Finn class:

I was lucky enough to have sailed with and against one of the best guys the Finn fleet has ever seen.  With such  a long line of accomplished sailors it is hard to stand out in such a community but that is exactly what Andrew "Bart" Simpson did.

He came over to the USA and trained with the Finn fleet in the lead up to my second Olympic trials and effectively made me a better sailor for having been around him. Everything that has been said about Bart being a one of a kind guy is true. He was understated and self-deprecating. He always had a smile and nod to everyone that he ever met, and he was an amazing power on the water! He was, in his own way, larger than life, but without all the attitude that typically goes with it.

Bart will be sorely missed both on and off the water! It is a terrible time and one that I will not get over very quickly! In my list of favorite guys to sail with, Bart is on a very short list.

My prayers are with you and your family and all the great friends that you have met along the way......I know I will not be the only sailor hoisting a pint out of respect to you!

From the BBC: "He was the heart and soul of the British sailing team. He lifted the spirit of a large group because he was happy."

From Wired Magazine: Preliminary reports indicate Artemis’s boat didn’t capsize because the sailors were pushing too hard or made a mistake, as was the case with Team Oracle. The problem was with the boat itself, either faulty engineering or faulty construction. The boat simply broke apart under sail, folded, then flipped.

From the Independent: A main focus will be on whether there were specific circumstances which led to the disaster or was this was an accident waiting to happen? This is the second of the new breed of super-powerful 72-foot catamarans to crash in training. Some see them as death traps.

[caption id="attachment_2900" align="alignright" width="320"]ALeqM5iMLLmtHSyW_0eWmYsW_WvQRWtqdA Artemis' flag flying at half mast over San Francisco Bay. Photo by Alexis Cuarezma/Getty Images[/caption]

From the Guardian (Andrew's obituary): All sailors have their specialities: Simpson's extended from his search for speed into the nuts and bolts of how it might be obtained. His meticulous boat preparation was second to none, and Percy was content to leave the majority of the details of this to his crewman.

From the New York Times: “We’re coming from a place where we were in a pretty deep hole,” Cayard said Wednesday. “And we’re seeing a few positive signs, and so we’re right now currently in a pretty optimistic mode.” Less than 24 hours after that interview, a young, talented sailor was dead, and Artemis’s first AC72 was upside down and floating in San Francisco Bay, awaiting a salvage crew.

Official Statement from the Chairman of Artemis Racing Team: "The primary focus of Artemis Racing is on the well-being of our team members and their families, and the America’s Cup competition will remain second to that.”

From the New Zealand Herald (published May 4): "Coutts shrugged off criticism over the astronomical costs of competing with the claim that the budgets have only increased five per cent since the last multi-challenger regatta in Valencia in 2007. That still did not explain the $100m plus discrepancy between what was promised by Ellison and what has eventuated."

From the Mirror: Bart Rugo, of the Coast Guard, who lives near where the tragedy happened, said the winds were a “little above normal”.He said: “You always have to pay attention to the wind. If you don’t make a turn at the right time with a boat like that, it’s easy to go over. "With that much sail, the margin of error is small.”