Artemis capsizes, America's Cup sailor killed in S.F. Bay

Artemis capsizes, America's Cup sailor killed on S.F. Bay

Artemis capsizes, America's Cup sailor killed in S.F. Bay
May 9, 2013, 5:15 pm
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At 36, Andrew Simpson was an Olympic gold medalist and the Artemis team's strategist. (AP)

Statement from Artemis Racing

It is with immense sadness that Artemis Racing confirms the tragic death of crewmember Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson today in San Francisco.

Andrew, a British double Olympic medallist, was one of the 11 man crew aboard Artemis Racing’s AC72 catamaran which capsized during training on San Francisco Bay ahead of this summer’s America’s Cup. All other crew are accounted for.

Simpson however was trapped underneath the boat and despite attempts to revive him, by doctors afloat and subsequently ashore, his life was lost.

“The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened,” said CEO Paul Cayard. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.”

Stephanie Chuang & Lisa Fernandez
NBCBayArea.com

A sailor from the Swedish Artemis Racing team died Thursday when an America's Cup sailboat capsized during a training run in the San Francisco Bay, and another was reported injured.

America's Cup officials identified him as British-born Andrew "Bart" Simpson, someone the team is "immensely" sad about losing. The 36-year-old Olympic gold medalist was the team's strategist. He had won gold in China in 2008 and silver in 2012.

Crews performed CPR on him for about 20 minutes, according to the San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. But just after 2 p.m., fire paramedics stopped life-saving efforts. He had been in the water for about 10 minutes, probably trapped under the vessel, Hayes-White said.

“It is with immense sadness that Artemis Racing confirms the tragic death of crew member Andrew 'Bart' Simpson today in San Francisco,” said an official America's Cup statement. “Simpson, however, was trapped underneath the boat and despite attempts to revive him, by doctors afloat and subsequently ashore, his life was lost."

“The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened,” said CEO Paul Cayard, himself a a seven-time world sailing champion, a six-time America's Cup veteran and two-time Olympian. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew's wife and family.”

Twelve people were aboard the sailboat, and the other ten were taken to a support boat operated by Oracle Racing, which is defending the America's Cup title from 2010 in San Francisco this summer. Another sailor was injured, but his condition was not considered life threatening.

It's unknown why the boat capsized. Capturing images from a helicopter, the massive boat floated on its side in the choppy waters for hours as crews hovered nearby.

Artemis Racing is the "challenger of record" for the 24th America's Cup.

This is the second time over the last year that a sailboat training for the America's Cup has capsized in San Francisco.

“This unexpected accident on the Bay leaves our hearts heavy," San Francisco mayor Ed Lee said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson’s family and friends at this time of tremendous sadness. Andrew was a beloved member of the Artemis racing team and will be deeply missed by all.

"We continue to pray for crew members who were involved in the accident, the entire Artemis racing team and all of the America’s Cup sailing community.”

In October, a nearly $8-million, 72-foot catamaran used by Oracle Team USA capsized near the Golden Gate Bridge. No one was injured when that happened. But there was at least $2 million in damage to the wing of the AC 72 boat, a massive vessel with a 13,000-pound hull and a 131-foot mast.

The Oracle Team released the following statement in response to Thursday's tragic events:

"Today is a sad day for all of us in the sailing community. Andrew Simpson was a great person, a terrific sailor, and a good friend to all of our team. Our thoughts are with his family and the entire Artemis team. He will be dearly missed."