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The organisers of the America's Cup have announced that all teams have been asked to suspend sailing following the death of the Dorset sailor, Andrew Simpson, last week. The America's Cup Review Committee made the decision at its first meeting last night.
The teams have been asked to suspend sailing in the AC72 and smaller AC45 catamarans until the middle of next week. The committee will meet with the teams in San Francisco, California later today.
At a press conference in San Francisco the organisers of the America's Cup outlined the steps they plan to take following the death of the Olympic sailor, Andrew Simpson, from Selbourne in Dorset, last week.
The members of the Review Committee have relevant experience in the sport at its highest levels. Read their biographies here. Iain Murray, the Regatta Director, will chair and lead the Review Committee comprised of:
• Iain Murray (AUS, Chair)• Sally Lindsay Honey (USA, Deputy Chair)• John Craig (USA)• Chuck Hawley (USA)• Vincent Lauriot-Prévost (FRA)• Jim Farmer QC (NZL)
The U.S. Coast Guard has supported the committee's approach and has offered to assist as appropriate. Tom Ehman, the Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club (the America’s Cup Trustee), said:
“The Committee brings immense experience and expertise to this Review. At a meeting in San Francisco this morning, the teams expressed unanimous support for this Committee and this process.”
The Review Committee will report as soon as possible, given that racing starts in seven weeks.
The organisers of the America's Cup have called an urgent meeting on Tuesday in San Francisco, following the death of the British sailor, Andrew Simpson, who lived at Sherborne in Dorset.
Regatta director, Iain Murray has scheduled a formal meeting when all four teams competing in the Summer of Racing - ORACLE TEAM USA, Artemis Racing (SWE), Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA) – will be in San Francisco.
One aspect of the review will involve study of all data that was captured at the time of the incident.
– Iain Murray, Regatta Director, America's Cup
The meeting with the teams is a crucial next step," Murray said. "We need to establish an open flow of information to ensure this review meets its goals of fact-finding and putting us in a position to recommend changes, if necessary.
Once we have the information, the basic facts, all the data, then we will be able to re-build the entire chain of events and start to assess why this incident resulted in a tragic loss of life.
The death of Dorset sailor, Andrew Simpson, in San Francisco on Thursday has raised questions over the £6.5 million AC72 boat he was sailing. The Artemis team has released this statement:
"Artemis Racing is in the process of conducting a thorough review and analysis of this week’s accident.
As a part of this review, Artemis Racing is sharing and exchanging data and information with concurrent work being performed by America’s Cup and the San Francisco Police Department."
Until this process is complete, any conclusions being made about the events that led to the boat’s capsizing and its tragic outcome are pure speculation.
Out of respect for Bart’s memory and his family, we ask that the broader sailing community and others reserve judgment until all the facts are known, and not persist in unnecessary rumour. We again thank everyone for their continued support and thoughts during this difficult time.
Four-time Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie has paid tribute to Andrew Simpson.
Simpson, who became an Olympic Champion in 2008, died after being trapped under his AC72 catamaran when it nosedived, capsized and broke into pieces. He had been training with the Artemis Racing team in San Francisco Bay.
Simpson recently turned his attention to the America's Cup - a trophy he admitted was his biggest goal - and had been working as a strategist for Swedish team Artemis Racing.
Ainslie, who is helmsman with defending champions Oracle Team USA, released a statement on his website.
– Sir Ben Ainslie
This is such a tragedy. Andrew was such a wonderful husband, father, friend and one of the nicest people you would ever meet. The only solace I can find is that he died doing something which he loved.
I have such fond memories of growing up sailing together as kids and then as adults. I will miss him so much.
My thoughts and prayers are with Leah, their two boys and their family.
America's Cup bosses have promised a full investigation into the accident in which British Olympic gold medal winner Andrew Simpson died. Simpson, 36, was sailing with the Swedish Artemis Racing team in San Francisco Bay when his catamaran capsized on Thursday and he became trapped underneath.
Stephen Barclay, the chief executive officer of the America's Cup Event Authority, said an investigation would address why the accident occurred.
Iain Percy, long-term friend and Artemis Racing teammate with whom Andrew Simpson won his Olympic Star gold and silver medals, posted the following on his Facebook page tonight:
“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
The yachting world is in mourning tonight for one of its Olympic stars. Andrew Simpson was killed when the super catamaran he was on capsized.
Andrew, who was 36, lived with his young family in Sherbourne in Dorset. He won gold at the Beijing Olympics - and was awarded an MBE. At last year's games, in London, he won silver. Martin Dowse reports on the death of a champion sailor.
Andrew Simpson was training on one of the new super catamarans. They're 72 feet long and powered by a huge windsail. It's the first time these racing yachts have been in the America's Cup. It's the oldest sporting event in the world - and began, in 1851, off the Isle of Wight.
Andrew Pate takes a look at these new 'super cats' - and just what they're designed to do.