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From Dorset to Darwin - fourth Bart's Bash takes place around the world

Thousands of sailors have taken part in the fourth annual Bart's Bash- the largest sailing race in the world.

The event, launched in Weymouth, is in memory of Dorset Olympian Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, who died in a sailing accident in 2013, while training for the America's Cup.

Dorset Olympian Andrew Bart Simpson died in 2013 Credit: PA

This year the event got off to a terrific start in New Zealand at the Whangaruru Sailing Club in Oakura Bay, New Zealand as sailing and yacht clubs around the world were gearing up to run their own Bart's Bash races, including the National Sailing Academy in Weymouth where the charity is based:

We knew it was going to be a tough call getting 125 boats off the start line at the appointed time of 1300 when we knew that the wind was due to die and change direction by 180 degrees. However, after a couple of rainstorms we got everyone off the start line and enjoyed a great race."

– Pete Allam, CEO, Andrew Simpson Foundation

The annual sailing fest attracted sailors from across the generations competing in Oppies, Lasers, RS Fevers, Toppers, Foiling Nacra 17s, Venture Keelboats, 29ers and even a couple of Foiling Moths although conditions weren't ideal for foiling yesterday.

Novices, World Champions and Gold medallists joined together on the course.

Royal Brunei Yacht Club sailors

Of particular poignance was Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation Trustee and a Founder, Iain Percy, sailing in the original Star boat that he and Bart sailed their last race together in at the London 2012 Olympics, winning Silver, to add to their Olympic Gold medal achieved in the same class previously, at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Iain Percy in the Star he sailed with Bart at the 2012 Olympics

And cadets from Brading Haven Yacht Club on the Isle of Wight spent the day to'ing and fro'ing between the Island and Southampton aboard Red Funnel's car ferry and managed to raise in excess of £500.

Cadets rattled tins on Red Funnel's car ferry

Day Two tomorrow (Sunday 17th September) will see many more of the now 80 countries registered running their Bart's Bash events. Meanwhile the results we known to date can be found here: http://www.bartsbash.com/bashboard?year=2017

To donate to the Foundation and find out more, click here