Andrew Simpson, a two-time Olympic medalist for Britain, died today in an America’s Cup training accident while sailing on San Francisco Bay.
The Artemis Racing team of Sweden said on its website that Simpson, 36, was trapped under the 72-foot (22-meter) boat after it capsized. He was one of 11 crew members aboard the AC72, the team said. All other crew members were accounted for.
“The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened,” Paul Cayard, chief executive officer of the team, said in a release.
Mindy Talmadge, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Fire Department, said in a telephone interview that the Oracle team - - which practices with the Artemis squad -- notified authorities about 1 p.m. that a boat had capsized “and one person had been underwater for about 10 minutes.”
CPR was performed on a rescue boat and at the St. Francis Yacht Club, where Simpson was pronounced dead, Talmadge said.
Simpson won a gold medal racing in the Star class at the 2008 Olympics as crew for Iain Percy, now Artemis’ sailing team director. The pair earned a silver at the 2012 Olympics. A veteran of two previous Cup campaigns, Simpson joined Artemis in February to provide weather and tactical support, according to a news release sent by the team at the time.
Artemis Racing is backed by Torbjorn Tornqvist, co-founder of the Geneva-based commodities trading company Gunvor Group Ltd., and led by Cayard, a veteran of six America’s Cup regattas who was elected to the U.S. Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011. The boat was designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian, whose yachts have won the past two editions of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race.
Teams in the 2013 Cup, whose finals will be held in September in San Francisco Bay, all race similar catamarans, powered by carbon-fiber wing sails and capable of rising out of the water entirely on hydrofoils.
The Cup is named for the yacht America, which defeated a British fleet off the Isle of Wight in 1851 to capture the 100 Guinea Cup, deeding it as a perpetual trophy to promote “friendly competition between foreign countries.”
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