Thursday, May 09, 2013

Andrew Simpson

The British sailor Andrew James Simpson MBE (born 17 December 1976) was killed today in a training accident on the Artemis AC72 on San Francisco Bay.

He won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, as crew for skipper Iain Percy in the Star class.

Percy and Simpson competed at the 2012 Olympic Games, again in the Star class, and won the silver medal.

Simpson was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.


/ Pam said...

This is very sad to read. When we visited with Frank Bethwaite shortly before his passing, Doug asked him if the new AC design was intentionally designed to be spectacularly unstable. He thought about it and simply said yes.

It seems to me that the price of making the sport appealing to watch is simply too high. This is a tragic loss.

Tillerman said...

Very sad news indeed.

I think it might be unwise to read too much about the design of the boat into one tragic accident. After all people die sailing 420s. But the AC72s certainly do look extremely dangerous and even if this America's Cup goes ahead as planned I do wonder if the AC72s will ever be used again in the AC.

/ Pam said...

I'm sure it's the thrill of a lifetime. As even a 420 is for a junior. We all know the risks of sailing and we all still choose to sail. But it's soooo very sad when things go wrong.

Baydog said...

Nobody should die doing something they love to do, but if you asked them, they'd probably prefer it to be no other way.

JP said...

Very sad news, shocked to hear it this morning.

BlueVark said...

Tragic. RIP Andrew. My thoughs and prayers are with his family.

Like Pam I have my concerns about the boats. You can die sailing any boat, but only in an AC72 will you fall from such a ridiculous height in a capsize. And they do seem to be designed to capsize easily. the risks seem multiplied compared to other classes.

Adam Turinas said...

We lost one of the good guys yesterday. So sad

Tillerman said...

This may not be a personal safety issue but it seems to me that
a) these boats are prone to capsize
b) when they do capsize they seem to suffer major breakages.

Didn't Oracle totally destroy their wing sail when they capsized an AC72. And looking at the pictures from yesterday it looks like Artemis have snapped one of the hulls in two (or am I mistaken?)

It will be a shame if the AC match is decided by which boat manages to destroy itself first.

Litoralis said...

The early reports at that "the forward beam — the girder in front of the sail — gave way during a practice run. The two hulls, no longer connected, began sailing in slightly different directions. This caused one hull to snap just forward of the aft beam, and the mast, held up by high-tension rigging connected to the front of the hulls, simply fell over. The boat began to cartwheel, ultimately trapping Simpson underneath and drowning him."

Tillerman said...

Oh, so it wasn't a straightforward capsize but a breakage first? That bit about "the hulls began sailing in slightly different directions" sounds pretty scary.

In any case I am sure today is a day for grieving and supporting each other for the whole community of sailors and support staff at the AC in San Francisco. Our thoughts are with them and Andrew's family.

Pandabonium said...

The rules for America's Cup have become bullshite. J-class and 12 meter boats were awesome. IACC started to stray off the rez IMO and now the boats are totally wacko.

No boat design is "bad", but let's all be on the same page when we race. Could there be a "Laser" race that included a multi-hull? Not.

America's Cup has lost all meaning to me. (can I enter a turbine powered boat?) And now a life.

Namu amida butsu.

Noodle said...

I so agree with Pandabonium. AC has lost all meaning. Not because of this tragic and unneccesary death, but because it just isn't sailing anymore.
Pam mentioned it, and others have said it before. AC is now about one thing: Attracting television at any cost. It was only a matter of time before this accident would happen. Everybody knew it, and marketing loved it.
Question is: Is it really neccessary to use boats like the AC72 to get an exciting yachtrace. I say no.

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