Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson dies in catamaran accident

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British Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson has died after a catamaran accident in San Francisco Bay. Double Olympic medalist Simpson was training with the crew of the Swedish craft as part of the Artemis Racing team ahead of an attempt at the America's Cup.

The 36 year-old Simpson, known as 'Bart', was trapped beneath the catamaran after it capsized. It is believed he may have been trapped for up to ten minutes. Two sailors were brought to shore and taken to the St Francis Yacht Club. Paramedics performed CPR on Simpson but in vain. The other team member was not seriously hurt.

The team announced the death in an official statement: "It is with immense sadness that Artemis Racing confirms the tragic death of crew member Andrew 'Bart' Simpson today in San Francisco." Artemis chief executive Paul Cayard described it as a "tragic day" for the 11 man crew.

Simpson had been working as a strategist for the team. He had said that winning the America's Cup, which takes place this summer from July, was his biggest ambition. "We have a lot to deal with in the next few days in terms of assuring everybody's well-being," Cayard said.

Simpson, from Sherborne in Dorset, sailed with the Artemis team boss Iain Percy at two Olympics, winning gold at Beijing in the Star class and silver at London. John Derbyshire, the performance director of the UK's Royal Yachting Association, expressed shock at the news. He said Simpson's feats had always served as an inspiration to British Olympic sailors.

"Andrew is someone I've worked closely with since the age of 16," Derbyshire said. "He was a great talent and a key figure in our World Class Programme over many years culminating in his well-deserved Olympic success. He was a huge inspiration to others, both within the British Sailing Team and across the nation. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family at this terrible time."

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