SAILORS from around the globe took part in a race to honour Olympic sailor Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.
More than 130 sailors of all ages set off from Stokes Bay Sailing Club yesterday afternoon in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest sailing race in the world.
Bart’s Bash was in aid of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, set up in his memory to inspire the next generation of young people through sailing in the UK and around the world.
Bart died tragically in a training accident in San Fransisco Bay while preparing for the America’s Cup competition in May last year.
He had spent time training in Gosport under coach Nick Harrison, Commodore of the sailing club.
Cdre Harrison said: ‘It was a great day.
‘We ran two races, one for adults and more experienced juniors and one for the juniors.
‘It was a course around the buoys off Stokes Bay. We don’t know the name of the winner yet because there was racing going on all over the world over a 24-hour period.
‘It was all about getting the children out there on the water.
‘We have been working really hard to get the juniors out and getting the parents to join in.
‘Bart would have absolutely loved to have seen the children.
‘He was so kind. Just an all round good guy.
‘The day was perfect. The whole club put so much effort into making it a success.’
Afterwards the hungry sailors tucked into cakes made by members of the club.
Bart won a gold medal in the star class at the Beijing Olympics.
Then in Weymouth, in the Olympics two years ago, he won silver with Iain Percy.
Mike Shepherd took his two children Anna, six, and William, four, out on the water for their first race.
The 44-year-old, of St Mark’s Close, Stokes Bay, said: ‘They had an absolutely fantastic time.
‘They smiled all the way round and even got the chance to wave at – what we said was – a pirate ship.
‘Neither of them wanted to come out of the water.
‘We explained to them why we were racing and they knew it was an important day.
‘Bart was all about encouraging people to get out on the water.
‘I can honestly say that I have never experienced so many club sailors on the water. What the foundation has done is amazing.’’Donate at bartsbash.co.uk.