Bart’s Bash set to prove a huge global success story

Andrew 'Bart' Simpson
Andrew 'Bart' Simpson
Yachts taking part in last years Clipper Round the World Race			             	  Picture: onEdition

‘Team spirit’ will keep us buoyant on global challenge

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The clock is rapidly ticking down towards one of the most extraordinary global sailing events ever attempted.

Bart’s Bash is being held on Sunday, September 21.

It’s a worldwide yacht racing fundraiser in memory of Dorset sailor Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, who died in a training accident, while preparing for the America’s Cup in San Francisco in May last year.

More than 3,600 sailors from 638 yacht clubs worldwide have signed up to take part in a single race run by their respective clubs on the day.

In the Portsmouth area 33 clubs are taking part, from five clubs on the banks of the Hamble River to the west, to Dell Quay and Chichester yacht clubs in the east.

Gosport’s Clipper Race Yacht Club currently tops the worldwide list with the most participants.

They have 110 signed up, including Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and the day will see nine of the Clipper yachts racing in The Solent.

Simpson won gold and silver Olympic medals in the Star class racing alongside Hayling Island Sailing Club’s Iain Percy.

And he was recognised as a mentor and positive force within the British sailing team, quick to offer an encouraging word or helpful advice to junior members.

Following his death, team-mates Percy and Sir Ben Ainslie, along with Simpson’s widow Leah, founded the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation which uses sailing to improve the lives of young people, as well as equip them with the skills to work in the marine industry.

The foundation will benefit from funds raised at Bart’s Bash.

As for the event itself, it is also attempting to set a record for the largest sailing race in 24 hours at multiple venues.

Providing the race is at least one kilometre long, lasts 15 minutes and has at least 25 boats taking part, any club can put their race towards the Guinness World Record bid.

With clubs taking part from San Francisco on America’s west coast, all the way eastwards to South Korea’s Polaris Sailing Club, via the Harstad YC in northern Norway and Macandrew Bay Boat Club on New Zealand’s south island, and including some of the more unusual venues in Colombia and central Russia, it’s likely to be a difficult record to beat.