Sir Ben plans race in honour of Bart

Daily Echo: Sir Ben Ainslie Sir Ben Ainslie

SIR Ben Ainslie has unveiled plans to stage the world’s biggest sailing race in honour of his friend and fellow Olympian Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.

The event, called Bart’s Bash, aims to unite sailors and clubs around the country to take part in a simultaneous dinghy race.

Bart’s Bash was dreamed up in the wake of the tragic death of Simpson, who drowned while competing in the America’s Cup. With his Southampton sailing partner Iain Percy, Simpson won a gold medal at the Beijing Games and a silver at London 2012.

Plans for the new event were announced to correspond with what would have been Simpson’s 37th birthday.

Four time gold medallist Sir Ben, pictured, from Lymington, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the support from the sailing community for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. “We firmly hope this event will inspire sailors young and old, beginners to professionals, with clubs getting involved to capture people’s imagination and create thousands of Guinness World Record Holders.”

Daily Echo: Andrew Simpson with Ben Ainslie and Prime minister David Cameron during the Olympics.

Percy added: “I am positive that it will not only receive enormous support from the UK but worldwide support too. It’s going to be a colossal event and a great fun way to get thousands of people on the water at the same time whilst raising money for the foundation.”

The event will be officially launched on February 1 and will take place on September 21.

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