An attempt to set the record for the world’s largest sailing race in memory of Olympian Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson has been backed by the UK's minister for sport.

Helen Grant MP said Bart’s Bash, which will see more than 2,600 sailors from across the globe take part in a simultaneous race, would be a fitting tribute to Simpson.

The two-time Olympic medallist, the sailing partner of Southampton’s Iain Percy, was killed in an accident while training for the America’s Cup in San Francisco in May last year.

In the wake of his death the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation was launched and soon after announced plans to break the record for the largest ever race.

Mrs Grant said: “Bart’s Bash is a great way of remembering a much loved man and this ambitious attempt at a new Guinness World Record will raise money for the Andrew Simpson Foundation, which is helping inspire the next generation of young people through the sport of sailing in the UK and around the world.

“I’m sure the day will be a huge success and a fun experience. Good luck to all those taking part.”

The event will take place on September 21.