Andrew Simpson, U.S. Cup Sailor, Dies After Boat Capsizes
Andrew Simpson, an Olympic gold medaling sailor, died on Thursday when his catamaran sailboat capsized in San Francisco Bay. He had been training for this summer's America's Cup races, according to the Artemis Racing website.
When the 72-foot-long sailboat capsized, Simpson was trapped underwater by the boat's platform for 10 minutes until help arrived. Doctors who were "afloat" with the Artemis Racing team were unable to revive Simpson once they managed to free him from the wrecked catamaran. The other sailor only suffered minor injuries, and twelve additional crewmembers were all uninjured and able to return to the Alameda dock.
The winds gusting over San Francisco Bay were measured between 15 and 20 knots at the time the boat capsized. When the winds were measured at 21 and 33 knots later in the day, the National Weather Service issued a small-craft advisory to dissuade inexperienced boaters to stay off the water.
Simpson, 36, a husband and father, was hired by Artemis Racing as the Swedish team's strategist. "The entire Artemis team is devastated by what happened," CEO Paul Cayard said in a statement. "Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew's wife and family."
In 1999, Spanish Challenge sailor Martin Wizner died while training for the America's Cup. A broken piece of equipment struck him in the head, killing him instantaneously.
Torbjorn Tornqvist, Chairman of Artemis Racing, released a statement, promising that the racing group will take a look into the sport's risks and ways to decrease them. He wrote, "Artemis Racing will conduct a thorough analysis and review of this accident and will be looking at how the risks inherent to such competitive sailing can be limited in the future for the safety of the team and all competitors in the sailing community."