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Update: World's biggest sailing race in memory of Olympian Andrew 'Bart' Simpson
WHAT A GUY: Andrew 'Bart' Simpson with son Freddie and Ben Ainslie in the seafront parade in Weymouth after the 2012 Olympic Games
PEOPLE across Dorset are being urged to help break a world record in memory of 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.
Sir Ben Ainslie unveiled plans to stage the event, which would be the world’s biggest sailing race, in honour of his friend.
Several sailing clubs around Dorset have signed up for the race and hundreds of people are expected to take part in the waters off Weymouth and Portland.
Steve Dadd, from Weymouth Sailing Club, said: “We haven’t been asked to participate yet, but the event is certainly something Weymouth Sailing Club will throw their whole weight behind to support.
“Bart’s Bash sounds like an excellent idea and anything that Weymouth Sailing Club can do to help we will.
“I’m sure it will continue Andrew’s memory and anything that also helps youngsters or people to learn to sail is wonderful. It sounds like it will be a doubly great cause.”
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 sailing partner Iain Percy, Simpson won a gold medal at the Beijing Games and a silver at London 2012.
Peter Allam, Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy’s chief executive, said: “We think Bart’s Bash is a fantastic idea which will definitely inspire anyone associated with sailing to get out on the water and hopefully take part.
“The academy will be doing anything it can to help as many people as possible participate.”
Plans for the new event were announced to correspond with what would have been Simpson’s 37th birthday.
Four time gold medallist Sir Ben, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the support from the sailing community for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.
“We 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.”
Iain Percy added: “It’s going to be a colossal event and a great fun way to get thousands of people on the water.”
The event will be officially launched on February 1 and will take place on September 21.
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