A SAILING event aiming to break a world record in memory of Olympian Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson has gained the backing of almost 150 clubs worldwide.

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

It 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.

Organisers are now seeking the support of the sailing community to break the record for the largest sailing race in the world.

Sir Ben Ainslie, pictured, unveiled plans to stage the event back in December in honour of his friend.

Several organisations around Dorset, including Weymouth Sailing Club and Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy have backed the race, and hundreds of people are expected to take part. Event manager Tim Anderton said: “Following a phenomenal response from the worldwide sailing community, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation’s (ASSF) Bart’s Bash has just got much bigger, and everyone is invited.

“Not only is the intention now to open the race to many different types of boat, including dinghies, yachts and multihulls, but it is now expected that Bart’s Bash will be a truly global event.

“Sailors across continents will be able to compete in a 24-hour race to achieve a Guinness world record, raise money for the ASSF, promote sailing and honour the memory of this much loved and missed inspirational man.

“Within three days of the event announcement, more than 60,000 people had seen the information on The Bart Project Facebook page and more than 700 people had shared it. Within five days, over 100 clubs from around the world had signed up for the event.”

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

Four time gold medallist Sir Ben, said: “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.”

The event will be launched on February 1 and takes place on September 21. To sign up email tim@bartsbash.co.uk or visit bartsbash.co.uk

THE organisers of Bart’s Bash are looking for people of all ages to design a logo that will be used to identify the event’s world record campaign across the globe.
The deadline for designs has been extended to January 17 after a request from schools to allow time for more entries.
Tim Anderson added: “To date we have seen some great imagination and are excited by your enthusiasm.
“It could be your design on all things Bart’s Bash – remembering Andrew and inspiring a generation.”
The Bart’s Bash team will shortlist its top three and these will be put to the public vote on the Facebook page and the winner announced on February 1.
To enter email tim@bartsbash.co.uk