A SAILING event aiming to break a world record in memory of Olympian Andrew 'Bart' Simpson has officially been launched.
'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.
Bart's Bash was launched on February 1 by a 90 second film, entitled 'Alignment', which was put together in seven days and demonstrates the worldwide support the event has already attracted.
The film included appearances from Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy, Jimmy Spithill, John Bertrand, Grant Simmer, Nathan Outterridge, Paul Goodison and Shirley Robertson.
Watch the video here:
Jez Payne, event director for Bart's Bash, said: “Seven days ago we tested the water with the film and asked those of the sailing world, both past and present, to send us a personal message if they felt aligned with Bart's Bash.
“This film is just the beginning of what we received, and we'll be sharing more of the films we have been generously given in the coming weeks.
“This event has never been done before, and will be an opportunity for anyone, no matter whoever they are, wherever they are or however old they are to race against the best in the world.
“So far, a total of 322 clubs from across 17 countries have signed up and we hope this number grows significantly.”
Sir Ben Ainslie unveiled plans to stage the event back in December in honour of his friend to correspond with what would have been Simpson's 37th birthday.
Several organisations around Dorset, including Weymouth Sailing Club and Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy have backed the race, and tens of thousands of people are expected to take part.
The event takes place on September 21, so to sign up email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bartsbash.co.uk.