Sailors unite for Bart's Bash

OLYMPIAN: Great Britain's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (right) celebrate on the podium after winning the Silver medal

OLYMPIAN: Great Britain's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (right) celebrate on the podium after winning the Silver medal

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A SAILING event aiming to break a world record in memory of Olympian Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson has attracted 400 clubs in just two months.

‘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 of Bart’s Bash announced the sign up of the 400th sailing club on February 17, two months after the initial announcement of the event on December 17.

Jez Payne, event director for Bart’s Bash, said: “This current sign up rate has been just short of seven clubs a day worldwide, meaning the world record attempt is on track to easily become the largest sailing event ever.

“We’ve had messages from some of the biggest names in the sailing world such as New Zealander Sir Russell Coutts, who said the event is for a great cause.”

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 in the waters off Weymouth and Portland.

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club provided a ‘milestone breakthrough’ at 300 clubs and then - just before the two month mark - Club Nautic Arenal from Mallorca, Spain pushed entries to the race through to 400.

Sir Ben Ainslie unveiled plans to stage the event in honour of his friend to correspond with what would have been Simpson’s 37th birthday on September 21.

To sign up email tim@bartsbash.co.uk or visit bartsbash.co.uk An online forum for the record attempt is also available at thebartproject.com/forum

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