OLYMPIC sailing gold medallist Andrew "Bart" Simpson died as a result of an accident, a coroner ruled today.
The world of sailing was left in shock when the 36-year-old, of Sherborne, was killed in San Francisco on May 9 last year.
Simpson died while training for the America's Cup with Artemis Racing in his AC72 catamaran, Dorset Coroner's Court heard.
The father-of-two was performing a "bear away" manoeuvre - turning downwind - when the catamaran's hull dug into the water, causing it to capsize.
He was left trapped under the vessel for 10 minutes and suffered blunt trauma to his head, neck and chest, the hearing was told.
Members of the Artemis Racing team rescued him from the water but he was pronounced dead a short time later, despite the efforts of medics at the scene.
Richard Middleton, assistant coroner for Dorset, reached a conclusion of accidental death following a 15-minute inquest in Bournemouth today.
''Mr Simpson was trapped underneath the vessel for approximately 10 minutes before being pulled from the water,'' the coroner said.
''I have heard how he sustained injuries, predominantly to his head and neck.
''I am sure that it is probable Mr Simpson's cause of death arose as a consequence of a deliberate human act which has unintentionally and unexpectedly taken a turn that has led to his death.
''Mr Simpson died as a result of an accident.''
Mr Middleton said the medical cause of Simpson's death should be recorded as ''blunt trauma with drowning''.
''It only leaves me to convey my sympathies and condolences to Mrs Simpson, her family and their friends for their loss,'' the coroner added.
''From the numerous tributes I have heard, it is clear Mr Simpson will be a tremendous loss to the sailing community.''
The inquest heard Simpson had been training in the catamaran in the bay, between Alcatraz and Treasure Island.
Mark Monpas, of San Francisco Police Department, in a statement read to the inquest, described the water as ''choppy'' with waves up to four feet high and wind gusts of up to 25mph.
Police were called at 1.06pm to reports that a catamaran had capsized, with a person trapped underneath, he said.
Officers arrived at the scene within two minutes and saw the Artemis Racing chase boat had pulled up close to the catamaran, with members trying to rescue Simpson from the water.
Simpson was transferred to a nearby yacht harbour, where medics were waiting to continue treatment, arriving at 1.21pm.
Despite ''several minutes'' of efforts to save Simpson, he could not be revived, Mr Monpas said.
Adam May, a member of Artemis Racing team, was in the chase boat behind Simpson's catamaran.
''He saw Artemis conducting a bear-away manoeuvre when the port side hull dug into the water and failed structurally,'' Mr Monpas said.
''This hull failure caused the vessel to capsize.''
Mr Monpas said America's Cup race boats were designed with ''cutting-edge technology''.
''Vessels that are designed and operated as race boats do not have many of the safety features that would normally be associated with recreational vessels and/or commercial vessels,'' he added.