DOUBLE Olympic medallist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson is looking forward to making a spectacular return to racing at the London Boat Show.
Sherborne’s 36-year-old will be stepping into the Star keelboat with helm and best friend Iain Percy for the first time since they claimed Olympic silver on Weymouth and Portland waters.
Not only will they be racing in the first-ever live regatta at the Tullett Prebon London Boat Show but their boat's sail will be specially decorated by an internationally-acclaimed artist.
World-class sailing and fine art will come together at the CNM Estates UK Star Championships, from Friday January 18 to Sunday January 20 January.
The unique Fine Art Sails concept will see the work of top artists, such as Eine, Jaime Gili, Insa, Eley Kishimoto and Mear One, completely cover each mainsail.
Spectators and show visitors will be able to watch 10 Star class keelboats take to the waters of the Royal Victoria Docks, outside the ExCeL exhibition centre.
Alongside Beijing gold medallists Simpson and Percy, other big names participating include Olympic medallists Pippa Wilson, Ian Walker, Mark Covell, Mike McIntyre and Bryn Vaile.
Simpson said: “I’m looking forward to getting back in the Star. I have not been in one since the Olympics. “I will sail with Iain but I will also switch around a fair bit and sail with some of the other sailors.”
Simpson was tight-lipped about whose work he will be sailing under and added: “It is quite secretive to be honest.
“All I do know is that lots of famous artists have done the work and the ones I have seen look great.”
The event will be a celebration of the former Olympic Star keelboat class, which had its swansong at the London 2012 Games as it has not been included in the Rio 2016 line up.
Since last summer, father-of-two Simpson has been busy with his new Go-carbon furniture company, which will be exhibiting its new hand-made chair and desk, made from carbon and walnut, at the London Boat Show.
With a new addition to the family – three-month-old Hamish as well as his two-and-a-half-year-old son Freddie – he has also been enjoying a busy home life.
If the experimental Fine Art Sails concept works, organisers hope it will spark a world tour. Simpson said: “It will be interesting to see how it all goes.
“It will always be good to have Star sailing around the world so great if it takes off.”
The Tullett Prebon London Boat Show starts tomorrow and ends on January 20.
Find out more at londonboatshow.com and fineartsails.com