A NEW sailing centre in tribute to Olympic star Andrew Simpson is set to open on the Olympic waters.

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation is behind the new centre. The foundation was set up in memory of Olympic medal winner Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, who tragically drowned last year while training for the America’s Cup. Their aim is to inspire the next generation through sailing.

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre will open its doors in May at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

Iain Percy, trustee of the foundation and Andrew Simpson’s sailing partner, said: “Andrew was very passionate about encouraging people to make the best of the opportunities that they were given.

“Through the foundation's activities we intend to provide opportunities to thousands of young people, and those who grasp it with both hands and show dedication, will be given significant support to reach their potential in the sport of sailing and the wider maritime industry through apprenticeships.”

Based in Andrew’s home county and at the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue, the new RYA accredited centre will act as a hub for all the foundation’s activities.

It will deliver a range of sailing courses for young people, community organisations and adults - including programmes for schools, as well as club sailors.

Working closely with the Chesil Trust and the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, the centre will also deliver the highly popular and successful 'Rod Shipley Sail for a Fiver' scheme.

Now in its 10th year, the scheme has enabled more than 12,000 Dorset children between the ages of 10 and 11 to experience sailing on the Olympic waters and is currently introducing 1,500 children a year to the sport.

Trustee and Olympic medal-winning sailor Sir Ben Ainslie said: "Reflecting the foundation's objective to inspire the next generation through sailing, the centre will be a place where we can inspire Andrew's drive and determination through delivering everything from taster courses to longer term development and mentoring.

“It will offer schemes to provide opportunities for deserving young people, something that Andrew himself was always so passionate about."