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America's Cup sailor is killed

The Olympic gold medalist's catamaran capsizes in S.F. Bay during training run.

May 10, 2013|Kate Mather and Andrew Blankstein

A British Olympic gold medalist in sailing was killed Thursday when a catamaran training for the upcoming America's Cup capsized in San Francisco Bay.

Andrew "Bart" Simpson was part of an 11-man crew aboard Artemis Racing's AC72 vessel when the boat flipped northwest of Treasure Island about 1 p.m., officials said. Simpson, 36, served as the Swedish team's strategist.

An America's Cup chase boat pulled the sailors from the water, but Simpson was trapped under the 72-foot catamaran for up to 15 minutes before he was reached, San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

Simpson and the others were rushed to shore, but despite CPR efforts, officials said he was pronounced dead at the nearby St. Francis Yacht Club.

At least one other sailor suffered cuts, but declined to be taken to a hospital.

"The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened," Chief Executive Paul Cayard said in a statement. "Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew's wife and family."

Simpson won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics and a gold medal in Beijing in 2008. He joined the Artemis team in late February, where he again competed with childhood friend and Olympic partner Iain Percy, the skipper of the Swedish team.

Artemis is one of three teams of top sailors competing for the chance to challenge Oracle Team USA in the 34th America's Cup, set for this summer in San Francisco.

An Oracle AC72 capsized in October, also while training in San Francisco Bay. No injuries were reported, though the vessel was damaged.

In March, Simpson tweeted about the upcoming race.

"Moving the family to San Fran for 6 months is pretty hectic!!!" he wrote. "The cup should be fun though!!"

--

kate.mather@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

Times staff writer Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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