England

More than 30,000 in race to remember Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson

Andrew Simpson and Iain Percy celebrate their Olympic gold in 2008 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Andrew Simpson (left) won gold with Iain Percy at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

More than 30,000 took part in a global sailing race held in memory of a British Olympic sailing champion, organisers have said.

The inaugural Bart's Bash on 21 September saw 30,717 people take part in the mass sailing event, which was held in more than 60 countries.

The event was in memory of Andrew "Bart" Simpson, who was killed training for the America's Cup in 2013.

Organisers think it was one of the world's largest sailing events.

Image copyright jak bennett
Image caption Sailors at more than 500 clubs in the UK took part in the simultaneous races

Mr Anderton said: "At no point could we ever have expected more than 500 clubs in more than 60 countries to embrace the idea of getting on the water, racing, having fun and celebrating everything Bart stood for."

In total, 16,870 boats took part in the the inaugural Bart's Bash and collectively sailed 87,072,769 metres.

Each sailing club sailed a Bart's Bash race at their location which needed to be at least 1km and last more than 15 minutes.

So far more than £290,000 has been raised for the charity the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

Father-of-two Simpson, who lived with his wife Leah and two sons in Sherborne, Dorset, won Olympic gold at Beijing 2008 and silver at London 2012.

Among the UK events were races at the Southampton Boat Show and the Clipper Race Yacht Club in Gosport, Hampshire, and one at Port St Mary in the Isle of Man.

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