Dorset

Race record bid to remember Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson

Andrew Simpson (right) with Iain Percy Image copyright ALLSPORT/Getty Images
Image caption Andrew Simpson (right) won gold with Iain Percy at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Organisers of a global sailing race held in memory of a British Olympic champion sailor say they are confident they have set a new world record.

The inaugural Bart's Bash saw more than 14,000 sailors in 68 countries trying to set the record for the largest mass participation sailing event.

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

Foundation Trustee Iain Percy described it as an "incredible day".

"It has never happened in any other sports that so many people have come together to remember one person - it's very special," he added after taking part in the race at the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre in Weymouth, Dorset.

Image copyright jak bennett
Image caption Sailors at more than 470 clubs in the UK took part in the simultaneous races

More than £166,000 has so far been raised for the foundation, which was set up by fellow sailors Sir Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy, as well as members of his family, to support youth sailing.

Sir Ben raced at the Queen Mary Sailing Club at the Queen Mary Reservoir in Ashford, Surrey.

"The response has been unbelievable, almost overwhelming; a true testament to Bart's popularity within the sailing community," he said.

Other simultaneous races took places in countries around the world, including New Zealand, the US, Russia, Bermuda and Tanzania.

Organisers said the international results were being processed and would be submitted to Guinness World Records for validation before the end of 2014.

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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