Andrew “Bart” Simpson had already garnered an Olympic gold medal in sailing in 2008 and a silver at last year’s games when Artemis Racing came calling with a chance to win yachting’s top prize – the America’s Cup.
“Moving the family to San Fran for 6 months is pretty hectic!!!,” Simpson Tweeted in March. “The cup should be fun though!!”
On Thursday, the British sailor drowned when Artemis’s high-tech catamaran capsized and trapped him underwater for more than 10 minutes while on a practice run in the bay.
Simpson, 36, served as the Swedish team’s strategist. He reportedly is survived by a wife and an infant child.
“The entire Artemis team is devastated by what happened,” CEO Paul Cayard said in a statement on the team’s website. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.”
Artemis Racing said doctors “afloat” with the team and on shore were unable to revive Simpson after he was freed from the wreckage. The other sailor suffered minor injuries, and the rest of the crew of about a dozen people was accounted for and taken back to their dock in Alameda. .
Officials said winds were blowing between 15 and 20 knots (17 to 23 mph) when the boat capsized. The National Weather Service later issued a small-craft advisory, warning inexperienced mariners to stay off the bay and indicating winds of between 21 knots and 33 knots.
The Artemis boat flipped near Treasure Island, which is bisected by the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. The armada of rescue boats and helicopters were visible from the roadway.
Simpson and the unidentified injured sailor were brought to shore at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, where paramedics performed CPR on Simpson. He was pronounced dead a short time later.