May 10, 2014

Remembering Andrew 'Bart' Simpson

A Sailing Centre & a Global Regatta are great ways to honor a sailor's memory. Details posted at 'The Bart Project FB':
"May 9th. It’s been one year already. Many of the times I have sat down to write the next update for ‘The Bart Project’ it has been a pretty easy process, to be honest. As an honest celebration of the wonderful Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, the words have often composed themselves, or been reflections and repetitions of the many, many messages and conversations that we have shared with you collectively or individually.

Today is plainly not so straight forward. It is an all too obvious reminder of who and what we have lost, a painful throwback to those raw emotions of a year ago and an anniversary that none of us wish to be a part of. The one person who we would choose to share today with will not be here to do so and let’s not kid ourselves, that’s a really hard and unpalatable fact of life. We miss you, Bart.

After posting this, I am off to Weymouth to help turn this desperate anniversary into something that we hope will make May 9th a positive

and inspiring celebration. Not only will we be celebrating Leah’s birthday – a day that Bart would have as one of the most important in his calendar – but we will officially open the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre in the heart of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy – the home of sailing for the London 2012 Olympics.

To say that this year has been an intense exploration of human emotions would be something of an understatement. It is absolutely genuine and honest to say that you, The Bart Project followers, have been a central and essential part of this project in the last 365 days. Your unswerving support and positivity has been inspirational; the stories, photos, poetry and film you have shared have reminded us time and again of Andy’s unique and exceptional character and why the early end to his life has had such an impact. Your retweets, your sharing of posts, your ‘likes’, your offline conversations, your emails and your belief and support have fuelled us to greater lengths. Just look at what we have achieved in one year:

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation has developed its objectives and begun to put them into action. Fundraising events in San Fransisco and Bermuda raised a significant amount of money that was added to by many kind and generous acts of fundraising, supported by sailors from all over the world. With this powerful mandate of financial support, an intense period of graft ended with the announcement of the establishment of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre in Weymouth – the home base of all future endeavours for the Foundation. At 11am this morning, Sir Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and pretty much every available Team GB sailor will open this legacy centre and begin to ensure that Andy’s personality forever lives within, and across, this wonderful sport and creates, delivers and inspires opportunities to change the lives of young people for the better.

As an Olympian, Andy’s work ethic was fearsome. He never settled for anything less than perfection and he continually strived to exceed his own potential and improve all areas of his performance. So setting up a Sailing Centre from scratch within a few months was clearly never going to be enough for the Foundation, and in December last year we announced the news of the inaugural ‘Bart’s Bash’ event – a Guinness World Record attempt at The Largest Sailing Event in the World.

Planned for September 21st, interest in the event was enormous, instantaneous and it spread across the globe. Currently nearly 600 clubs from 43 countries across the world have expressed a desire to take part and there are over 4 months left to the event date. The event will unite the sailing world in a way that is unprecedented across any sport in history, and for the first time ever the world’s best will go up against the youngest and newest in the discipline. We believe that there will be tens of thousands of competitors in the race, and we have some pretty special plans to encourage and reward their fundraising.

At the core of all this activity lies one man. With your help, we are marking this anniversary with a poster made up of all of the contributions you have made to ‘The Bart Project’ since we began. At the heart of the image is a message that was written by Bart himself, two years before he died. It is a message he lived by and it is a message that carries his legacy and personality forwards in every avenue of life. Never give up on achieving your goals.

Happy birthday Leah. Now let's crack on with it. #sailonbart"