A BRAND new global event is capturing the attention of sailors around the world, and St Lucia is no exception. The Bart’s Bash on September 21 is a global sailing race being organised for the first time by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation which is being billed as “The biggest sailing race in the world – ever!”
So what exactly is Bart’s Bash?
On May 9, 2013, Olympic sailing gold medallist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson tragically died in a training accident in San Francisco Bay while preparing for the America’s Cup competition. Simpson won gold alongside teammate Ian Percy at the 2008 Olympics and silver at London 2012 in the Star discipline. His sudden death caused shock across the sailing world at the loss of this truly great and selfless man, and there were clearly many people whose lives had been touched by him in some way.
Simpson’s teammates, friends and supporters set up The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation in honour of “Bart” almost immediately. Its mandate is to “transform the lives of young people through sailing.” According to the Foundation: “Everything we do is driven by our belief that all young people have the ability to excel – through sailing we provide opportunities to grow, achieve and inspire excellence.”
The Bart’s Bash global event started off as an idea, then became a reality and a fitting tribute to the popular sailing champ.
St Lucia Yacht Club Sailing Captain, Fredric Sweeney, reports that there is plenty of excitement among sailors on the island and he hopes to see many more sign-ups before the big day.
“The concept of this race is remarkable. One race! One day! One global result! Organisers are attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the most number of sailors in a sailing competition ever. So far over 650 sailing clubs around the world have signed up and the St Lucia Yacht Club is one of them.”
Perhaps the most fun part of the Bart’s Bash is the fact that any boat can participate, from a one man dinghy to the largest racing boats, and a handicap system will apply. For the island’s sailors of all ages and experience levels it’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of a global race and to have a lot of fun on Sunday, September 21.
Says Sweeney: “Racing starts at 10:00 a.m. just off the Ramp in Rodney Bay and we hope to have over 25 boats out on the water participating! Remember it’s one race and there will be a global winner. You can say that you have raced against some of the biggest names in the sport! You might even beat them!”