4 years ago today, on Andy's birthday, we shared an announcement about the launch of a brand new global sailing race to honour his legacy - Bart's Bash (of course!). Through early contacts who came forward to offer help in the wake of his tragic death, we formed a small team and then together with the community we collectively rode the crest of that wave all the way to the finish line.
Bart's Bash went from zero participants to over 30,000 in 9 months, a new and exceptiona...l event was born and Andy's values and legacy shone through hundreds of clubs on every inhabited continent of the world to bring the sailing family together and make a difference. It is a history we were proud to have been a part of and it honours and reflects the man Andy was.
Now, some years later on, key members of that first Bart's Bash team have reunited to create an event called the Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge - one that triangulates the worlds of sailing, education and the environment. We hope to inspire passion that makes a difference to the world by engaging young people in schools across the planet to understand how plastic is impacting upon our marine environment, what we can do about it and how we can change the very future of us. Oh, and we hope to set another Guinness World Record in the process....! (Boom!)
Andy was keen to engage and educate young people. He was well known for sharing his specific, expert knowledge and guidance in an open and free manner to less experienced and eager sailors. Equally, he would often make visits to primary schools where he would cast his olympic medals out into the throng of enthralled children, entranced by the opportunity to hold such a precious prize and hear from the man who would sweep us into his world in such a humane and caring way.
Although this project is not specifically in Bart's name, it is very much formed out of his influence. The team delivering this new initiative came together initially out of a desire to support and reflect his legacy. The project is focussed on inspiring passion in young people to want better, do better and be better. It is about handing down experience and knowledge to allow a new generation to learn from and improve on our mistakes. It is about making the marine world a better place.
Today, we are asking for your support to spread the message of the Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge far and wide. Let your children's teachers know about it. Get the news into your sailing clubs so that they can use the opportunity to link up with engaged children and schools who could become the new users of the marine world. Share the link to your wider friends and encourage them to get involved. Join us in the Plastic Bottle Boat Challenge! Let's do what we can to make a positive difference for the future.
Happy Birthday, Bart. We continue to miss you, but we're taking on new challenges that we know you would have been right behind.
Today at the Bart Project we celebrate for two reasons. With a mixture of pride, love and sadness we celebrate the memory of our giant of the sailing world - a family man of great humility .
We also celebrate the birthday of the person who brought absolute perspective and meaning into Andy's life, who fulfilled his heart in every way imaginable and became the mother to the wonderful Freddie and Hamish who become more like Bart every day. Happy Birthday, Leah, we wish you a wonderful day surrounded by family and friends who love you greatly.
With all our love from everyone following Bart's Project. #sailonbart
So here's a thing. On this day, three years ago, we shared this little 88 second film to acknowledge the 'official' launch of the first Bart's Bash.
While we all tried to come to terms with living in the wake of Bart, to do justice to his legacy and honour the sheer quality of the man, many of these little milestone moments peppered the path towards the epic future race day.
Like much of what happened in that first year, the story behind 'Alignment' (as we called the film) ...
Yesterday was Andy's 40th birthday and that alone was a good reason for a party. Couple it together with a recent house move for Leah, Freddie and Hamish however, and there was really no reason not to celebrate.
Bart loved a good get-together and a signature celebration with the Simpsons always involved fantastic and embracing entertaining, good food made and prepared to certain Simpson special recipes and a fair dollop of liquid refreshment.
Amongst a great many friends a...nd family, Freddie and Hamish proved that they were a chip off the old block and ready to go with their own brand of hosting skills. Dab hand Hamish very keenly made himself busy checking everyone had a drink, and if they didn't he sorted that out for them and then he grabbed a screwdriver to fix the air hockey which had run out of batteries.
Freddie ran the entertainments side of things, directing other children on the PlayStation and sorting out games for them to play. Hospitality, however, did not stretch as far as going easy on the guests in game play - Freddie is as competitive as his dad....! All in all a wonderful day full of love, laughter, fab friends and a mountain of chilli.
Happy birthday Bart, and Merry Christmas to all his friends around the world. We hope you also have a festive holiday filled with opportunities to see those you love, share good times and memories and generally eat, drink and enjoy being together.
It's one of the most special days in the Bart Project's year - it's big, bad Freddie Simpson's sixth birthday day!! An opportunity to eat cake, open presents, stay up a little later and rule the world!!
Happy Birthday Freddie Fredster - you were at the centre of your Dad's world and he will be so proud of the boy you are growing into. Have a fantastic day from all of your friends at The Bart Project.
Three years later and the big man is still missed and remembered by so many of us. It's a testament to the footprint he has left on our lives that in so many ways we are still minded to think of Bart and be inspired by how he would have chosen to respond, to act, to help someone else or to just be positive and kind.
Perhaps he enjoyed the spectacle on the Hudson river yesterday as the AC boats fought shifting winds and crazy conditions - we couldn't help but be thinking - 'I... wonder how Bart would have handled this one...'
Or maybe he has been focussing on his beloved Tottenham and their battle for Premiership supremacy and Champions League status (today's picture is Andy in the tunnel shortly before being introduced to the thousands of fans).
Whatever he's doing, he's living in all of us and continuing to shape us in imperceptible but significant ways. Sail on, Bart, sail on.
And of course, as always, we remember to wish Leah, the true love of your life, a happy birthday that we hope is marked with much laughter and fun with Freddie and Hamish. Happy Birthday Leah, from everyone at the Bart Project and beyond.
As it's Sport Relief today we thought it was only right to share these adorable pictures of sailing's next generation of stars, Freddie Simpson and his cousin I...saac Tyler, paying homage to their favourite sporting heroes.
Two and a half years ago our big, lovely sailing giant was taken from us too soon. Two years ago today we announced the Bart's Bash race in his honour, and 9 months after that over 30,000 of you came out onto the water to challenge each other in his name and honour. Earlier this year another 14,000 took to the water for Bart's Bash 2. An incredible legacy.
Today is Andy's birthday, and a day where we can stop for a moment to reflect on what he taught us and what he brought... into our lives. As the inspiration behind the greatest sailing race in the history of the sport, it's a pretty powerful mark he has left. The film we have chosen to celebrate Bart's big day is one that emerged from that first great sailing event on September 21st, 2014.
The sailors in the TP-52 class, sailing in their regatta in Ibiza, put together a special tribute film for the live broadcasts. Even today it brings a lump to the throat and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Enjoy these glorious vessels once more and take a moment to remember Bart again today. Happy birthday, big man. And Merry Christmas to everyone - thank you for being a part of Bart's project.
Wow. Read a little more about what happened to Artemis Racing and how their reactions and care for others may have saved a life or serious injury after the collision on Sunday in Bermuda....
The fuse has been lit and it's all about to go off…! It’s time to wake the behemoth in all its glory!!
51 weeks ago we all experienced an event that altered, in a small way, the global dynamic of sailing. The best sailors in the world raced against first time Rookies. People in different hemispheres and time zones lined up on a planet sized start line and went for it. Clubs experienced races bigger than they had ever hosted before. In short, we all climbed on board and e...veryone had bloody good fun. Let’s not forget that we also smashed the world record and became the biggest sailing race of all time. KABOOM!!
I was privileged to be a part of the team who organised that first race, and in the aftermath of it the most common piece of feedback that was repeated time and again was that there had never been a sailing event as inclusive; as much fun; as exciting; as collaborative or as bonkers as your Bart's Bash races. Locally everyone had the most exhilaration their club had experienced in ages. Nationally and Internationally you just knew that you were part of Bart's team - a sailing crew who could take on all comers and leave them trailing in their wake. We were on top of the world and we honoured Bart's legacy in a magnificent way. We had a leaderboard, you could measure yourself against the best and it was pretty much fantasy sailing made real.
Well, astonishingly, this year’s Bart’s Bash is now only one week away. We are back on the crest of our wave and ready to sweep through the global sailing community for a one-off festival of nautical togetherness.
It's time for you to sign up again.
It’s time to remember how awesome it was and to get your name on the list to compete again this year. In Bart’s name, we basically have a licence to go out on the water and have an annual party like no other in the waterworld. There are currently 428 venues signed up across 57 countries, so someone near you will be hosting an event you can get involved in. If your local club hasn’t committed yet then there's still time for them to do so. There may be auctions, there may be the America’s Cup, but there is only one opportunity for everyone to sail together on a level playing field, and that’s Bart’s Bash. Do it for selfish reasons, or do it for selfless reasons, but Bart’s Bash is back again and your name needs to be on the list of starters. Thank you for continuing to support Leah and the boys through following us - she appreciates it massively and we know how proud the big man would be of all of you for keeping this momentum going to develop sailing for everyone.
Share this post with all of your friends, 'like' it and live it because if you aren’t in the race you will miss this magnificent moment. BART’S BASH IS BACK!!!
Go to www.bartsbash.com and sign yourself up, now!
You lot are just magnificent. KAPOW! (and what does MILLER! actually mean?)
It being August, we should have a little moment to celebrate Andy and Leah's wedding day in this month 6 years ago. We enjoyed a wonderful ceremony in the church at Stalbridge, followed by a picture perfect gathering in Leah's parents' back garden.
It was a fully complete day. A fantastic underscore of the bond they have and how well knitted their friends and family were in their tapestry. A happy, happy day. Just the memory is making us smile. We hope everyone else is enjoying August.
Yesterday was a very special celebration - 5 whole years in the life of Freddie! To mark the occasion, 1584 boats came together to sail the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race ... (artistic licence and a little flexibility with the truth perhaps, but hey, it's a nice concept...)
It's been a big year for Freddie - he participated in his first ever sailing race (a small matter of Bart's Bash) in his Dad's Olympic Star boat with Iain Percy (Official FB) and Antho...ny Nossiter, he started actual big school, he drew the prize winners in the Bart's Bash fundraising draws and now he is half a decade old!
Happy Birthday Fredster - we hope you had a great day, enjoyed unwrapping your presents and we look forward to seeing you go onto even greater things in the year to come, maybe even taking on the sailing world again in Bart's Bash 2 - it's on the 20th September and you can all sign up to get your name on the list and begin fundraising now for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. What's not to love about that - let's get on it! Cominatcha!!
Today marks the second anniversary of the terrible day when we lost Bart. A powerful man who embodied a purity of soul and love for all who encountered him. A man who believed in working hard to achieve goals, in being generous in spirit to those less fortunate and in showing kindness and love to those whose paths he crossed. We still miss him greatly and go back to his example regularly as a guide in our own lives.
We spent today at his Sailing Centre in Weymouth, celebrat...ing its first anniversary and reflecting on what has been achieved in his name - and what a legacy it is so far....
The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation has already announced over £70,000 of grants to support sailing projects across the world that will increase access and opportunity for young people to be able to experience the empowering capacity of sailing and hopefully make a difference to their lives.
Over 30,000 people sailed in the first ever Bart's Bash in honour and memory of Andrew, creating a Guinness World Records and launching an event that brought together classes and abilities of sailors like never before, along with an atmosphere and a level of participation that sailing clubs across the world reported they had never experienced. Bart's Bash 2 is fast approaching on the 20th September this year - has your club signed up yet?
The Foundation has also begun concrete research into the practical benefits of sailing as a sport, recreation and life development opportunity. This research will be widely shared to further raise awareness of the beneficial outcomes of our great sport.
Bart may have left us, but his memory is the beating heart of a significant movement that will leave its mark on many, many people. Life moves on, as it must, but for many of us Bart is moving with us and his example continues to be an inspiration. Thank you once again to all of those who have been a part of this journey.
We finish today by honouring the most important person in Bart's life - Leah. We wish her a Happy Birthday and thank her and the whole team at the Sailing Centre for the opportunity to share such an important day together, sailing, laughing, remembering and honouring Bart.
It seems a fitting moment to share the collage we made up last year - a combination of the images contributed to the Bart Project and the message left by Andy when he visited my school in January 2012. Never give up on achieving your goals.