2013 America's Cup: Race to go ahead despite death of Andrew 'Bart' Simpson

The British Olympic gold medal winner died during training for the race

The organisers of the America's Cup have confirmed the 2013 event will go ahead despite the death of British Olympian Andrew Simpson, and have appointed a review committee to look into the tragedy.

The 36-year-old sailor died after being trapped under water when his Artemis yacht capsized and broke up last Thursday.

An investigation has already been launched into the training accident ahead of the 34th America's Cup, which is set to begin on September 7 in San Francisco Bay.

Tom Ehman, the vice-commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club (the America's Cup Trustee), said: "The America's Cup will go ahead this summer.

"We will see the world's best sailors racing at the highest level on one of the most iconic race tracks in sport."

The race will be between defending champions Oracle and the winner of the challenger series with Sweden-based Artemis, Team New Zealand and Italy's Luna Rossa.

America's Cup bosses met with representatives from the four teams today to announce they had appointed a panel to look into safety at the race, with San Francisco police investigating the circumstances surrounding Simpson's death.

The committee will look into training and racing of the AC72 yachts for the 2013 version of the race.

A statement on the official America's Cup website read: "The review committee will make its recommendations following the loss of Artemis Racing crew member Andrew 'Bart' Simpson (GBR) in a training accident on San Francisco Bay on Thursday of last week.

"Members of the committee have strong backgrounds in the sport at its highest levels as well as involvement in other reviews where an incident at sea has claimed the life of a competitor."

Ehman added: "The committee brings immense experience and expertise to this review. At a meeting in San Francisco this morning (Tuesday), the teams expressed unanimous support for this committee and this process."

Australian Iain Murray, the Regatta director, will chair and lead the review committee which will also feature Sally Lindsay Honey (USA, deputy chair), John Craig (USA), Chuck Hawley (USA), Vincent Lauriot-Prevost (France) and Jim Farmer QC (New Zealand).

The statement continued: "The US Coast Guard supports this approach and will assist as appropriate.

"Lt Jon Lane, with 26 years in the Coast Guard and 10 years experience as a marine casualty investigator, will serve as liaison."

Simpson won a gold medal in the Star class at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and took silver at the London Olympics in the summer in the same class.

He was also a medal winner in the world and European championships but had decided to switch to the America's Cup to take on a new challenge.

PA

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