After the tragic death of Olympic Gold Medalist Andrew 'Bart' Simpson whilst out training for the 34th Americas Cup in May, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation officially launched yesterday.

Supporting the next generation was something Simpson was extremely passionate about. Founded by Sir Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy OBE and Andrew’s wife Leah, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation will work to honour Andrew’s life and legacy by encouraging youngsters into sailing and to enjoy the water as much as he did.  At grassroots level it will encourage children to visit their local sailing clubs and ‘give it a try’ by providing equipment and coaching, with support from Olympic medallist regional mentors.

The Foundation will support deserving children from their first experiences on the water. Through a mentoring programme with some of the world’s best sailors, the children will eventually be competing at major international events as members of the 'Bart' squad. Through their sailing experiences the charity will help to develop their life skills, but importantly it will also assist the children into employment in the sailing community through apprenticeships with partners including sail makers, boat builders and other marine companies. Starting with a test close to Andrew’s home town in Dorset, the programme will grow to other areas of the UK and worldwide.

Last night in San Francisco to complement the launch of the Foundation, an inaugural fundraising event was held which was a glittering evening celebrating the life of the Olympic Champion and America's Cup sailor Andrew 'Bart' Simpson being held at the Exploratorium, Pier 15/17, San Francisco.

Hosts included Sir Ben Ainslie, and Iain Percy OBE, with an array of truly amazing prizes in the auction in aid of the Foundation including a signed bike from Sir Bradley Wiggins' victorious Tour de France campaign last year, the opportunity to have Sir Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy OBE as your afterguard in a regatta, a 5 night holiday on a Caribbean Island, and various America's Cup opportunities of a lifetime.

The Foundation website can be found at www.andrewsimpsonsailing.org