A sailor who died after a catamaran associated with the America’s Cup race capsized in the Bay this afternoon has been identified as Andrew Simpson, a 36-year-old British two-time Olympic gold medalist in sailing.
The incident was reported just after 1 p.m. in the waters north of Treasure Island, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The vessel was the Artemis Racing AC-72, a 72-foot catamaran that belongs to the Swedish team participating in the America’s Cup, according to the team’s website. The Artemis Racing team is based in Alameda as they practice for the competition.
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British sailor dies during America’s Cup practice [AP via Chron]
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After the boat capsized, Simpson could not be located and was submerged in the water for 10 minutes, San Francisco fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said. When he was found and pulled from the Bay, he had no pulse and was not breathing.
A San Francisco Police Department boat was the first at the scene and an officer helped initiate CPR on Simpson, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
Simpson was taken to the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, where life-saving efforts continued for 20 minutes, Hayes-White said. He could not be revived and was pronounced dead at 1:43 p.m.
Another team member was also taken to the yacht club, where he was treated for a minor cut. All others on the boat were accounted for and returned to racing headquarters in Alameda, Hayes-White said.
The boat was towed to Treasure Island and is in the custody of the U.S. Coast Guard, Esparza said.
Authorities are still investigating what caused the vessel to capsize.
Hayes-White said it was “very windy” on the Bay today with winds of between 15 and 20 knots. However, she said, “I wouldn’t consider these extreme conditions.”
On the America’s Cup website, Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard wrote this afternoon, “The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened. Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.”
The activity on the water this afternoon was visible to some on shore.
Denise Srivastava, who lives on Marina Boulevard, said she saw a rescue boat speed away from the marina around 1 p.m.
“I’ve never seen a rescue boat go out that fast,” Srivastava said.
“I knew it had to be something bad.”
Doug Iles also lives in the Marina District and owns a sailboat.
He said “it was not a surprise” that another America’s Cup vessel capsized.
A 72-foot catamaran belonging to Oracle Team USA capsized in the Bay in October and required extensive repairs. No one was injured in that incident.
“The boats are very touchy,” Iles said. “It’s just a sad event.”
Sasha Lekach/Dan Mcmenamin, Bay City News
14:55 PM: A sailor has died after a boat associated with the America’s Cup sailing race capsized in the Bay this afternoon, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and the San Francisco Fire Department.
The incident was reported just after 1 p.m. in the waters north of Treasure Island, Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Joshua Dykman said.
The vessel involved was the Artemis Racing AC-72, a 72-foot catamaran that belongs to the Swedish team participating in the America’s Cup, according to the team’s website.
Someone was underwater for about 10 minutes after boat capsized, and CPR was being performed on that person, fire officials said.
A fire department employee has confirmed that that person has died.
Dykman said there were high winds on the Bay this afternoon but that it is unclear why the boat capsized.
Twelve sailors were on board, and initially one was unaccounted for, he said.
That person was later located and pulled from the water by crews on safety boats accompanying the catamaran, and was taken to the St. Francis Yacht Club, Dykman said.
Emergency crews continued CPR but the victim was pronounced dead at the yacht club, the fire department employee said.
One other person who was on board the boat suffered a laceration but was not seriously injured, she said.
She said the rest of the crew members were transported back to their point of departure in Alameda.
Dykman said the Coast Guard sent rescue crews from Station San Francisco and Station Golden Gate, and a helicopter was dispatched to the scene.
Team Oracle was nearby at the time of the capsize, he said.
Personnel from the San Francisco medical examiner’s office arrived at the yacht club at about 2:15 p.m.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News