September 16, 2014

Bart's Bash

by Pam
Four days until the "largest sailing race in the world." Lasers (full rig) have the largest class with over 1,000 boats registered. An unimpressive 21 of those are in the USA. What happened?

Honestly, I'm a bit disappointed. We contacted multiple people and the reactions went from 'never heard of it' to 'sounds like a good cause' quickly followed by lots of reasons why it just wasn't feasible.

I had heard about Bart's Bash earlier in the year but didn't quite get the concept. Over a month ago, I started learning more about it and looking for a venue where we could race in it. That's when I learned that it just hadn't caught on in the USA.

There was definitely a widespread awareness problem in the USA. Even though Jimmy Spithill was registered to do his Bart's Bash in an E-Scow regatta at a USA venue, the club where he was registered didn't begin announcing or advertising the Bart's Bash portion of the event until this past month.

Hopefully, this will become an annual event because there is a lot of room for growth.

In the meantime, it's not too late to make a small donation to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (click the link below). Bart's Bash is a fundraiser event to help the Foundation continue Bart's legacy of paying it forward.

In the words of Ian Percy:
 "We would have had a hard day’s training in whatever country we were in, and we’d have gone to bed and I would sleep almost immediately. Sometimes, though, I’d wake up and hear the tap, tap, tap of a keyboard and I’d ask Bart what he was up to and why he wasn’t going to sleep, and he would just reply, ‘Yeah, I will in a minute, it’s just that (insert name of young sailor here) is having a couple of problems and he/she just needs a little advice.’

Nothing was too much trouble for Bart – he believed passionately in supporting the next generation and he did it because he cared.’


  1. Has anybody been indicted yet for causing Andrew's death?

    1. Ah ... now I recall the reason there might have been such a disconnect in the US on Bart's Bash. When Sailing Anarchy announced Bart's Bash, they pushed it aside and shifted the focus from a fundraiser to one of asking who is responsible for Bart's death and what is going to be done about it. It's sort of the American way. But justice is not blind in our legal system. Those with money rarely pay for their sins.

      Nothing will bring him back so I think the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation and all of its supporters made the right decision to focus on keeping his name and his spirit alive in ways that will have a much bigger impact than focusing on blame. A hugely successful Bart's Bash that grows each year is certainly one way of announcing to the world that we certainly notice the loss of this man and we won't ever forget.

    2. I didn't even know that SA raised that issue. I rarely follow it except to check in occasionally on the threads about the RS Aero and the Bruce Kirby lawsuits mess.

      I guess I must have been in America too long if I am following the "American way" in expecting that someone should be held accountable for an accident that caused the death of this young man. Look at all the kerfuffle in the NFL about domestic abuse right now. Imagine what would have happened if a player had been killed in the Superbowl because of some equipment failure. Would we just shrug and say, "Oh shit like that happens," and then try and break the world record for number of people playing a football game simultaneously?

    3. Yeah, the SA piece was entitled "forgetting bart."

      I was definitely hot under the collar about Bart's death. So many things seemed so very wrong to me and I'm usually one to lead to way in making people uncomfortable and accountable for their actions, especially if it disregards the safety of others. But I've also spent years attempting to hold someone accountable for the wrongful death of my nephew. It's a draining experience and regardless of the outcome it does not change things.

      I began to look at it from the perspective of what's best for Bart's kids. They are so young and with the wrong focus, the memory of their father could easily be filled with one of negative emotions of anger, bitterness, resentment, blame, a need for accountability, etc.

      Or, they could be raised to believe that their father died doing exactly what he loved and there are risks involved with being the first in a cutting edge technology and he certainly knew there was a safety issue (we all did). Their needs are probably better served by focusing on what their father achieved in his short life and actively doing something that will keep his name and memory alive for years to come in a positive way.

      Shit does happen ... you can let it hold you down and suffocate you for years or you can do something positive and uplifting.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I hadn't seen that video. I didn't realize that Ian was sailing with Bart's son. That's very cool.

  3. According to the official results as now published, two Laser Radials made the top 10 and a Laser was in 1252nd i.e DFL with a speed of 0.000003 or something. No idea how they can work this out or whether these are just preliminary results, with more to come. I kind of wish I had entered now to secure the record for the slowest sailboat in the world at 0.00000002.

  4. Oh yeah. I see now that only 8% of the votes have been counted.


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