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Oracle to enter charity regatta

In his memory: Simpson, right, relaxes with team skipper Ben Ainslie during the Argo Group Gold Cup ¬ ¬ (Photo by Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association) ¬

Oracle Team USA will be among the local boats taking part in tomorrow’s second annual Bart’s Bash.

The defender of the “Auld Mug” announced yesterday that its entire sailing team will participate in the world’s largest regatta — that is run by sailing clubs all around the world on behalf of The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation — to raise money for charity, while inspiring the next generation of sailors in memory of the late Olympic gold medallist and Artemis Racing sailor.

“It’s going to be a great day, we’re going to have all of our Moth fleet out there — 12-14 boats, all Oracle boats — and then we are going to have our Phantoms out, Lasers and anyone else is welcome to join,” Tom Slingsby, the Oracle sailing team manager, said. “It’s going to be a great day, great cause.”

The first Bart’s Bash event included more than 700 sailing clubs from 68 different countries helping to encourage more people to get on the water and enjoying a day’s sailing.

The event brought together thousands of sailors worldwide in a race to set a new Guinness World Record, raise money for charity, inspire the next generation and remember Simpson who was killed in a training accident aboard Artemis Racing’s AC72 in the lead up to the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco.

All the funds that were raised during the event went towards supporting the development and delivery of the Foundation’s charitable programmes nationally and internationally.

Among the international beneficiaries is the Bermuda Schools Waterwise programme, which received a grant of $15,000 on behalf of the Foundation this year.

“The Bart’s Bash is vitally important in the manner in which it supports Bermuda,” Tim Patton, chairman of the Bermuda branch of the Foundation, said.

“Once again this year the funds raised by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, which is the founder of the Bart’s Bash, will go towards supporting the Waterwise programme that we know is an incredibly beneficial thing for our middle public schoolchildren and we hope this can keep on going.

“The money raised in Bermuda goes directly to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation in Bermuda while we also get support from money raised overseas.

“We are very pleased and happy about that and happy with the product we are producing with it.”

This year’s Bart’s Bash will be held on two courses. Dinghies will be racing in Granaway Deep on a leeward/windward course while Keelboats and sports boats will be will be doing an “around the cans” race starting from Hamilton Harbour, through the Great Sound and Little Sound and back to the harbour.

Both races begin at 11am.