Bart’s Bash, founded in 2014 is the largest sailing event in the world. In January 2015, Bart’s Bash was awarded a Guinness World Record for staging the largest sailing race in 24 hours.
This event is run/organised by sailing clubs, community sailing programs, sail training centres, yacht clubs, scout groups, sea cadets and even groups of sailors, all around the world. Bart’s Bash was established in memory of Andrew Simpson nicknamed as ‘Bart’. He was a double Olympic medalist and British sailing legend. ‘Bart’ lost his life in the capsize of the catamaran, on 9th May 2013, whilst he was training for America’s Cup.
This event was established for a very noble cause. To increase international awareness of participation in sailing, and to raise funds for the Foundation to help support a range of projects, using sailing to improve the lives of children and young people globally. During the inaugural year (2014) of the event, more than 700 sailing clubs from more than 60 different countries were inspired to take part at their own individual Bart’s Bash venue.
This year 362 sailing clubs at venues in 58 different countries hosted Bart’s Bash events. These events raised thousands of pounds for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (ASSF), a charitable organisation aiming to facilitate wider participation in sailing. Bart’s Bash this year saw Rio Olympic sailors and America’s Cup sailors competing against the youngsters who have just learned sailing and also against those who race regularly at club level. This event captures the imagination of all the people, from the insiders and outsiders of the sailing world too and that is the beauty of this event.
This year lots of high-profile sailors, people either took part in the event or extended their support for this event through social media. Rio medallists Giles Scott, Saskia Clark & Hannah Mills, and Nick Dempsey were active supporters of the event, also did their fellow Great Britain Team members. Sir Ben Ainslie of Land Rover BAR was among that high profile respected dignitaries who sailed in memory of Simpson.
With the recent decision made to remove sailing from the Paralympics, the ASSF wants to continue to promote the sport strongly to people of all abilities. Anything you can do to help the foundation is greatly appreciated by them. They have many different ways in which you can support the cause. This year over £30,000 has been raised by the event so far, while the ASSF’s JustGiving page received over £10,000 worth of donations.