Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre launches at WPNSA.

Paul Goodison MBE, Iain Percy OBE, Sir Ben Ainslie together with Hamish and Freddie Simpson open the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre

Paul Goodison MBE, Iain Percy OBE, Sir Ben Ainslie together with Hamish and Freddie Simpson open the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre

Weymouth 9th May 2014 – The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (ASSF) officially opened the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre today at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) with an emotional ceremony attended by Andrew’s family and friends, WPNSA Chief Executive Peter Allam and many other representatives of the British sailing community. The ribbon was cut by Andrew’s sons Hamish and Freddie, who were joined by Sir Ben Ainslie, Paul Goodison MBE and Iain Percy OBE.

“On behalf of the trustees of the Foundation, we’re really overwhelmed by the turnout today from friends and colleagues who knew Andrew. It was a tough decision to launch the centre on the 9th May, being a year today that we lost the great man, but we felt that is was another great opportunity to celebrate him. Not a time to reflect and be sad, but a chance to continue the great things that he did in his life,” said Iain Percy OBE.

“Today is a very poignant day, but also a really exciting one to be opening the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre,” said Sir Ben Ainslie. “I would like to say a huge thanks to the Trustees of the Foundation, for the all the efforts they have put in over the last 12 months, especially Leah and Iain for their vision and leadership to get us to this point; and all the volunteers that have helped us. We are starting our activity, including subsidising sailing sessions for children, on a local level, but want to partner with clubs from around the country with similar objectives; and ultimately do that on a global scale. It’s fantastic to see what has been achieved in such a short space of time; and I’m sure the great man would be very proud.”

Dedicated to the memory of Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson, who tragically lost his life in an accident while training in San Francisco Bay exactly a year ago, the new RYA accredited Centre aims to become a centre of sailing excellence, providing a sustainable Olympic legacy and helping the Foundation to fulfil its charitable objectives through the provision of a range of RYA sailing courses for young people, community organisations and adults.

Peter Allam, Chief Executive of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, sees the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre as a perfect fit alongside the other on site partners at WPNSA, delivering grass roots tuition right through to advanced race coaching for all age groups. “The Royal Yachting Association accredited centre will provide a focal point to remember Andrew Simpson’s outstanding achievements,” said Allam. “Andrew was passionate about inspiring people of all ages to take up sailing and the ASSC represents a tremendous opportunity to help provide a pathway from beginner through to whatever level individuals may aspire to, from recreational sailor to Olympic hopeful.”