May 22 - The tragic death of British Olympic sailing champion Andrew Simpson, killed during a training session for the upcoming America's Cup, has forced organisers to introduce rule changes to improve safety at the regatta.
The 36-year-old Beijing 2008 Star class gold medallist died when his Artemis Racing AC72 catamaran capsized in San Francisco Bay earlier this month forcing the America's Cup Event Authority to review the structural integrity of the boats and their wing sails.
Limits on wind speeds, enhanced sailor safety equipment, including buoyancy aids, body armour, crew locator devices, hands-free breathing apparatus and high visibility helmets, as well as addition support equipment and race management were also among the 37 recommendations issued by regatta director Iain Murray (pictured top).
The recommendations have been incorporated into the safety plan produced by the America's Cup and forwarded to the United States Coast Guard.
"Producing and implementing the safety plan is within the scope of the America's Cup, as the sponsoring organisation for this summer's racing," America's Cup chief executive Stephen Barclay.
"This America's Cup safety plan is a necessary component of the permit application submitted to the Coast Guard for their consideration."
Murray will now form a number of task forces to bring in experts to define additional technical recommendations for specific safety items such as protective gear for sailors.
"All four competing America's Cup teams have cooperated in an open, helpful and constructive way and the Review Committee noted there is a clear desire on the part of the teams to ensure the safety of the America's Cup as much as possible," said Murray.
"I want to thank the members of the Review Committee for their exceptional and efficient work."
Artemis Racing of Sweden, Italy's Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand, are all scheduled to begin competing on July 4 for the right to challenge Oracle for the America's Cup, with the championship regatta scheduled for September.
However, Artemis said in a statement that although the team is back to work it "will only race if our sailing team believes they are safe racing AC72s".
It also said it is still in the process of conducting its own review of the fatal accident.
"Regarding the accident on San Francisco Bay, Artemis Racing is still in the process of conducting its own internal review," chief executive Paul Cayard explained.
"I understand that frustration exists out there because questions remain about the accident.
"It was, however, a complex event."
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May 2013: Olympic sailing champion Simpson dies in America's Cup training accident