Flags At Half Mast For Round Island Race

1 June 2013, 08:12 | Updated: 1 June 2013, 08:14

Dorset Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson is being remembered today at one of the world's biggest yacht races, the Round The Island Race.

Flags will be flying at half mast in honour of the 36 year old whose funeral was held yesterday. He died when his boat capsized in San Francisco Bay three weeks ago.

Nearly fifteen hundred competitors are taking part in the event on the Isle of Wight including Ben Ainslie, Robin Knox-Johnston, Ellen Macarthur and Dee Caffari, who will be skippering the charity funded Toe in The Water; a yacht which enables wounded service personnel to compete in the race.

Toe In The Water uses competitive sailing as a rehabilitation tool to re-inspire the men and women of the Armed Forces who have sustained traumatic injuries, often including the loss of limbs. Dee Caffari will be joined on-board by a number of wounded and injured servicemen, many of whom will never have sailed before their training session the day before the 50 mile sprint around the island. 

Speaking ahead of the race, Dee said:

"The long term forecast is looking like we will see northerly winds which could lead to a pretty swift lap of the Isle of Wight. Fortunately we will see similar conditions during our training day so I am confident that the sailors and non-sailors on board Toe in the Water will be as prepared as possible ahead of the early start on race day. I love this event, seeing all those people and boats enjoying our sport, it really is a sight to behold."

The yacht is competiting as a result of a grant awarded by the Endeavour Fund, an initiative created by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The charity have been able to co-fund the entry of two boats in this year's race, with the balance of funding having been provided by The Rothschild Foundation.

The second boat, Toe In The Water Too has been loaned to the charity by supporter, Tony Langley. The Farr 45 Atomic will be skippered by Toe in the Water's Racing Director and serving Royal Engineer, Captain Lloyd Hamilton MBE. The entry of a second boat allows the charity to extend its reach and give a greater number of injured service men and women the opportunity to experience a competitive sailing environment.