Britain’s Iain Percy will make his debut in the Star Sailors League Finals in Nassau this December, sailing in his 2012 Olympic boat with Anders Ekstrom.
Following his Finn gold in Sydney in 2000, Iain Percy, sailing with Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, took gold in the Star class at Beijing 2008 and silver at London 2012.
Percy has since gone on to greater things, leading the two Artemis Racing America’s Cup challenges on behalf of Torbjörn Törnqvist.
However the saddest moment, a tragedy that has deeply affected him and his life since, was when Percy’s best friend and Star boat crew, Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, drowned during America’s Cup training in San Francisco in May 2013.
Another life-long Olympic contender, Simpson was much loved and respected throughout the sailing world.
His name lives on in the sport that was his passion via the Andrew Simpson Foundation. This aims to provide young people to experience the life-changing challenges of sailing. It is also the official charity of the Star Sailors League.
In March Percy returned to the Star class at the Bacardi Cup in Miami with a mutual friend of theirs, Anders Ekström, himself a Star bronze medallist in Beijing and World Champion in 2005, both as crew for Freddy Loof.
There, they finished seventh, despite a ‘DNC’ in the first race and winning the final race in the 76 strong fleet.
“The whole Star thing for me is a big deal,” admits Percy. “I could only really sail with someone who was a good friend of mine and Bart’s too – like Anders. We enjoyed the Bacardi Cup, although we were totally hopeless at sailing the Star after six and 10 years respectively out of the boat.”
“But we enjoyed ourselves and that was really the idea. Unfortunately we are not going to have any more time for training for the Star Sailors League Finals, so I expect we’ll be no faster than we were in Miami, but we’ll enjoy it just as much. I am really excited to be going.”
As a legacy of his Olympic career, Percy still owns a small fleet of Star boats he keeps in Miami. For December’s Star Sailors League Finals he will be sailing the same boat he and Bart raced at London 2012.
“Subsequent to the Bacardi Cup, I found a Dropbox file that contained mine and Barts’ Star tuning guide – so watch out opposition!” Percy quips, bullishly. “I’d love to think that was the problem, but I’m sure it was more a case of our rustiness in Miami.”
The Opening Ceremony for the Star Sailors League Finals will take place on Monday 3 December in the late afternoon.