POOLE Olympians Lucy and Kate Macgregor have led the tributes to their London 2012 team-mate Andrew Simpson, who has died after a sailing accident in America.

Mr Simpson, from Sherborne, was trapped under a catamaran after it capsized during an America’s Cup training exercise in San Francisco.

The 2008 Olympic Star class gold medallist was part of an 11-man crew on board the Artemis Racing vessel but, despite efforts from medics afloat with the Swedish team, the 36-year-old could not be revived after being freed from the wreckage.

Mr Simpson, who won a Star silver medal alongside Iain Percy at last year’s Olympics in Weymouth, was working as a strategist for Artemis.

Sailing sisters Lucy and Kate Macgregor worked alongside Mr Simpson during their time together with Team GB at the 2012 Games and the duo both said their colleague had been an inspiration to up-and-coming sailors.

Lucy Macgregor, 26, told the Daily Echo: “He was an absolutely incredible guy, as many of the tributes have already said.

“For us personally, he helped us out so much in the run-up to the Games. His wisdom and experience was just amazing for us. He really supported us and was always there when we needed a sounding board for some ideas or advice.

“He was an amazing, naturally talented sailor but also extremely intelligent and he really brought that to sailing and moved the sport on, along with Iain (Percy), in a lot of ways. In the Star, they were just incredible to watch in terms of their attention to detail and just always wishing to push the bar that bit higher. As many people have said, a real inspiration for other sailors.”

Affectionately known as ‘Bart’ after the television character, Andrew Simpson caught the sailing bug when he was a young boy, while visiting his grandparents in Christchurch.

Kate Macgregor, 22, added: “He was one of the most helpful people in the team. If you had a bad day, he was there to help you. He was always willing to offer his advice and he was an inspiration to us all.

“He was so technically minded as well as an amazing tactician. If you weren’t sure about something, he was the person to go to, and he was always willing to help because of that. He was just the most knowledgeable sailor.

“The amazing thing about Bart was that he could get on any boat and make it go quick.”