British yachting great Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor, joined the sailing community on Friday in mourning the death of Andrew Simpson in an accident on San Francisco Bay.
"This is such a tragedy," Ainslie said in a statement that was posted on his website. "Andrew was such a wonderful husband, father, friend and one of the nicest people you would ever meet."
Ainslie, who received a knighthood in March, won four Olympic gold medals and multiple sailing world titles before calling time on his Olympic career in November.
He said he was looking forward to a new challenge in the America's Cup, and was joined in that pursuit by compatriots Iain Percy and Simpson, before his death.
Simpson, who won gold in the keelboat Star class at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with Percy, and a silver in the same category at last year's London Games, died on Thursday when the AC72 catamaran of Swedish America's Cup challenger Artemis capsized while training on San Francisco Bay.
Simpson, who was among the crew, apparently was trapped by a piece of the boat and held underwater. Once he was found, efforts to revive him failed.
"The only solace I can find is that he died doing something which he loved," Ainslie said. "I have such fond memories of growing up sailing together as kids and then as adults. I will miss him so much."