Gavin Reid, a 27-year old adventurer who took part in last year’s Clipper Round the World Race for amateur sailors, has been rewarded for his heroic mid-ocean rescue of a sailor found trapped at the top of the mast on another yacht with the 2016 boats.com YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award.
He received his award at a Gala Lunch held at Trinity House, London and presented on behalf of the Yachting Journalists Association (YJA) by the 2015 Yachtsman of the Year, Ian Walker MBE following a vote taken by members of the YJA of which we are members.
Gavin, whose family home is in Bideford Devon, but now works in Cambridge, was crewing the Clipper Round the World race yacht Mission Performance when an SOS was picked up off the New South Wales coast of Australia from a yacht returning from the Sydney Hobart Race, which had a crewman stuck at the top of the mast.
Mission Performance was competing in the Henri-Lloyd Hobart to Whitsunday’s leg of the Clipper Race and was nearest to the stricken vessel.
Gavin who is profoundly deaf and had zero sailing experience prior to signing up for the Clipper Race, volunteered to swim between the two yachts and found four other crew onboard all incapacitated and unable to help their crewmate who had been tangled in halyards at the top of the mast for several hours.
Using the one remaining staysail halyard, Gavin hoisted himself two thirds of the way up the swinging mast, then climbed the rest of the way hand-over-hand to reach the crewman, untangle the lines and help to lower him down safely.
“To be named 2016 boats.com YJA Yachtsman of The Year over some of my absolute heroes of the sport, feels like an incredible honour.”
“If someone had told me two years ago when I was starting my training for the Clipper Race that I would be here today collecting this award, I couldn’t have believed it.”
Watch incredible footage showing what he did, right here: