The 2016 CYCA SOLAS Trust Bravery Award has been awarded to Gavin Reid of Mission Performance for his courageous rescue of a crewman stranded up the mast aboard M3 off the NSW north coast in January 2016.
M3 was returning to the CYCA following the 2016 Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race when the boat was hit by a strong southerly. Whilst trying to drop the spinnaker, crewman Harry Bethwaite was sent up the mast to attend to a jammed halyard, and become tangled and stuck up the mast in treacherous conditions.
When M3 called for assistance, the nearby Mission Performance, who was competing in the 2015-16 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, suspended racing and went to M3’s assistance. By the time Mission Performance reached M3, the stranded yacht had a damaged mainsail, a wrapped propeller and a sailor who had been stuck up the mast for many hours. Unable to come alongside due to the rough conditions, Mission Performance crewman Gavin Reid swam to M3 and climbed aboard via a line in the water. He went up the mast to the assistance of Bethwaite, and as dawn broke he was able to untangle the exhausted bowman and have him lowered back to the deck – ending a nine hour ordeal.
The 28 year-old Reid, who hails from Devon in the UK, had no previous sailing experience before signing up for the Clipper race. Born deaf, Reid played several international matches for Scotland’s Deaf Rugby Union team.
His courage in going to the rescue of another sailor in such hazardous and rough conditions is testament to his bravery, putting the life of another ahead of his own safety.
Image: Courtesy of Clipper Ventures
Gavin Reid assisting in the rescue of a crew member aboard M3