Award for Clipper crew who rescued sailor stuck aloft
At the Clipper Race prizegiving, Mission Performance crewmember Gavin Reid was presented with the Henri Lloyd Clipper Race Seamanship Award for a remarkable act of bravery. Reid, a 28 year-old Scotsman, was born deaf. The award was decided by a public vote.
While racing from Hobart to the Whitsunday Islands last January, Mission Performance responded to a distress call from M3, a TP52 with a rope wrapped round the propeller, a damaged mainsail and a crewmember who had been stuck at the top of the mast for several hours.
With conditions too rough for Mission Performance to come alongside at night, Reid, a supply chain co-ordinator who had no sailing experience before the race, volunteered to transfer over.
At first light, a throwing line was successfully connected between the two yachts. Reid jumped into the water and swam across, carrying his hearing aid inside his drysuit. He later confessed he was most nervous about whether his hearing aid would survive. (It did.)
Reid climbed M3’s mast to help free its stranded crewman. “The halyards were all wrapped around the mast at the top, so I tried to go up and help the guy untangle himself,” Reid said. “It was pretty bumpy. I was up there for about two hours. He was up there for nine.”
Fellow Mission Performance crewmember Katherine Law said: “The crewmember had been thrown around the entire rigging, jamming all halyards, including his own. [Reid] was sent up on the staysail halyard, which only went to the top two-thirds of the mast. Gavin is good at working out solutions!”
“[Impaired hearing] has been a challenge all of my life,” Reid said. “I thought the Clipper Race was a way to give myself an even bigger challenge.”
Above: Gavin Reid was presented with a Seamanship Award for swimming to assist a TP52 with a sailor stuck aloft