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Clipper Sailor Recognized for Bravery

Clipper Race sailor Gavin Reid climbs the mast of a stranger’s boat to go to the aid of a crewman stuck at the top.

Mission Performance
©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

During one of the Clipper Round the World Race Australian legs last January, from Hobart, Tasmania, to the Whitsunday Islands, the Clipper 70 Mission Performance answered a distress call from an unrelated sailboat. "We suspended racing, turned around and motored south for a couple hours to their position," said San Franciscan Mike Moore, a crewmember aboard Mission Performance. They came across M3, an Australian TP52, which was disabled with a line wrapped around the propeller, a damaged mainsail, and a sailor stuck at the top of the mast.

At daybreak, Mission Performance crewmember Gavin Reid, a young English rookie sailor who is deaf, volunteered to swim over to the other yacht. Moore wrote in his blog at the time: "Rather than a complicated boat-to-boat transfer, we got a line across to them, tied it to Gavin, and he jumped in and was pulled to the other boat — good thing he was in his drysuit!"

Reid found four crew largely incapacitated and unable to help the fifth man. Using the one remaining staysail halyard, Gavin was able to hoist himself two thirds of the way up the 65-ft mast, then climb the rest of the way hand over hand on the swaying mast to reach the crewman. He spent two hours untangling the lines to free the man and help lower him down safely.

Gavin Reid, 28, had no sailing experience prior to signing up for the Clipper Race.

© 2017 Anne Hammick / OCC

For his bravery, the Ocean Cruising Club recognized Reid with their 2016 Seamanship Award. Reid had already been named the UK’s Yachtsman of the Year. See the story and video on BBC News here. Read about the other OCC award winners for 2016 here.

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