YOTY 2016 Winner

Gavin’s heroic action honoured

Gavin Reid, a 28-year old adventurer who took part in the 2015-2016 Clipper Round the World Yacht 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.

Fifteen-year old Elliott Kuzyk from Poole, Dorset won the 2016 boats.com YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award after winning the 2016 Topper World Championship.

Gavin, whose family home is in Bideford Devon, but now works in Cambridge, was crewing on board the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race entry 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.

“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.”

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.

The runners up for the Award are Olympic Gold Medalist Giles Scott from Portsmouth and round the Island Race record holder Brian Thompson from Southampton.