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Amateur sailor named ‘Yachtsman of the Year’

The amateur sailor Gavin Reid has been named ‘Yachtsman of the Year’, after he rescued crewmembers from a yacht in the South Pacific Ocean.

28-year-old Gavin Reid, originally from Scotland, UK, but who now lives in Cambridge, England, received an SOS call whilst taking part in the 40,000nm Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race off the coast of Australia in January 2016.

He then swam to the yacht’s aid and found four crewmembers incapacitated and unable to help their crewman, who had been tangled in lines for nine hours. Reid rescued the five crew from their stricken vessel, spending two hours freeing the crewmen by untangling the lines of the mast.

His incredible feat was recognised by the Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA) and he beat Olympian Giles Scott to the title of ‘Yachtsman of the Year’ - a title that has been previously won by Sir Ben Ainslie.

Reid, who was born deaf, had no sailing experience before taking part in the race, and upon receiving his award said, “A year ago I did not know the difference between a halyard, a sheet or a jib. I knew nothing about sailing. To be here with so many names and people who have achieved so much is quite daunting.

“To have won such a prestigious award is beyond anything – I am delighted.”

Reid has since won a number of other sailing awards for his rescue. Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said that Mr Reid had ‘impressed tremendously’. He said, “This is the pinnacle of British sailing awards and amongst the most prestigious accolades in the sailing world. I’m very proud of Gavin and the entire crew.”

Watch a video of the heroic Gavin Reid rescuing the crew.

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