The CYCA Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Safety of Life at Sea Trusts were set up following the tragic loss of six lives in the 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The CYCA Solas Trusts Bravery Award was established in 2012 and is awarded to those who demonstrated an act of bravery, and who have risked personal safety, or made sacrifices beyond what is reasonably expected during an incident that occurred during the conduct of an Australian Sailing sanctioned sailing event anywhere in Australia.
2015 - 16 Gavin Reid
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. Gavin Reid assisting in the rescue of a crew member aboard M3. 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.
2013 - 14 Tim Phillips
Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club member, Tim Phillips was recognised for his bold efforts on the final day of the ISAF World Cup Melbourne. On the 8th of December 2013, Tim was sailing his Couta Boat back to its mooring in Sorrento after the racing has been called off due to extreme weather conditions of approximately 30 knots from the North. Tim displayed his outstanding courage and skill when sailing two kilometres offshore he spotted a submerged motorboat and abruptly changed direction, pulled down his sails and motored quickly towards the sunken boat to the aid of three fishermen who had been in the water for some time. All three were suffering from shock, and one larger gentleman was in need of medical attention. The physical size of the crew that Tim singlehandedly pulled out of the water and brought safely to shore demonstrates Tim’s seamanship and boat skills. Sandringham Yacht Club dispatched two rescue boats to aid the recovery process, but the state of those being rescued and the rough seas meant that motoring the Couta Boat was the quickest and safest way to get the three people ashore. Had Tim not seen the boat and displayed such seamanship in the prevailing conditions, the outcome of the fishermen may have been much worse.
2011 - 12 Grant Dunoon and his crew Peter Fecht, Ross Fischer and Kim Walker
Grant and his crew were recognised for their successful and bold efforts to rescue fellow sailors during a race in April 2012, where they battled huge swells and gusts of up to 70 knots in the middle of the night to rescue six survivors from the yacht Inception which sunk during the Melbourne to Port Fairy Yacht Race.
The Trybooking.com and the Inception were one of 12 yachts taking part in the 2012 Queenscliff to Port Fairy Easter race when the disaster struck. The six men aboard Inception abandoned their sinking ship seven nautical miles off the coast. Their life raft had been ripped from the deck and washed away, the crew spent more than two hours in freezing seas before the Trybooking.com came to their rescue. The crew on Trybooking.com were first alerted to the scuttled boat by GPS distress beacons. But when they arrived at the GPS location the sea was empty. The six men were moving faster in the huge swells than the GPS could track and visibility was zero. When they finally found the men in the water, the state of the sea made it virtually impossible for Grant to get his yacht close enough to the men, who were tethered together. Eventually, after countless attempts and an orbiting approach the Trybooking crew managed to rescue all six men. They struggled for nine hours in wild seas and strong headwinds to reach the closest safe haven, Port Fairy.