Every Clipper Race crew member signs up knowing they are about to embark on the challenge of a lifetime but for Mission Performance circumnavigator Gavin Reid there is an extra hurdle to overcome.
Gavin was born deaf but he has never let that stand in his way of anything he puts his mind to. Before setting off for his level 4 training this week he shared with us his background and explained in his own words why he has signed up for the Clipper Race, and what he is getting out of the adventure so far.
Name: Gavin Reid
Occupation: Supply Chain Coordinator
Team: Mission Performance
Signed up for: Clipper 2015-16 Race, Round the World
I’ve been hearing impaired since I was born so it’s been a challenge all of my life.
I’ve had to deal with it in all aspects of my life whether that’s in work or playing sport and I thought the Clipper Race was a way of giving myself an even bigger challenge. Travelling and exploring has always been in my heart and this gives me a truly unique chance to explore the world from a completely different perspective.
I’ve always had a passion for getting involved in charities and NGO work. It started during my gap year when I went to work at a centre for mentally disabled children in Tanzania and I was teaching English as a foreign language. From there I got a bug for doing various projects in different countries. A few years later I went on to do a health and sanitation project in villages in India.
About three months ago, I had been thinking to myself I’ve been stuck sitting behind a desk for a fair while now. I felt I needed to get out and have an adventure because I always explored when I was younger. My dad found out about the Clipper Race and within a day I had booked my interview and had signed up by the end of the week.
My sailing experience is practically non-existent. I did a bit of topper sailing when I was 11 or 12, so this is all completely new. I started my level 1 training in May and it was a completely bizarre experience because the skippers were talking about halyards, the mast and all that stuff, and I had no clue. After level 2 I began to feel more confident and having just finished Level 3, I have to say it was great fun.
I just find it so refreshing to meet a bunch of people and completely build a team together during a training week. There’s always been sadness at the end of each training session when it’s time to leave and you’ve met some great people and learned so much in the weirdest of environments. All three skippers I’ve had have been fantastic - all loud and clear for me which is ideal.
I have got new hearing aids for the race which are waterproof. They are the latest technology available so hopefully they are worth it. It’s been interesting getting used to them because they adjust to the background noise, recognising if I am in a pub or the boat engine is running, and it cuts them out for me, so they are very clever. Apparently I can dunk them under water for a certain amount of time, not that I’m going to test it.
I’ve played for Scotland’s deaf rugby team and have four caps. It is something that I’m really passionate about and I have an ambitious plan to get in touch with Australian Deaf Rugby to see about setting up a deaf rugby 7s tournament. I’d like to get the crew to wear noise cancelling headphones and play rugby. It’s in the pipeline at the moment and hopefully will be organised before we set off at the end of August.
If you would like to follow Gavin's lead and race the world’s oceans we are now recruiting for the Clipper 2017-18 Race. Please get in touch via the apply section of the website.Join The Race