Hero helmsman awarded honour

Anstruther helmsman Barry Gourlay
Anstruther helmsman Barry Gourlay

A helmsman from RNLI Anstruther has been further recognised for an outstanding feat of seamanship during a sea rescue which took place last year.

Barry Gourlay was presented with the Lady Swaythling Trophy by Admiral Sir Peter Abbott at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards.

Regular readers may recall Barry, on August 1 2012, along with crew members Rebecca Jewell and Euan Hoggan, reacted to a Mayday call from MV Princess, a converted 52 ft former lifeboat which had run into difficulty on rocks 200m from Sauchope Beach near Crail.

In pitch black, the crew made their way to the stricken vessel, hampered by a 25 knot south easterly wind combined with a high spring tide was causing a 3.5 metre swell.

Barry skilfully brought his lifeboat alongside the MV Princess’ bows and the father and son on board were transferred to safety.

Presented by the Society annually since 1851, the awards are testament to the UK’s often unsung heroes of the sea.

“Every year I am amazed by the bravery shown by men and women across the UK who risk their lives to save others,” said Commodore Malcolm Williams, chief executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

“The MV Princess’ crew members would not have survived had they attempted to swim to shore.

“Helmsman Barry Gourlay’s decisive command and superb seamanship along with the crew’s teamwork saved the lives of these two people.”