Record-setting deaf Scots sailor to return home

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The first deaf person to have sailed single-handed around the world, past all five capes, is due to return home today.

Gerry Hughes, 55, will have travelled more than 32,000 miles since he set sail from Troon on September 1 last year.

It is a sailing challenge which only around 300 people have completed and Mr Hughes will make history as the first deaf person to do so.

Hundreds of people are expected at Troon Marina to welcome the Glasgow teacher back on to home soil, including his wife Kay, 47, and daughters Nicola, 23, and Ashley, 20.

Ahead of his arrival, Mrs Hughes, who spoke via an interpreter using British Sign Language, said she was “overwhelmed and immensely proud” of her husband’s impending accomplishment.


She explained that she has found it difficult to be separated from the man she describes as “wonderful and amazing” for such a long time but has fully supported his lifelong dream to sail around the world.

“I want his dream to come true as he has been waiting for 42 years to achieve it,” she said.

“I knew that there were risks involved but I know my husband is skilled and determined and would never give up.

“If anything had gone wrong I was confident that he could sort out the problem and achieve his dream.”

The couple who both teach at St Roch’s Secondary School, Glasgow have been able to stay in touch during his adventure via email.

Mr Hughes was born profoundly deaf and was introduced to sailing by his father at the age of two. From the age of 14 he has had the ambition to sail around the globe.

This challenge is just one example of his drive for success. In 1981 he was the first deaf skipper to sail around the British Isles and in 2005 the first to sail single-handed across the Atlantic Ocean and has played golf for Scotland six times in the World Deaf Golf Championships.