Spotlight on Gerry Hughes: The First Deaf Man to Solo Circumnavigate the World
GTC customer Gerry Hughes this week completed a hugely impressive feat and achieved his lifelong ambition to become the world’s first deaf person to solo circumnavigate the world via the five southernmost capes. Gerry Hughes is 55 years old and his challenge began over eight months ago when he set sail from Troon Marina in South Ayrshire on the 1st September 2012. He spent 210 days alone at sea on his 42ft yacht ‘Quest III’ and sailed over 32,000 miles before returning to Troon yesterday to a crowd of hundreds of well-wishers and an audience of over 20,000 people who were watching the moment he landed via a live internet link. Unfortunately the journey was not all plain sailing and Gerry had to deal with terrible weather conditions and high winds that led to colossal waves and one of the most dramatic episodes in his journey where he capsized and feared for his life; thankfully he was able recover the situation and completed his challenge despite this close call. Gerry hopes to become an inspiration for young deaf people by proving that the obstacles they may face can be overcome. Considering that this was not the first of his sailing achievements, as he became the first deaf skipper to sail around the British Isles in 1981, there is no doubt that he has achieved this goal and is in fact an inspiration to us all.
According to his Facebook page Gerry spent last night enjoying his heroes welcome in The Harbour Bar, sipping pints of Guinness which he had sorely missed throughout the voyage and sharing countless stories of his adventure. He was also presented with a special award from the Ocean Cruising Club to commemorate his achievement.
Mr Hughes said: “The last eight months have been among the toughest of my life but despite all the challenges of the expedition, it has been a period I have thoroughly enjoyed. I hope that following and completing my dream can encourage young people who face similar difficulties to see that their hopes and aspirations can still be fulfilled through belief and hard work. The support I have received has also played a huge part in completing this voyage and it is wonderful to be reunited with my wife and daughters who have undoubtedly endured as many highs and lows as I have during the period of my challenge.”
Gerry used our ‘Thrane & Thrane Sailor 150 Satellite Terminal’ to fulfil reporting requirements, diagnose faults and to connect to the internet; making it possible for him to communicate with the 3,500 supporters following his progress on his Facebook page whilst at sea. The Sailor 150 Terminal uses Inmarsat’s global network to provide voice and data services to sailors all over the world. We are proud to have been able to help him to achieve this historic accomplishment and look forward to being involved in any of his future endeavours.