Deaf Scottish teacher completes solo sail around world

May 9, 2013 at 12:49 AM

TROON, Scotland, May 9 (UPI) -- A 55-year-old Scottish teacher made port Wednesday in Troon, becoming the first deaf person to sail solo around the world.

Gerry Hughes celebrated with champagne as he was reunited with his wife, Kay, and their daughters, Nicola, 23, and Ashley, 20, The Scotsman reported. He set sail from Troon on Sept. 1, 2012, in his 42-foot vessel, Quest III.

"The last eight months have been amongst the toughest of my life but despite all the challenges of the expedition, it has been a period I have thoroughly enjoyed," he said.

His adventures included capsizing off the Cape of Good Hope.

Hughes, who was born deaf, said his father began teaching him sailing when he was 2.

"Sailing has always been my first love and it provided a real escape from my deafness when I was a youngster," he said.

Eight years ago, Hughes competed in the Original Single-handed Transatlantic Race, becoming the first deaf sailor to do a solo trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first sailor to do a non-stop solo circumnavigation, sent Hughes a message of congratulations as soon as he arrived.

Hughes teaches deaf students at St. Roch's Secondary School in Glasgow.

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