News13th October 2013

Gerry Hughes - Global Champion

Gerry Hughes successfully circumnavigated the world in one of the most remarkable feats of achievement by any Deaf man in history

by Sarah Lawrence

Welcome back with a flame!‚ÄčAt 9.15am on Monday 6th May 2013, by crossing the route of his outbound journey, Gerry Hughes became the first Deaf man to circumnavigate the world single handed via the Francis Chichester route – around all five capes.

Docking a few days later in Troon, on the 8th May, Gerry was re-united with his family and friends after 8 months at sea, amongst hordes of adoring fans and well-wishers.

What an achievement! We feel proud, but his family and close friends must be awash with emotion, and the complete sense of achievement. Typically stoic, Gerry went with the landing party to a pub to celebrate his safe return, with Gerry the last to leave, despite the exhaustion of his journey!

Welcome back!

Eight months at sea, tackling some of the most dangerous seas on Earth, Gerry has accomplished something that many people will have regarded as impossible. His mental and physical strength has been tested well beyond what people would regard as possible, but Gerry has done it.

Setting off in September last year, Gerry was fulfilling an ambition he had held since he was just 14 years old. Gerry's incredibly supportive wife Kay, kindly shared with us a picture of an edition of his father's sailing magazine, on which he had written his intention to sail around the world following the same route as Sir Francis Chichester all those years ago. His sense of relief and pride must be immense.

Gerry's departure received a lot of local publicity, and despite arriving home on a news rich day, Gerry’s accomplishments have been applauded all around the world. Throughout the eight months of his journey, Gerry’s lovely wife Kay has shared information about his progress and garnered more and more support.

The Facebook page, set up to allow followers to track his progress and make comment has been awash with updates from Kay, and comments from supporters all over the world. As well as spreading news about his progress, Kay has found the level of support and kiind comments energising, and she has delighted in sharing some of those comments with Gerry during their frequent exchanges.

Pint of Guinness ;-)Kay and the land based support team have also been continuing to raise funds for the challenge, and fundraising events have thrown together Deaf Clubs miles apart to help raise money. Only a few weeks ago, Cardiff Deaf Club held a social evening when they joined members of Glasgow Deaf Club via a projected FaceTime call, to raise funds in support of Gerry. Further events are planned to celebrate the achievement, so if you haven't donated yet, but would like to do so, there is still time.

It is impossible to capture a sense of the extreme hardship Gerry has faced. As with most global voyages, lots of things didn't go to plan, and Gerry has had to endure some significant challenges to complete his childhood dream. The latter stages have been far more challenging than expected, both in terms of strange weather patterns, but more importantly through electrical failures. Losing his chart plotter and autopilot Gerry was forced to stop sailing whilst he tried to fix the problem and stay awake for much longer periods.

Gerry’s achievement is quite simply remarkable!

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Community / News

13th October 2013