Teacher swaps classroom for sailing craft as he travels the world solo

Photograph Jamie Forbes 9.8.13  GLASGOW, City Cambers - Lord Provost's Dining Room - Lord Provost Sadie Docherty congratulates St Roch's teacher Gerry Hughes (who is deaf) on his successful solo trip sailing the world.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 9.8.13 GLASGOW, City Cambers - Lord Provost's Dining Room - Lord Provost Sadie Docherty congratulates St Roch's teacher Gerry Hughes (who is deaf) on his successful solo trip sailing the world.

AN inspirational and intrepid teacher at a North Glasgow school has been praised after sailing the globe – despite being profoundly deaf.

St Roch’s Secondary teacher Gerry Hughes circumnavigated the earth in his vessel Quest III – ranking him alongside Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Francis Chichester.

Gerry (56) set out on his epic voyage from Troon Marina on September 1, 2012, and returned to Troon on May 8.

He is the first deaf person to circumnavigate the globe solo via the five Great Capes.

He had already set records for being the first deaf person to sail around the British Isles in 1981 and the first deaf skipper to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in the Original Single-Handed Transatlantic Race in 2005.

Lord Provost Sadie Docherty met Gerry on Friday.

She said: “It’s a remarkable story and an achievement that Gerry and Glasgow can rightly be proud of.

“I sent Gerry my best wishes while he was on his voyage and he is a true inspiration to us all. His dogged determination to follow his dreams reminds me of the energy and positivity we all witnessed during the Olympics and the Paralympics. His is an inspiring and exciting tale.”

Gerry teaches deaf pupils at St Roch’s Secondary in Royston.

However, he always harboured an ambition to sail single-handed around the world.

Gerry said: “Sailing has always been my first love and it provided a real escape from my deafness when I was a youngster.

“I hope that by following and realising my dream, I 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 married father-of-two overcame a number of challenges. On one leg his boat even capsized as a result of massive waves. He also suffered problems with onboard electronic equipment. He was able to communicate with supporters on Facebook.

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