Please select your home edition
Edition
Gul 2019 Carrier LEADERBOARD

First solo circumnavigation by deaf sailor wins OCC award

by Daria Blackwell, Ocean Cruising Club/Sail-World on 10 May 2013
Gerry Hughes celebrates with well wishers SW
This week Scottish sailor Gerry Hughes became the first deaf yachtsman to circumnavigate the world singlehanded by crossing 'the line' in Troon Harbour in Scotland. He was greeted by hundreds of well wishers and fans who turned out to mark the occasion. Best of all, he was bestowed an Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) Special Recognition Award upon stepping onto the dock.

Shortly after Gerry Hughes aboard Quest III, a Beneteau 42s7, arrived on the seventh of May, Frances Rennie and John Forsyth, representing the Ocean Cruising Club, presented Gerry with the special award of recognition for his achievement.


'Gerry is an extraordinary man all around,' they commented. 'It is no surprise, given his drive and determination in life, that he’s been able to accomplish so much and influence so many with his achievements in sailing. Gerry was very proud to receive this award. '

Assisting with the presentation were the Provost for South Ayrshire and the Deputy Provost of Glasgow; OCC member Priscilla Travis was on hand to photograph the event.

Gerry left Troon on the 1st September 2012. Single handing a boat is a massive challenge in itself, but sailing without being able to hear the sounds that alert sailors to changes in circumstances requires extraordinary skill and perception. His accomplishment has been described as a 'wonderful example of perseverance over disability'. During 210 days at sea, his journey covered 32,000 miles of ocean.


Not only has Gerry completed an arduous journey that few sailors have even contemplated, he has served as incomparable inspiration to the communities of deaf children and adults following his accounts of adventure on the high seas. His blog and his tweets have shown disadvantaged people around the world what anyone can achieve if they want it enough.

Gerry was beset by numerous electrical failures and had to stop in Cape Town. Rather than admitting defeat for a non-stop circumnavigation, Gerry kept going to complete the circumnavigation with stops. After encountering severe weather and capsizing in the Southern Ocean, the boat sustained severe damage to essential equipment including his laptops.

Gerry was able to continue to Hobart for more repairs and replacement of laptops before continuing his journey. It is this undaunted spirit that is kindred with the philosophy of the Ocean Cruising Club.

Born profoundly deaf, Gerry learned to sail at the age of two in his native Scotland. After completing a degree in Mathematics, Gerry went on to become the first deaf teacher in Scotland since 1880.


Aside from playing football on the winning Scottish and British Deaf Football Championships teams and competing in the World Deaf Golfing Championships for Scotland six times, he was the first deaf sailor to sail solo round Britain in 1981, and he also sailed across the Atlantic in the OSTAR in 2005 becoming the first deaf skipper to do so.
To learn more about Gerry, go to his website: http://gerrysmhughes.com/

About The Ocean Cruising Club:
The Ocean Cruising Club exists to encourage long-distance sailing in small boats. Every full member has made a 1,000-nautical mile offshore passage in a vessel of 70 feet or less; associate members are committed to the achievement of that goal. This standard distinguishes OCC from all other sailing clubs. It’s not about what you are or who you know, but simply what you have done, that matters. Our membership as a whole has more experience offshore than any other sailing organisation – in the number of circumnavigators, in the range of extraordinary voyages members have completed, in the number of solo sailors, and female sailors among our ranks. This is what sets us apart from other organisations, even as it draws us together as a group. We bring the spirit of seafaring to our association by always being willing to assist any fellow sailor we meet, either afloat or ashore.
With a central office in the UK, though it has no physical clubhouse, the OCC is, in a way, the 'home port' for all of us who have sailed long distances across big oceans. With 48 nationalities and Port Officers in as many countries, we have a more diverse membership and a more international reach than any other sailing organisation. Our Port Officers and Regional Rear Commodores represent the frontline interaction with our existing members and the recruitment of new members.
For more information about prior award recipients or membership, please visit http://www.oceancruisingclub.org/.

Nanni Diesel 2019 FooterJeanneau AUS 2019 OCT SO440 FOOTERTourism Whitsundays 2019 Rodeo FOOTER

Related Articles

Star Sailors League Finals day 3
Young talent shines through in Nassau A lighter 6-12 knot day on Nassau's Montagu Bay brought a fresh set of winners among the 23 competing teams on day three of the SSL Finals, the event determining 2019's 'stars of the sailing world'.
Posted today at 7:54 am
Officials announced for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
60 International Race Officials from 31 nations World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, is pleased to announce the names of the Race Officials who have been appointed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Posted on 5 Dec
Brest Atlantiques: Gybing to the finish
MACIF and Actual Leader now have less than 1,000 miles separating them from the finish After more than 30 days at sea, MACIF and Actual Leader now have less than 1,000 miles separating them from the finish of Brest Atlantiques. With MACIF just out in front by 50 miles at 3pm today
Posted on 5 Dec
Hyundai World: Images from the 49ers - Day 3
Hyundai World: Images from the 49ers - Day 3 Sail-World was on the water for Day 3 of the Hyundai 49er World Championships - here's a gallery of images from the 49er Blue course.
Posted on 5 Dec
Women in Sailing Strategic Review released
A report that explores gender balance The World Sailing Trust is pleased to release its Strategic Review into Women in Sailing, a report that explores gender balance and makes a case for change to address disparities within the sport.
Posted on 5 Dec
Andres Lage qualifies in Finn Class for Tokyo 2020
The Venezuelan has been chasing a dream - to sail at the Olympic Games For much of his life, Andres Lage from Venezuela has been chasing a dream - to sail at the Olympic Games.
Posted on 5 Dec
The Clipper Race Leg 3 - Race 4, Day 18
Imagine your Korea is in Stealth Mode As ETA's are now in frequent circulation, the competitive side of The Clipper Race remains ever present in the minds of all teams battling in the The Marlow Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride, alongside a safe arrival into Fremantle, Australia.
Posted on 5 Dec
Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Worlds day 3
Olympic Champions running away with the FX contest The end of the Qualifying Series in any Olympic-class World Championship is always a fraught scramble to make it through to the Gold Fleet Finals. Scrape through to the final 25 and you live to fight another three days.
Posted on 5 Dec
Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge 2019
One of Australia's premier yacht racing events returns this month One of Australia's premier yacht racing events, the Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, returns this month, setting sail next Tuesday (10 December) in Sydney Harbour.
Posted on 5 Dec
Hyundai 49er Worlds: High Stakes as Finals start
Difficult Day 3 increases pressure on Kiwis looking for Olympic selection The Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships in Auckland might be halfway through but for New Zealand's top sailors the real business starts tomorrow.
Posted on 5 Dec