Gerry Hughes aims for solo sail around the world in a Beneteau 42ft sloop

An ocean sailor who is deaf is planning to sail non-stop and solo around the world in a Beneteau 42ft sloop.

Scottish teacher Gerry Hughes from Glasgow will set sail on 1 September from Troon Marina, leaving behind his wife and two daughters as he embarks on the ultimate sailing challenge which only around 300 people have completed -compared with over 1,500 who have made it to the top of Mount Everest.

The challenge is expected to last at least five months and, depending on the weather, could last more than seven months.

Modern communications technology will allow the press and public to watch Gerry enroute, follow his progress and view his blog entries via his website – www.gerrysmhughes.com

Gerry, who teaches deaf pupils at St Roch’s Secondary School in Glasgow, was the world’s first deaf yachtsman to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in the single-handed Transatlantic Race in 2005.

Speaking about his impending trip, Gerry said, “This challenge has been a life-long ambition of mine and I can’t believe I’m about to set sail.

“I am about to embark on one of the hardest challenges known to man but I am confident I can do it as sailing is in my blood and I have a great boat.

“Sailing has been my passion from when I was very young. I really struggled as a youngster because of my deafness but sailing provided me with an escape and I instantly feel at peace on a boat.

“My first language is British Sign Language and I struggled to read and write until I was nearly 15 but I am a very driven person and wanted to be a teacher so I worked hard and fought the authorities and in 1995 became the first deaf teacher in Scotland since 1880.

“I’m embarking on this challenge to raise awareness of the deaf community and to inspire young deaf people that they too can achieve their dreams.  

“It will be hard being away from my wife and daughters for so long, especially at Christmas but I know they support me 100 per cent which means a lot.

“I want to thank Troon Yacht Haven and all my other supporters and donors who have been instrumental in getting me to this point. “

Gerry’s journey will take him past all five capes – a feat never accomplished by a deaf person before.

Details of Gerry’s challenge can be found at www.gerrysmhughes.com