First Deaf Sailor Completes Circumnavigation

On May 8, 2013, Gerry Hughes, a Scottish schoolteacher who has been deaf since birth, sailed his Beneteau 42s7, Quest III, into Troon, Scotland, becoming the first deaf skipper to circumnavigate the globe singlehanded. Hughes’s eight-month, 32,000-mile journey wasn’t easy—he battled gale-force winds and doldrums, along with several issues with his electronics and communications equipment—but he hopes his accomplishment can serve to inspire young deaf people to overcome obstacles.

This isn’t the first milestone Hughes has set for deaf sailors. In 1981, he became the first deaf skipper to sail solo around the British Isles, and in 2006, he was the first known deaf skipper to sail across the Atlantic. Follow Hughes at

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